Pietie, the drag flicker keeps the SA flag fluttering high | india | Hindustan Times
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Pietie, the drag flicker keeps the SA flag fluttering high

For South African's drag-flick queen, Pietie Coetzee, country comes first, and for that she can go to any extent.

india Updated: Oct 11, 2010 00:19 IST
Sharad Deep

For South African's drag-flick queen, Pietie Coetzee, country comes first, and for that she can go to any extent.

That's the reason why she responded to national call to join the Commonwealth Games team after enjoying five years of retirement.

She began her CWG journey with four goals, including a hat-trick against lowly Trinidad and Tobago, then a goal each against Scotland and Australia too. But, her only goal against hosts and last Games silver-medallist India on Saturday proved most vital for her side.

If she had not converted the second-half goal, India could have made it to the semifinals with just three goals, which they scored in the match, at the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium.

The SA team believes that the inclusion of Coetzee is certainly no riddle considering that she was amongst the top goal-scorers at the recently concluded Women's World Cup in Rosario, Argentina.

“She has enough experience to turn the tables at any moment and that was what happened in the match against India, when she scored a goal in the dying minutes to help SA enter in last four,” says team coach Giles Bonnet.

Better known as South African hockey's 'golden child', Coetzee, 32, who has so far scored 194 goals in 199 test matches, started playing at age 16 in 1985 at school for fun.

Why this sport only? “It's got action, it's a team sport and a fast-moving game,” Coetzee, who loves travelling, cycling, and cooking, says.

Coetzee, who was head coach of the University of Johannesburg hockey team, has earned a big name in world hockey, emerging SA Hockey Player of the Year, 1997, and 2002. She retired from international hockey in 2005.

“She is our trump card, and we are hoping for a podium finish,” says Bonnet. “Forget about world top-six if you don't have a world-class drag-flicker and in Pietie, South Africa has that and more, as her ability to score field goals is also world-class.”