Pietie illness worry | SASCOC - SASCOC

Pietie illness worry

Our national women’s hockey side face their toughest Olympic Qualifier game to date in New Delhi on Wednesday when they take on hosts and arch rivals India ÔÇô and they may have to do so without world record goalscorer Pietie Coetzee.

Late on Tuesday night there was uncertainty whether superstar striker Coetzee would be available for the Investec national side in their 2.30pm (SA time) clash.

The match will be televised live on SuperSport (SS6) as will Marsha Marescia’s girls’ games against Canada on Friday and, hopefully, the final on Saturday.

SA head coach Giles Bonnet said Coetzee was suffering from a viral infection and expressed doubt whether Coetzee would play. SA dominated against Italy but were held to a 1-1 draw Tuesday and clearly missed Coetzee’s presence.

The Italian result came after South Africa had outplayed Poland and Ukraine, winning 2-1 and 2-0 respectively. Coetzee scored in both those games, including a remarkable goal against Ukraine which the Johannesburg-based sharpshooter described as one she has been dreaming about since she was 11 years old.

With two matches left for each team in the league phase, India and SA are on seven points. Italy have five points and Ukraine four points. The other teams, Poland and Canada, are out of contention.

Italy and Ukraine are still serious contenders for a berth in the last-chance final. The top two teams after Friday’s remaining league round meet in Saturday’s final (4.30pm SA time), the winner of which earns one of the last remaining berths in the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Wednesday’s SA versus India match is vital for both teams. Italy play Ukraine at 6.30am (SA time) in a match that is of also massive importance to both teams as well as being of huge significance to India and SA.

On Friday, SA should beat Canada in their final pool while India have a tougher match against Italy and Ukraine should beat Poland.

So it’s very difficult to predict who will make the final at this stage. A awful amount depends on Wednesday’s SA versus India match and Ukraine’s clash with Italy.