FILE - Former South African hocket star Tsoanelo Pholo. Photo: Supplied
FILE - Former South African hocket star Tsoanelo Pholo. Photo: Supplied

Tsoanelo Pholo would like to see SA Women's hockey team ’having a go’ in Tokyo

By Zaahier Adams Time of article published Jul 28, 2021

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CAPE TOWN – Former Olympian Tsoanelo Pholo believes the SA Hockey women’s team need to adopt a more attacking approach as “they have nothing to lose” in their remaining games at the Tokyo Olympics.

The South Africans suffered their third consecutive defeat on Wednesday morning with World and European Champions Netherlands winning 5-0. The Dutch were only ahead by a solitary goal at half-time before the South Africans relented under the pressure in the second half.

Pholo, who competed in the Athens 2004 Olympics, feels South Africa need to bring their skilful attackers more into play instead of trying to contain their higher-ranked opponents. Robin van Ginkel’s team have two matches remaining against Germany (Thursday, 02:30am) and India (Friday, 05:15am).

ALSO READ: Despite good start, SA hockey women lose to Great Britain

“If you are scared to lose, you will lose. We should play to win. That's the only way you keep the higher ranked teams honest. We need to go forward, and go forward with speed. I think right now we're playing very safe. We can't afford to play safe anymore,” Pholo said on a Rayder Media podcast.

“I would love to see more of our attacking midfielders in terms of playing without fear of losing the ball. I would really like to see them having a go. We can see a lot more from our attacking play. Having lost three games, and playing against teams that are ranked much higher than us, I think we should just go for it in our remaining games.”

The SA youth team coach believes a change of tactics is due, with the aerial route being a possible option.

ALSO READ: Phumelela Mbande's brilliance can't deny SA Hockey Women going down to Ireland

“I would like to see more aerial balls from the midfield, so that we can get that first time ball going forward, which will allow our strikers to show their flair upfront,” Pholo said.

“We haven't seen much of that. We have mostly been using the aerial to get out of trouble. I would like to see it being used as an attacking option. We have the players that can do that. I would love to see us throwing the ball behind the defenders. The shorter the passes, the more time the defence has to organise. If we can just start throwing higher balls, attacking through balls, we have the speed, the energy. I would love to see that from our team.”

South Africa’s vice-captain and goalkeeper Phumelela Mbande celebrated her 50th cap against the Netherlands with a superb performance in goal. Despite conceding five goals, Mbande made 18 saves whilst denying the Dutch 15 penalty corner attempts.

ALSO READ: SA Women’s hockey to fight for their lives at Tokyo Olympics

“We knew before the game that Phumi was going to be needed to make a couple of saves and she did that. We can always rely on her to do her job. She was outstanding,” Pholo said.

Click here for the latest Olympics news, schedules, results and medal rankings.


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