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Proteas’ busy schedule

The Investec South Africa women’s hockey team, ranked 12th in the world, have a busy start to the New Year with no less than 18 home Test matches in 22 days in January and February.

The SA International Series will see the cream of South African women’s hockey up against world number 14 Azerbaijan, world four China and world No 17 Belgium respectively.

Wanderers Club’s superb synthetic turf surface and the Kaspersky Randburg Astro are the venues for the 11 Test matches in Johannesburg from January 19-30 with the University of Free State hockey centre in Bloemfontein hosting the remaining seven internationals from February 1-9.

All the Test matches in the SA International Series are scheduled for 7pm starts, with the exception of the final match on February 9, which begins at 11am.

During this period the Investec SA team under head coach Giles Bonnet will be undergoing four-hour training and preparation sessions ahead of each match.

The Amsterdam-based Bonnet is an intelligent, experienced coach who has excellent communication skills and, most importantly, a clear vision of what he wants to achieve with his side. The former SA men’s captain and coach has made no secret of his ambition to see the Investec South Africa team achieve a historic top-six placing at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

The full-time professional Azerbaijan and China squads will be a handful, though, as much has been invested in their London 2012 programmes. China, for one, will be looking to go one better than their silver medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Unfortunately the South Africans are unable to spend as much time together as a team, which makes the three-week SA International Series an invaluable experience for the girls in green and gold.

Playing 18 tough Test matches in just 22 days is a daunting prospect but one that Investec SA captain Marsha Marescia’s squad will relish, as their hunger for London 2012 success knows no limits. They started 2009 off with a punishing Test schedule in China so they will no doubt know what they are in for.


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