SA U18 Girls Water Polo Team En Route to FINA Championship

Wed, 10/10/2012 - 20:39
  • 2012 SA U18 Water Polo Girls

The SA U18 Girls Water Polo team will be competing at this year’s 1st FINA Youth Women’s Championship in Australia. The girls have been drawn with two of the strongest water polo nations, Greece and Russia, who both hold junior titles at the prestigous FINA events.

HSSM’s Sazi Luke talks to 2012 SA U18 Youth Women’s Coach Paul Martin on his team’s preparation for the upcoming FINA Youth Championship Tournament in Perth (AUS), and on the standard of women’s water polo in the country.

HSSM: Tell us about the journey the side went through to qualify for the Tournament?
Paul Martin: Basically we played a qualifying series against Zimbabwe hosted at St. John's in Joburg, we won the series 3-0 which meant we qualified as African representatives for the competition.

HSSM: Which teams will give us the biggest challenge?
Paul Martin: We’ve actually drawn with two favourites for the tournament in our pool: Greece and Russia. Both are defending champions for the U18 and U20 world cups respectively, so both of them will be our two toughest games of the tournament.

"From a female side of things we're more competitive than the male side"

HSSM: And how do we fare compared to other nations in terms of our standard of water polo in the female category?
Paul Martin: From a female side of things we're more competitive than the male side, but we're still an amateur sport playing in a professional environment, so we do struggle quite a lot. Our school system is very strong but overseas the focus is more on a club system. Though individual schools do pretty well when they tour, when it comes to crunch time playing in the national level, the club and academy systems kind of overweigh the school system. That’s where we fall short.

HSSM: Are there any implementations towards closing this gap between us and the other European teams which are slightly ahead of us?
Paul Martin: We need to sort out our issues at home first before we can compete. A new committee voted in terms of Swimming South Africa which we're hoping they will implement some new guidelines and structures. But at the moment polo is run under Swim SA; we're not our own prominent committee or entity. We run under swimming so we're kind of limited in what can be done by the structures that are in place already.

HSSM: How do you think we’ll fare at the tournament, do you think we’ll be competitive?
Paul Martin: Look, there’s sixteen women’s teams, our goal will be to end out at the bottom tier which is top 12, and if we could crack a top ten slot that would be unbelievable. So we’d like to finish out of the bottom tier and if we could get a top ten I think that would be the highest ranked an SA team has ever come.

HSSM: Which girls would you like to point out as leaders leading to the tournament?
Paul Martin: Yoh, I can’t really say at the moment. We actually have a training camp coming up in the middle of October and it’s quite a well-balanced side. There have been a few politics involved in selection of the side and it's all round a well balanced team, and to be honest I don’t think I can point anyone out at this stage. I think it will be a big team effort to pull everything off.

"there was a bit of political influence in the selection of the team"

HSSM: There’s quite a dominance of KZN, is that a reflection of how strong the province is in terms of water polo?
Paul Martin: Ja, that’s a bit of a catch 22 question. The girls that were there for the trial have given good accounts for themselves, and as I said there was a bit of political influence in the selection of the team where other girls in the country have not been made available due to technicalities. It’s more of a case of girls not being eligible rather than not being good enough.

HSSM: What are the particular reasons for the girls not being eligible for selection for the tournament?
Paul Walker: It all boils down to players not being registered. It’s been various faults so basically long story short: players weren’t registered. There was another school team, it’s a national team, it doesn’t fall under school rules it falls under Swim SA rules and basically one of the kids wasn't registered by Swim SA, but they were registered by their school affiliates.

HSSM: Thank you very much for your time Paul Martin and good luck to you and the SA U18 Girls Water Polo Team!

2012 SA U18 Girls Water Polo Squad

No Player School Province
1 Chloe Bradley Herschel Girls School WP
2 Alexandra Gascoigne St. Peters College CGA
3 Kelly-Lauren Gasson Kloof High KZN
4 Nicole Haird  St. Peters College CGA
5 Lindsay Killeen Clarendon High School CGA
6 Nicole McKenzie Kloof High KZN
7 Thembelihle Mkhize Kloof High KZN
8 Meaghan Oosthuizen Roedean School CGA
9 Shelley Oosthuizen  Durban Girls College KZN
10 Kim Rosslee  Crawford Lonehill CGA
11 Bianca van Ellewee Thomas More College KZN
12 Tayla Webb  Stirling High School Border
13 Carly Wessels Stirling High School Border
14 Charlotte Bentham  Durban Girls College KZN
15 Stephanie Trevethan  Durban Girls College KZN
16 Lize van Staden  Collegiate Girls High School EP
17 Samantha Janse van Vuuren St Marys DSG Kloof KZN

Manager: Galidjah Hendricks
Coach: Paul Martin

Photo: Goerge B Watson


Submitted by Joe Hillstrom (not verified) on

Well Done on making it to the championships. Hope you all have a good trip and enjoy the tournament. It augurs well for polo in the future.

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