THE Zimbabwe Under-21 women’s hockey team boosted their confidence ahead of the start of the Women’s Hockey Junior World Cup campaign in Santiago, Chile, after putting on a solid performance in their final warm-up match against heavyweights South Africa on Monday. BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
Zimbabwe, who make a return to the global tournament for the first time in 11 years, open their Pool A campaign with a tough match against the USA tomorrow.
In their final preparatory match, Zimbabwe put on a fighting display albeit in a losing cause, as they lost 2-0 to South Africa, which only eight months ago scored 10 goals past them during the continental qualifiers in March.
In a statement on their official Facebook page, the Hockey Association of Zimbabwe said the performance against South Africa would serve as a confidence booster for the Patricia Davies-coached side.
“What a great start to our Under-21s’ journey in this Junior World Cup. Just played our first practice match against South Africa and what a fantastic match it was. We held SA 0-0 for the first half and it was only in the last few moments of the second half that they put in two goals,” the statement read in part.
“The score did not reflect the nature of the game! The girls played their hearts out and this has been the best confidence boost for the team.”
The warm-up game against the South Africans was Zimbabwe’s first competitive fixture as a full-strength side since the continental qualifiers, as most of the players in the squad are based at universities and colleges in the US.
Zimbabwe will be eager to get their World Cup campaign off to a positive start against the USA ahead of equally tough Pool A matches against Korea and Netherlands on Friday and Sunday, respectively.
Pool B has Argentina, France, Germany and Japan, while hosts Chile, England, Australia and South Africa make up Pool C.
Team: Jordyn Clipstone, Lauren Dent, Carla van Oudtshoorn, Stephanie Campbell (captain), Kelly Diplock, Chelsea Dollar, Aimee-Beth Nativel, Megan Shaxson, Tyler Groenewald, Jessica Dollar, Simone Herbst, Sinead Cockcroft, Sophie MacDonald, Estelle Stambolie, Cheryl Dzapasi, Michelle Kabaira, Simone Machussen, Fariyah Omarshah, Mufaro Mazambani
Technical Team: Patricia Davies (coach), Tendayi Maredza (assistant coach), Jenna Palmer (physiotherapist), Colleen Nativel (team manager)