South Africa

‘Shift in mindset’: SA women’s indoor hockey team target African title

After finishing fourth at last year’s World Cup, national captain Jamie Southgate is confident the SA women’s indoor hockey team have the experience to win the Indoor Africa Cup in Swakopmund, Namibia this weekend.

The four-day tournament, which started on Thursday, was also acting as a qualifying tournament, with the top two sides booking their places in next year’s Indoor World Cup in Croatia.

Southgate, who had 92 caps before the start of the continental championship, was one of six members of the SA squad who had 50 or more international matches under their belt.

“Experience does really count a lot in big moments and having experienced players in the team allows for younger players to feed off them,” Southgate said.

“This helps players to learn how to manage key moments of the game and it will also help us to work out how to manage ourselves in a long tournament environment.”

More self-belief

Following their fourth-place finish at last year’s Indoor World Cup in Pretoria, the national team went on to win the Tuanku Zara International Cup in November and were runners-up to African rivals Namibia in the inaugural Kathea Energy Nkosi Cup in Cape Town in December.

Southgate felt the self-belief in the squad had been raised, and the 26-year-old defender believed they had the ability to win the continental title, after finishing second behind Namibia at the last two editions of the tournament.

“Not realising the true capabilities of the team going into the World Cup, and subsequently achieving a fourth-place finish, led to a shift in mindset and attitude towards South African women’s indoor hockey,” the skipper said.

“Believing we can be the best and striving for constant improvement are the areas of focus for us heading into this Africa Cup.”