NEW DELHI, October 19: Austin Smith, who led the South African in the Olympic Games hockey competition earlier this year, is among the top stars from his country to sign up for next month’s Hockey India League Players’ Auction in the run up to the Hockey India League that will be held from January 5, 2013.
“We are pleased that the creative midfielder Smith, who has led the national team in 56 matches and was nominated to be a part of the FIH World All-Star team in 2009, is among those from South Africa who are eager to showcase their talents in the Hockey India League,” said Hockey India Secretary-General and Hockey India League Chairman Dr. Narinder Batra.
The 27-year-old Smith has 103 international caps and has been part of South African teams that have competed in the Olympic Games in 2008 and 2012, the FIH World Cup 2010 and the Commonwealth Games in Delhi in 2010, besides helping the team win a bronze medal in the FIH Champions Challenge 1, 2011.
The prolific drag-flick exponent Justin Reid Ross (63 goals in 91 games), seasoned Lloyd Norris Jones (46 goals in 90 matches) and all-rounder Thornton McDade (27 goals in 94 games) are among the other big draws. They have both played in the Olympic Games, FIH World Cup 2006 and 2010 and Commonwealth Games 2010.
Centre-half Lloyd Madsen (70 caps), Defender Rhett Halkett (64 caps) and Erasmus Pieterse who has kept goal in 60 matches including in the last two Olympic Games and in the FIH World Cup and Commonwealth Games in 2010, alongwith young defender Clinton Panther (34 caps) who was part of national squad for London Olympic Games is also among the other stellar attractions from South Africa who have signed in their willingness to be featured in the HIL Players’ Auction.
These marquee South African players will join a galaxy of stars from overseas in the inaugural edition of the Hockey India League that has secured a clear window in the International Hockey Federation international calendar. The six-franchise based event, featuring 33 matches, is scheduled to climax on February 3, 2013.