Hockey star soaks up the fun of provincial tournament
SOUTH African world record goal scorer Pietie Coetzee says she opted to play in this year’s women’s Interprovincial Hockey Tournament because of the spirit shown by the teams and the relaxed atmosphere at the tournament.
She was speaking after her side, South Gauteng (Southerns), ran out 8-1 winners over the KwaZulu-Natal Mynahs on Sunday evening, with the striker netting twice to help her side to a convincing win and the perfect start to the week-long competition.
"I absolutely love playing in this tournament. It’s a lot of fun, it’s a little bit less pressure than international hockey and I have a lot of friends in this competition and ultimately that’s why I play."
After returning from the Olympics last week, it has been a quick turnaround for Coetzee, who has represented her country more than 200 times in a career spanning more than a decade.
Coetzee believed Southerns were looking to win this year’s title after losing out to Western Province in last year’s final.
"Southerns got together literally two days ago," she said. "We’ve had one training (session) where everybody was involved, so for us it’s important to start taking steps towards getting to the final. It’s important that we get everything in place before then. We’ll use these games to get there."
Southerns boast three London Olympians in Coetzee, Lisa Deetlefs and Bernadette Coston, while goalkeeper Sanani Mangisa travelled with South Africa’s side as cover for regular keeper Mariette Rix.
"It was obviously not compulsory to play this (year’s) Interprovincial Hockey Tournament and so it all depended on what you as an individual wanted to get out of it," Coetzee said of the South African team members not at the tournament.
"For some it’s fun, for others it’s been a long season and there are many that aren’t involved because the season has just been so long for them."
Reflecting on her performance at the Olympics, where South Africa’s women failed to win a match, she said the South Africans could have enjoyed a more successful campaign but she was happy with her personal performance, scoring three goals in six games.
"I must be honest, I felt a little hint of frustration at the games. But that could be partly because of the tremendous amount of pressure that’s on you at the games. You don’t get a single inch of space and that’s what you can expect, so I’m happy with the three goals, but I was hoping for a bit more than that."
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