Best result: Ninth in the 2004 Athens Games
Last Olympics: Eleventh
The highest-ranked African side in women's hockey, South Africa is a comparatively new team in the Olympics. They finished among the bottom-ranked teams in all three Olympics they have participated (2000, 2004 and 2008 Games). Outside the Olympics, the South African side took part at the Champions Challenge 1 in Dublin last year but finished fifth.
The Road to London:
The South African women's team had won the Africa Cup beating Kenya in the finals and won a berth in the Olympics. But the country's national hockey authorities felt that the team should play qualifying matches to reach the Olympics for the standard of hockey at the African Cup was not of the highest order. South Africa then went to win the Olympic qualifier in India, beating the hosts 3-1 in the finals.
Players to watch out for:
Pietie Coetzee, the 32-year-old forward and an Olympic veteran, is the team's mainstay. She holds the world record for goals with a tally of 230. Skipper Marsha Marescia with 250 matches under her belt is another strong pillar of the outfit. She was both the player of the final and player of the tournament at the Olympic Qualifier in Delhi.
1. Experience and strong work ethic.
2. The Investec deal will help in boosting the team spirit.
1. Not much exposure at the Olympics and even against strong teams.
2. Low standard of hockey in Africa could devalue the high-level of experience some of the players have.
Chances to progress at the London Games:
The South African eves will be determined to justify their entry into the Olympics by taking the longer route. The team will have to rally around Coetzee and try to finish at least among the top lot. Winning a medal will be a distant possibility though.
Tarryn Bright, Dirkie Chamberlain, Pietie Coetzee, Bernadette Coston, Sulette Damons, Illse Davids, Lisa-Marie Deetlefs, Lesle-Ann George, Lenise Marais, Marsha Marescia, Mariette Rix, Shelley Russell, Kathleen Taylor, Nicolene Terblanche, Jennifer Wilson, Kate Woods.
Giles Bonnet took over as the head coach of the South African women's team in May 2010. He was involved with the Belgian men's team between 2001 and 2007. A South African national himself, Bonnet also coached some of the Dutch men's and women's club sides and also with Chinese teams.