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Ken Borland



SA hockey heads into 2017 without stalwart Mangisa 0

Posted on January 31, 2017 by Ken

 

The South African women’s team will head into the rest of 2017 without the calming, stabilising presence of one of their greatest goalkeepers, as Sanani Mangisa announced her retirement from international hockey on Tuesday, 24th January 2017.

The 29-year-old Mangisa is into her 10th year of representing South Africa and has decided the time is right for her to concentrate on her career in the sports industry and helping to create opportunities, similar to the ones she enjoyed, for the next generation.

“I always love the freshness and optimism that comes with a new year and it is with that same freshness and optimism that I have decided to retire from international hockey. On 30th December 2006, I made my debut in Stellenbosch as a young 19-year-old and 10 years on it has been an immense honour to represent South Africa at the highest level.

“However, it’s time for me to focus on some passion projects, making sure other young players have the same opportunities I did and a job that I am enjoying. Hockey chose me and I will forever be grateful,” Mangisa said.

The South African women’s team will head into the rest of 2017 without the calming, stabilising presence of one of their greatest goalkeepers as Sanani Mangisa announced her retirement from international hockey on Tuesday.

The 29-year-old Mangisa is into her 10th year of representing South Africa and has decided the time is right for her to concentrate on her career in the sports industry and helping to create opportunities, similar to the ones she enjoyed, for the next generation.

“I always love the freshness and optimism that comes with a new year and it is with that same freshness and optimism that I have decided to retire from international hockey. On December 30, 2006, I made my debut in Stellenbosch as a young 19-year-old and 10 years on it has been an immense honour to represent South Africa at the highest level.

“But it’s time for me to focus on some passion projects, making sure other kids have the same opportunities I did, and a job that I am enjoying. Hockey chose me and I will forever be grateful,” Mangisa said.

Mangisa thanked the South African Hockey Association and all other stakeholders in the game who have supported her in the last decade.

“Thank you to SA hockey for all the opportunities they allowed me to represent my country and wear the Green and Gold. Thank you to the different team-mates I have played with over the years – we shared a common goal and always worked hard towards achieving it. Thank you also to the coaches and trainers who always challenged me to be better.

“Thanks too to all the different sponsors, you believed in a kid, long before I believed in myself, and to the media – journalists and broadcasters – that feature hockey, I have to thank you specifically for working endlessly to highlight our sport. I hope everyone keeps supporting women’s sport not just because it’s women’s sport, but because we are breaking moulds and doing some cool stuff.

“And to my family, you have always been the grounding factor. Your support has been immense. Enkosi,” Mangisa said.

The Umtata-born Mangisa leaves the game with rich memories as one of South Africa’s most decorated players, having earned 112 international caps and appearing in both the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games, as well as the 2014 World Cup and the 2010 Commonwealth Games. She also represented South Africa at the 2007 Indoor World Cup and played locally for the University of Pretoria and Northerns, before moving to Southern Gauteng.

Marissa Langeni, the CEO of the South African Hockey Association, paid tribute to Mangisa.

“We have followed Sanani’s progress over the years and she has truly been a remarkable player, doing an amazing job in goal for South Africa. She enjoyed so many highlights on the field, but she was also a great ambassador for South African hockey. We wish her all the best,” Langeni said.

http://www.sahockey.co.za/tournaments/ipt-women/276-sanani-mangisa-announces-her-retirement-from-international-hockey

Relief and a tear in the eye 0

Posted on September 29, 2015 by Ken

 

South Africa’s Rugby World Cup victory over Samoa brought relief but soon there was a tear in the eye as the news filtered through that they had lost their captain, Jean de Villiers, one of the great Springboks, for the rest of the tournament. The man with 109 Test caps, 37 of them as skipper, announced his retirement the next day.

De Villiers had, of course, been the centre (pardon the pun) of intense speculation over whether he deserved his place in the team after a run of injuries and a distinct lack of sharpness in the awful loss to Japan. The 34-year-old was shifted to outside centre for the match against Samoa, with Damian de Allende making a massive impact with his hard, direct running over the gain-line and into space in the number 12 jersey.

While De Allende was the man who made the most difference to the Springbok backline, it was heartening that De Villiers was at least able to go out on a high, leading the Springboks to an impressive win and playing well himself.

The Springboks also gained a considerable amount by having Willie le Roux at fullback – he was able to be a second “general” at first-receiver, taking some of the load off young Handre Pollard, while his ability to read space made his intrusions into the backline in wider positions a consistent threat.

Fourie du Preez also provided a top-class service from scrumhalf – one can scarcely recall a single pass going astray – and the veteran 2007 World Cup winner is not only a brilliant reader of the game but also a fantastic enabler in terms of allowing the team to change their tempo.

But where the turnaround for the Springboks came was up front. I said before the match that grunt and physicality up front would be needed against the big, mean and physical Samoans, who carry the ball with an intent not matched by many, and the Springboks really needed all hands on deck at the gain-line, rather than forwards standing out in the backline.

My wife is no connoisseur of the dark arts of forward play and the tight exchanges, but even she noticed how the Springbok pack “really seemed to be playing” against Samoa.

It was most heartening that the first Springbok to step up and lead the way was Victor Matfield, who was a standout figure in the opening exchanges, leading from the front with the sort of talismanic performance coach Heyneke Meyer was no doubt hoping for.

The Springboks showed that they can use the ball on attack as well as anybody, providing their forwards have laid the platform first; they need to earn the right to throw the ball around and there is no shame (and an awful lot of good sense) in playing to your own strengths instead of trying to copy the All Blacks.

The good news for South Africa is that the damage of the Japan loss has almost been undone with the Springboks sitting on seven log-points, thanks to bonus points, only one shy of where they would have wanted to have been heading into this weekend’s game against Scotland.

The campaign is back on an even keel and the relief and joy in the Springbok camp after the Samoa game was obvious. But the level of performance now needs to be raised another notch against Scotland; the consistency of this Springbok team has been a concern throughout the four years of Meyer’s tenure and hopefully, with the pressure now having eased, they don’t slump back into bad habits.

 

 

Kallis ‘could not face letting down Proteas’ – Smith 0

Posted on August 07, 2014 by Ken

Former South African captain Graeme Smith said on Wednesday that he believed Jacques Kallis announced his retirement from all international cricket because he could not face the possibility of letting down the Proteas.

Kallis retired from Test cricket in December, but decided to continue playing ODI cricket in a bid to make the World Cup squad early next year. But a poor tour of Sri Lanka this month, in which he scored just five runs in three innings and could not bowl due to niggling injuries, led to him re-evaluating his future.

“I’ve been calling him an ‘old man’ and asking him what he’s doing out there, but I had a hint that he might decide to retire after he came back from Sri Lanka and realised that it would take a lot of hard work for him to get through to the World Cup. When you’re playing full-time it’s easier, but focus is very crucial at international level and I think he was wondering if his mind is really on it.

“He really wanted to win the World Cup, but I’ve always appreciated his honesty and I think he realised that he might let the team down. He was honest enough to realise he might not be strong enough to make it through to next year, especially in terms of bowling and mentally,” Smith said on Wednesday.

Smith said the timing of the decision was perfect because it gave the team enough time to adapt their tactics to his absence ahead of the World Cup.

“He’s given the team enough space tactically to fill his gap with other guys but it’s obviously always sad when players of his calibre move on. But he’s had an incredible career which we can all celebrate and look back fondly on. He brought so much happiness and South African cricket got a lot out of Jacques in so many different eras,” Smith said.

“It’s always difficult to compare players from different eras, but if you consider the amount of cricket Jacques played, the length of consistency at the top of the game and all the different conditions and challenges he performed in, then he’s got to be up there with the best who’ve ever played the game. In time, I’m sure his reputation will only go from strength to strength.”

Cricket South Africa CEO Haroon Lorgat said the timing of the decision was typical of the 38-year-old’s professionalism.

“He’s been a consummate professional who always knew exactly what his responsibilities were and although he was very keen to get through to the World Cup, and had committed himself to that, it dawned upon him in Sri Lanka that his mind and body were not fit enough to get him there. He said he had some thinking to do when he left Sri Lanka two weeks ago, so he prepared us for his retirement and in the last 12 hours there have been lots of conversations with him,” Lorgat said.

“In my book, he was one of the best cricketers ever. I’ve seen him play great innings and make wonderful contributions with the ball, but above all it was his presence that I will remember. In the last 10 years, the team has drawn an enormous amount of confidence from his sheer presence,” the former Eastern Province and Transvaal all-rounder said.

http://mobi.supersport.com/cricket/sa-team/news/140730/Kallis_didnt_want_to_let_the_team_down

Kallis typically asked himself the tough questions 0

Posted on August 05, 2014 by Ken

It was typical of the methodical, clinical way in which he approached his record-breaking career that Jacques Kallis asked himself the difficult questions about his future in international cricket and came up with the tough, honest and correct answers that pointed to the full retirement he announced yesterday.

Having announced his retirement from the Test arena in December, Kallis had continued to make himself available for the Proteas’ one-day international team, his sights set on playing in the World Cup – a tournament in which he has suffered much anguish – early next year.

But a poor time in Sri Lanka this month made him question whether he still had it in him, in his 39th year and 19th season of international cricket, to maintain the high standards required to earn a place in the side.

The runs have not been as prolific in recent times, he was unable to bowl in Sri Lanka due to niggling injuries, and perhaps the intense mental focus needed to excel in international cricket was no longer there either.

The end of a career as amazing as that of Jacques Kallis is always a sad occasion, but the right decision has been made. The World Cup was increasingly looking a bridge too far and the legacy of statistically the greatest all-round record the game has known will remain intact.

The South African team is now well and truly entering the new era with the leading figures of the last decade – Kallis, Graeme Smith, Mark Boucher, Shaun Pollock and Makhaya Ntini – all retired. But the team culture, strength of character and technical excellence that Kallis so hugely contributed to during his 166 Tests and 328 ODIs will live on in the exploits of such world-class successors as Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander.

Kallis might not be there at the MCG on March 29 if South Africa finally lift the World Cup, but the team will no doubt ascribe plenty of the credit to his immense influence that went far beyond the phenomenal number of runs, wickets and catches he provided.

 



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