SA Mens Hockey won’t make up Olympic numbers - Cheslyn Gie

SA Mens Hockey won’t make up Olympic numbers - Cheslyn Gie

Despite financial challenges, SA Men’s Hockey coach Cheslyn Gie is optimistic about his team’s preparations for the upcoming Olympic Games.

Operating on a limited budget, Gie and his squad recently earned a bronze medal at the FIH Nations Cup in Poland, where they beat Pakistan to finish just behind champions New Zealand and runners-up France.

South Africa secured qualification in the Olympic Games by winning their eighth Africa Cup of Nations title in November last year, and despite their financial difficulties, Gie is confident they will be ready to compete in Paris next month.

"We have been struggling with some finances, so our preparations have not been ideal, however, we went to Poland to play in the FIH Nations Cup about a week ago, and we got some much-needed international matches under our belts," Gie told SABC Sport.

"We played against Austria, [South] Korea, Poland, and New Zealand, and then we did well enough to make the semi-finals, where we unfortunately lost 2-1 against France.

"And then we were good enough to win the bronze against Pakistan in the third-fourth play-off, so that gave us a good amount of international matches, which I think will really help us in the future."

The Olympic squad is set to be announced on Sports @ 10 on SABC 1 tomorrow evening, with Gie acknowledging the selection was challenging and required him to make some tough decisions.

"The squad will be announced on SABC on Wednesday, so until then I unfortunately can't mention who the players are that have been selected, but I can say it's been a very tough selection process," he added.

"Because the margins are so small between the players – we really have a talented group of players, so to pick the best is always going to be tough."

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