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Pereira says SA side will ‘fight like mad’ against Malaysians
- Updated: June 5, 2013
South Africa men’s hockey team head coach Charlie Pereira is anticipating an exciting series when the lads in green and gold take on world No13 Malaysia in four Test matches over the next week.
The series starts at 5pm Thursday at the University of North West Hockey Centre in Potchefstroom.
ÔÇ£Both sides play attacking hockey, which makes for a good series,ÔÇØ Pereira said in a break between training sessions at UNW this week. ÔÇ£All Asian sides like counter-attacking, are good at going forward and have very good elimination skills in one-on-ones, but we are good enough to beat Malaysia and this is the kind of competition we need.ÔÇØ
Pereira said Malaysia have come a long way in the last six months under former SA coach Paul Revington. ÔÇ£But we are at home and will fight like mad, while the conditions [high altitude] will play in our favour, especially in the first Test.ÔÇØ
One of Malaysia’s outstanding recent successes was the silver medal at their own Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh in mid-March, where Australia’s world number two Kookaburras broke 15 000 hearts in a packed stadium with the winner four seconds from time.
Three major SA players in recent years are unavailable for the series. Defenders Lloyd Madsen (work commitments) and drag-flick king Justin Reid-Ross (one-year sabbatical from international hockey due to study commitments) as well as ace striker Lloyd ÔÇ£ChuckÔÇØ Norris-Jones are the absentees.
ÔÇ£Chuck scored a third of our goals in Brazil [World League tournament] but is writing UNISA exams during the series, so his unavailability is a blow,ÔÇØ said Pereira. ÔÇ£But we are an amateur side [against full-time opponents] so we need 30 guys who know how to step up when needed and the beauty is that due to injury, work commitments or studies there are always opportunities opening up for new players.ÔÇØ
Saturday and Sunday’s second and third Tests are both at 3pm. The fourth and final Test is at Randburg Hockey Stadium at 7pm on Tuesday, 11 June.
Rassie Pieterse (Southern Gauteng), Jacque le Roux (Western Province), Gowan Jones (KZN Coastal Raiders), Austin Smith (WP, captain), Francois Pretorius (Northern Blues), Ashlin Freddy (WP), Rhett Halkett (WP, vice-captain), Ricky West (SG), Lance Louw (SG), Jethro Eustice (SG), Jonty Robinson (NB), Clint Panther (SG), Wade Paton (KCR), Tim Drummond (KCR), Nic Gonsalves (SG), Taylor Dart (SG), Julian Hykes (SG), Taine Paton (KCR), Craig Haley (WP), Matt Botha (WP), Pierre de Voux (WP), Miguel da Graca (SG)