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    SA Hockey seeks a new men's coach to take Proteas to the Olympics

    Daayan Cassiem of South Africa celebrates goal with his teammates during the 2017 Cape Town Summer Series II match against Germany at Hartleyvale Stadium. Photo: Chris Ricco/BackpagePix

    JOHANNESBURG – South African hockey is looking for a new head coach for the men’s team on the eve of the qualifying period for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

    The SA Hockey Association (SAHA) advertised the head coach position for a four-year cycle culminating in the World Cup in either 2022 or 2023.

    Like the women’s position which has since been filled by Robin van Ginkel, it will be on a volunteer basis.

    Incumbent men’s coach Mark Hopkins stepped into the role at the beginning of 2018 with only a year left in the four-year tenure.

    Fabian Gregory stepped down after the FIH World League Semi-Finals in South Africa in July 2017.

    Interim head coach Sheldon Rostron held the fort, coaching both the men’s and women’s teams to the 2017 continental titles.

    Hopkins coached the team to the World Cup in India where they finished at the bottom of their pool. They suffered heavy defeats to hosts India and Belgium but made amends with a 1-1 draw with Canada.

    The deadline for application submissions is set for March 29 with SAHA looking to fill the position in April.

    The Proteas coach will have their work cut out for them as they have the task of qualifying the team for the Tokyo Games.

    The team will return to India in July for the Hockey Series Finals which is an Olympic Qualifying tournament.

    Central Hockey Club's Quanita Bobbs (right) and SA teammate Jade Mayne in action against China at Hartleyvale Hocey Stadium, Cape Town in January 2017. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

    Meanwhile, Van Ginkel announced a 26-player women’s squad ahead of the FIH Open Series Final in Valencia in June where they will face Italy, Wales and Thailand in Pool B.

    “I am really excited to take my first team to Spain and look to do well,” Van Ginkel said. “The team selected has a good core of experienced players that will help blend the new names into the team.

    “I am really looking forward to the start of our four-year process and the success we can bring to South African Hockey.”

    The squad includes a host of new players which include Robyn Johnson, Sandi Tabata, Ashleigh Datnow, Nikki Veto, Stephanie Botha, Casey-Jean Botha, Bianca Wood, Hannah Pearse and Tegan Fourie.

    Proteas women’s squad:

    Stephanie Baxter, Quanita Bobbs, Kara Botes, Casey Jean Botha, Stephanie Botha, Dirkie Chamberlain, Ashleigh Datnow, Lisa Deetlefs, Lilian du Plessis, Celia Evans, Tegan Fourie, Tarryn Glasby, Erin Hunter, Robyn Johnson, Nicole la Fleur (GK), Ongi Mali, Marizen Marais, Phumi Mbande (GK), Mmathshepo Modipane (GK), Kristen Paton, Hannah Pearce, Sandi Tabata, Izelle Verster, Nikki Veto, Nicole Walraven, Bianca Wood