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Captain Terblanche ready to rock the Summer Series

Terblanche

South Africa’s hockey captain, Nicolene Terblanche, and her teammates can be excused if they are ‘champing at the bit’ to take on Chile on Friday in the Cape Town Summer Series… it’s been a year since they last played internationally.

Belgium and China are the other two women’s teams which will be competing. South Africa’s men will play against Belgium and the Netherlands at the same time at the Hartleyvale Stadium in Observatory.

Terblanche (midfielder/defender) is confident that she and her team will give a good account of themselves.

‘I know we are going to be involved in some tough encounters but it is going to be an exciting experience. We had a good training camp over December where we worked hard at executing certain specifics of our game plan to perfection. I can honestly say that there is real hunger amongst all of us to play Test hockey again. A year is long time to wait,’ said Terblanche who is also an assistant-coach and player at TuksHockey.

Terblanche has a plenty of respect for the capabilities of the Chinese team that is currently ranked eighth in the world.

‘What makes it difficult playing against China is the fact they are so fast and nippy. Everything happens at speed when they play. I’m looking forward to play against Belgium as quite a few of the players that I played against in their professional league are part of their national squad. Playing professional hockey in Belgium gave me a whole new perspective of the game.’

Terblanche made her international debut against China at the 2010 World Cup in Argentina. ‘I remember that China really hammered us.’

Terblanche took over the captaincy of the South African team in 2015 for the World League Semi-finals in Spain. On Friday she will earn her 187th cap playing for South Africa. She credits Malcolm Ratz, a former coach at TuksHockey, as the one person who made her believe that she has the ability to play for South Africa.

‘Malcolm made it his personal mission to help me become a good athlete so that I could play for South Africa. Many Sunday afternoons I would meet him at the Tuks AstroTurf where he took me through various individual drills. There were times when we worked for up to four hours on the turf. In the end the hard work payed dividends.’

As to her role as captain Terblanche said she tries not to complicate things.

‘I am firm believer in leading by example. I have also realised that there is no blueprint to being a good captain. One of the biggest challenges for any captain is to be able to accept that your teammates are individuals and you need to work out which is the best way to motivate each one.

‘My advice to a player who is making her debut is simple. It does not help to get stressed. The only thing they should focus on is to be in control with their first touch of the ball and their first pass. Once they done that they should just enjoy the game. There aren’t a lot of expectations placed on players on their first Test,’ said the TuksHockey player.

Picture of Terblanche courtesy of Reg Caldecott


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