Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Hockey World Cup: South Africa name strong men’s squad, Malaysia face fitness doubts

Coach Cheslyn Gie has kept the core of South Africa’s Nations Cup-winning squad – but they will be missing corner dangerman Matt Guise-Brown for next month’s men’s World Cup.

South Africa upset the odds at the recent FIH Nations Cup as the sixth-ranked side of eight to lift the trophy and will be buoyed heading into the sport’s showpiece in January with their attacking blend of hockey.

However they will be missing English-based Guise-Brown, who tore the meniscus in his right knee. Surgery last week has ruled him out of South Africa’s World Cup squad.

Dayaan Cassiem, the player of the tournament, will continue to lead the team, while Keenan Horne and Jethro Eustice provide the most experience. Gowan Jones, who starred at the Commonwealth Games, returns and joins Estiaan Kriek as the two goalkeepers.

There are also recalls for Bili Ntuli, Nic Spooner and Peabo Lembethe from the Commonwealth Games Squad.

Gie said: “We have an exciting mix of youth and experience. Several players have taken the opportunities afforded to them this year either in Pro League, Azlan Shah or now in Nations Cup and we are pleased to be able to reward the players who have put their hands up consistently.

“We know that our pool will be tough, but we are excited to represent our country on the International Stage.”

South Africa are in a pool with Australia, Argentina and France, who they defeated for the first time ever in Potchefstroom.

Meanwhile, Malaysia forward Shello Silverius is in a race against time to be fit for the World Cup through injury.

Silverius played a leading hand in the Azlan Shah Cup gold medal-winning team but broke his left arm at the Nations Cup.

Nik Aiman suffered an ACL on his left knee and is expected to miss the tournament.

Malaysia are in a World Cup pool with the Netherlands, New Zealand and Chile.

Shello scored five times to help Malaysia win the Azlan Shah Cup for the first time in 39 years and will be a big omission should he fail to find full fitness.

Malaysia head to Rourkela on Jan 6 and start against the Dutch on Jan 14.

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