MESSAGE FROM CLIVE PEDDLE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF SA POLO, IN MALAYSIA
Firstly my apologies if you have been unable to reach me over the past few days but I had a technical hitch with the online service here but am now back from cyberspace and able to communicate again. I can obviously send and receive emails and sms’s. Please don’t phone me unless it’s urgent as international roaming is costly to all parties.
As you know the South African team is in Malaysia for the Zone D playoffs to qualify for the finals in Argentine in October. We had a shaky start over the weekend when the boys went down 7-1 to the Kiwis in a warm up friendly match. I think the team took me too seriously when I said “not to show them too much” at the pre-match meeting !!!
Yesterday we played Nigeria in scorching hot and humid conditions – the first match of the tournament after the opening ceremony. The team were very nervous but focused and played very well despite having had virtually no match time together prior to leaving South Africa. They also had to contend with some pretty dodgy horses and I realized how well we mount our visitors when they visit SA. They were never really threatened and won the match 13-5 although they endured some pretty hard bumps from a very robust Nigerian side. I was really proud of the way they conducted themselves on the field – no moaning, chirping or appealing for fouls !!! The side that played was Johann du Preez (who replaced Sbu Duma) Lance Watson, Duncan Watson and Campbell Macnab. Conditions were really hot and I think they were grateful it was a five chukka match and not 6. FIP randomly choose a player from each team for a “dope test” - Lance was selected but really battled to fill the bottle he was so dehydrated !!! After downing many bottles of water and isotonic drink he managed to give the authorities what they wanted much to the amusement of the rest of the team.
Our next match will be against Pakistan so will keep you updated on our progress. It’s great to see such a happy motivated bunch of guys all getting on so well.