South African Hockey announced today that Lennie Botha has retired as head coach of the SPAR South Africa Women’s Indoor Hockey Team.
Botha has been the head coach of the team since April 2014, during which he achieved several milestones, including leading the team to the FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup Semi-Finals in 2023 and achieving an all-time high world ranking of 6th for an African side in any format of the game.
During Botha’s tenure, the team played 132 games, winning 88 and losing only 25. They scored 582 goals in that time, capped fifty-three players with 13 playing more than 50 games. Jess O’Connor played every one of the 132 tests.
“Lennie Botha has been a great asset to the SPAR South Africa Women’s Indoor Hockey Team and to the hockey family as a whole. His contributions will be greatly missed,” said SA Hockey interim CEO Shaune Baaitjies. “We appreciate his dedication and hard work and wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”
Jessica O’Connor, the current captain of the team remarkably played all 132 games of Botha’s tenure. The captain was magnanimous in her praise and thankfulness to Botha for his role over the past decade.
“For the entirety of my international hockey career, Lennie Botha has been my coach and it has been an honour to learn from him and see him grow indoor hockey as a competitive sport in South Africa! It is safe to say, that without the dedication and commitment of this hockey legend, SA women’s indoor hockey would not be where it is today!
I was extremely proud to captain Lennie’s SA side at the FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup at the beginning of this year, where we came 4th overall – the best result South Africa has EVER achieved at a World Cup.
Lennie, thank you so much for all the laughs, sweat, tears and love you have given to me personally and to the game as a whole. It’s been an amazing journey!”
Remarkably Botha ends his international career with 159 test caps as he also oversaw the SA Indoor Hockey Mens team for 27 test caps including the 2003 and 2007 World Cups. Botha expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to lead the team and said he is proud of the progress the team made under his leadership.
“I would like to thank the South African Hockey for giving me the opportunity to lead such an incredible group of players,” said Botha. “It has been an honor to be a part of this team and to work with such talented athletes. I am proud of the progress we made during my tenure and am confident that the team will continue to succeed in the future.”