The International Hockey Federation have today announced the nominees for the Annual FIH Hockey Star Awards. South African Hockey are pleased to share that Mustapha Cassiem has been announced as a finalist in the Rising Star category.

The Rising Star Award is for the best young player in world hockey and past winners include the likes of Artur van Doren, Gonzalo Peilat, Tobias Hauke and Jamie Dwyer amongst others.

Mustapha made his outdoor debut for the SA Hockey men on the 8 February 2020 against USA as a 17-year-old and made an immediate impact in scoring on debut. He would score another  in the series before a COVID enforced wait meant he would next feature for SA against Namibia in May 2021. He scored four from four against our African neighbours and had a remarkable 8 wins from 8 tests so far.

Mustapha is also an indoor national and was part of the team that recently won the African Indoor Cup of Nations and qualified for the Indoor Hockey World Cup in Belgium. He has already scored 24 goals for the SA Indoor Hockey Men in just 8 indoor hockey test caps, a remarkable 3 goals a game.

But it was in Tokyo that the world got to see what we already knew about the younger Cassiem brother as he netted three goals, including the winner against Germany to get the hockey world and the Olympics themselves talking.

Mustapha has been nominated alongside Indian sensation and 2019 recipient Vivek Prasad and Sean Findlay from New Zealand.

For the next month fans of the hockey world will be able to vote for their favourites in the 8 categories on where of course you can pick Mustapha to win!

The South Africans and Canadians were already eliminated from the Quarter Final stage, however they had one last go at each other to end with pride. In a pulsating match at the Oi Hockey Stadium in Tokyo the two teams dished up a meal that any neutral would devour in an eight-goal thriller.

South Africa continued where they left off against Germany with a superb start to the game at frenetic pace which Canada couldn’t do anything to stop. The first counterattack goal was converted by Bili Ntuli after superb work by Taine Paton and Dayaan Cassiem. The Cassiem brothers then combined to create a simple tap in for Nic Spooner, his second of the tournament. Despite looking in control the South Africans allowed Canada back into the game with a harshly awarded penalty corner being converted by Pearson off a deflection just in front of Rassie Pieterse.

Canada restored parity early in the second chukka as they took advantage of extra space awarded to them and Keegan Pereira fired a bullet past Pieterse in the SA Goal. Canada claimed they had a third and the lead in the second chukka with a touch, but the video umpire ruled they had missed it and the deadlock remained 2-2 at the half time break.

In the third quarter South Africa were back at it and moved back into the lead through Matt Guise-Brown. His initial pc was charged down, but the rebound fell to him, and he finished superbly for his third of the tournament. South Africa looked comfortable in the lead but as soon as they had received a green card Canada levelled with a moment of quick thinking from Boothroyd deflecting past Pieterse. The humidity was also proving to be really tough after the early morning rainstorm as the third quarter came to an end.

A pretty sluggish final quarter offered Canada a chance to go ahead with a penalty corner with 7 minutes remaining on the clock. But they fired the shot narrowly wide of Pieterse’s goal. But South Africa thought they had won it with 2 minutes remaining on the clock Sam Mvimbi produced a moment of sensational quality to produce South Africa’s 16th goal of the tournament, their most of any campaign. 

But Canada surged forward, and Garcia slid in to finish a cross to end the game 4-4 and share the points. A wonderful entertaining end to the tournament for both teams.

The South African Hockey Men have become everyone’s second team in Tokyo with their full courage approach to the game. They have stood up and challenged the best in the world with courage and flair in the tournament. They brought that same game plan to the Germany match playing against the 5th best team in the world and pulling off a sensational victory. This is the kind of victory that could inspire other participants in Tokyo. It was sensational and the South Africans got the result their tournament has deserved.

Germany got the games opening goal with a variation that was eventually prodded home by a diving Timm Herzbruch. South Africa showed that determination and fight that they have seen them become the neutrals team of the tournament. The pulled level with their first penalty corner of the game as Matt Guise-Brown got his second of the tournament with a low, strong drive. That parity wouldn’t remain for long and South Africa’s next circle penetration created another goal with vice-captain Keenan Horne diving onto the ball and finishing superbly to give the African Champions the lead.

Although it was a lead they would hold until the end of the first quarter, the European runners up would not lie down and back down. They fought back with two goals in the second chukka to lead at half time 3-2. Constantin Schaib got the equaliser through a field goal, picking up a rebound, before Lukas Windfeder got the goal from a penalty corner. Although Tobias Hauke would receive a yellow card just before half time, the South Africans weren’t able to capitalise on it.

As the heat made things more difficult the South Africans defended with tremendous heart in the third quarter denying a number of German opportunities before springing the perfect counterattack with Nic Spooner bursting through the middle and finishing superbly into the bottom left corner. 3-3 into the final quarter!

There was almost a surreal feeling in the final quarter as Germany allowed South Africa into the circle, Cassiem crossed the ball which took a massive deflection and Cassiem was awarded the goal! The south Africans took the lead 4-3! 12 minutes remained.

South Africa created a chance for Bili Ntuli, but he fired his shot wide. 10 minutes remained. Germany would have a penalty corner with a perfect variation, but Tim Drummond would save on the post. 8 minutes remained. Another circle penetration and more stellar work in defence. 6 minutes remained. A massive opportunity for South Africa as Kok fed Ntuli but just side. 5 minutes remained.

Germany withdrew their keeper to have an extra out field player. 4 minutes remained. South Africa denying another circle penetration. 3 minutes remained. South Africa tried to counter but Germany launched straight back at the South Africans, but they fired wide. 2 minutes remained. Germany won the penalty corner through a trip by Dlungwana, but it was superbly blocked by Guise-Brown. 1 minute remains! South Africa would hold firm and secure a superb and historic a sensational victory

The South African and Belgian Hockey men came to battle at Oi Hockey Stadium on Tuesday evening with very different experiences of the tournament so far. The Belgians had defeated Germany and Netherlands already, while the South Africans had tasted two defeats so far, despite contesting manfully.

The African champions could not have wished for a worse start as just four minutes in the World Champions struck first. The South Africans showed heart though and Dayaan Cassiem scored a sensational solo goal to pull things level. Showing no lingering impact of missing the chance against the Dutch. The next ten minutes though were a display of efficient and clinical hockey from the best team in the world.

Hendrickx, Briels, van Doren and Dohmen with a second turned the knife into the chest of the South Africans with ruthless slugging out to emerge at the end of the first quarter with a 5-1 lead. You may have been forgiven if you thought the game would then turn into a rugby score, but the credit must be given to the South Africans who chose to stare the mighty Belgium in the face and keep plugging and continue to confront their much-fancied opposition.

Belgian got the opening goal of the second quarter before Mustapha Cassiem pulled one back with a delightful tomahawk passed the worlds best keeper Vanasche. As the South Africans tried to gain a foothole in the game Gougnard added a 7th for Belgium, but just before half time Bili Ntuli made it 2-2 for the quarter. 7-3 at the half time break.

The third quarter saw Dayaan Cassiem cement his name as one of the most sought-after talents in world hockey with another wonderfully taken goal. Club sides around the world would have taken note of that ability and targeting a summer signing of our hitman.

Understandably in the Tokyo heat the final chukka failed to match up with the quality of the opening three as the frenetic pace reached its conclusion and the game finished off with a goalless quarter.

South Africa now head into the next game against Germany with belief they can cause an upset, but with determination to make the country proud.

Just over 24 hours after both teams opened their Tokyo campaigns with defeats the Dutch and South African Men were back in action at Oi Hockey Stadium. The South Africans would be up against it as their head-to-head record was not great, with a combined 24-3 score from the previous four meetings. The South Africans were critical of their start against Great Britain yesterday but their could be none of that today as the Team Mzansi men came out firing.

Mustapha Cassiem created a pocket of space off the shoulder of his defender and from a marginal angle fired into the side of the goal. The Cassiem family, along with the rest of the South African hockey community, had another reason to cheer not long after as Dayaan Cassiem was on hand to finish after unselfish work by Bili Ntuli. The South Africans were 2-0 up and fully deserving of it.

2 became three with a sensational strike into the roof of the net after Nic Spooner’s shot was saved and Tevin Kok picked up the loose ball. It was a sublime finish and the Dutch were stunned. But they aren’t European champions for nothing and slowly started working their way back into the game.

They made their first dent into the lead with a thunderbolt strike from Mirco Pruijser giving Rassie Pieterse no chance, although he was having another fine game in goals denying 8 penalty corners in the match. The second came from a goal mouth scramble and when South Africa failed to clear Thijs van Dam bundled home the ball. That the goal game less than a minute after a yellow card would have frustrated the management team of the South Africans.

Netherlands were awarded a penalty stroke early in the second half but a Jeroen Hertzberger effort was closer to troubling ground staff than Pieterse. The Dutch would find their equaliser though through Thierry Brinkman through a well worked field goal and would finally take the lead through another penalty stroke. This time Mink van der Weerden made no mistake.

As South Africa surged forward looking for an equaliser they left gaps at the back and Mirco Pruijser was at home to finish superbly. It was the final nail in the coffin of a pulsating test match that made you proud, even if disappointed too.

The SA Men next take on the World Champions Belgium in their next group game on Tuesday.

It had been 9 years since a South African hockey side stepped foot onto an Olympic pitch. But that sense of wonder was quickly given a stark return to reality as Sam Ward had opened the scoring with only two minutes on the clock.

The South Africans though fought right back and pulled level through a sublime finish by Matthew Guise-Brown. Although England were dominating the possession, South Africa did grow into the game and looked threatening on the counter-attack with several aerials causing trouble amongst the GB defence, though the side couldn’t conjure another shot on goal in the first half.

In a fantastically fought first half neither side could establish dominance and the teams finished the first half 1-1, with the South Africans answering all questions asked by the favourites.

That needed to continue in the second half but following the same pattern as the first half and an early goal by Liam Ansell found Great Britain back in the lead. It was a lead they would never relinquish but only add to it later on when a Waller strike was diverted in to make it 3-1.

Rassie Pieterse was called into action on a number of occasions but was able to keep it competitive while the yellow cards were disrupting the teams opportunities.

In truth the team had set up with a well structured game plan and had some opportunities, but Great Britain were able to capitalise on their higher ranking and take the three points. For the SA Men its back in action tomorrow against Netherlands, who themselves want to overcome the defeat to Belgium this morning!

The news of the passing of Richard Dolley came as a shock to so many of us. Even realizing that Richard struggled with his health over the last few weeks none of us expected that the call from up yonder would come for Richard, a husband, father, brother, uncle, family member, friend to many and one of us in the South African hockey community. Some of us that has walked through the proverbial minefield of South African sport with Richard will always vouch for his dedication and his believe in the principles of non-racial sport, as espoused by SACOS. Richard, although reluctant as times, understood that sport had to move along with the politics of the time. This never allowed him to be less critical of matters, when wrongs, were committed, and insisted that redress had to happen. Richard was not complicated as so many wanted to believe, he always had the interest of sport at heart.  

Further, he was never found wanting to be a mere spectator from the sidelines. He rolled up his sleeves and got involved. Always seeking to be part of a solution or solutions. For this we respected him even more. He served hockey with distinction at levels ranging from schools, club, provincial and national in capacities that included coaching and selection panels. I was reminded that when he coached the S A u/21 men’s hockey team to Zimbabwe and the mode of transport was a local kombi taxi. Unfortunately, the taxi ran out of fuel some distance from the pitch. The driver wanted the team management to pay for the trip so that he could go to a service station to buy fuel, return and the trip could continue. Richard instructed the team to push the kombi to the service station. What is never mentioned in this story is that Richard, the Coach, and Wendell Domingo, the Manager, remained in the taxi whilst it was pushed. That was the day hockey stopped being a team sport.

 Richard had an outstanding playing career in hockey, cricket and football. I must confess that the football part I did not know previously. I am glad the football part did not last an exceedingly long time after his tertiary days because hockey and cricket would not have enjoyed so much of his time and dedication. His performance records are preserved to bear testimony of his talents. His passion for sport was the very grit of the of the Dolley family DNA. It is borne out by his offspring.

Richard was politically astute and tried his hand at a local level. The political, social and civil issues he stood for in those early years were way beyond those of his political partners. One of his favorite comments to me when trying to understand the local politics was, particularly in the provision of services for the people, I told them these things many years ago. Richard has left an indelible imprint on the lives of many people. The respect he has gained throughout his sporting career as well as in his career as a teacher and leader of the profession knew no bounds.

The one uncompleted task Richard has set himself to achieve, was his ambition to record and publish the history of non-establishment hockey from the beginning up to the unity processes in South African Sport. We could never find the finances for this project. I hope that somebody will soon take on this project and see it to completion.

Richard, today we salute your memory and trust that your legacy will live for a long time. My life has been enriched by knowing you. Your commitment and service to life has been a beacon of honesty and trust. Our condolences are with Bernie, Corbyn and Brad, his siblings Gerald, Sandra, Rodney, Trevor and Gary. Be assured, Richard has paid his dues and leaves us with no debt, for he has done more than many wished they could. GOD Bless.

Charles K  Smith

The South African Hockey Community were saddened last week by the passing of the legendary Don "Bags" Perry. Don was an integral member of the South African Hockey family, particularly in Kwazulu Natal where he served in various different roles and achieved tremendous success. 

In 1969 Bags got called up to the National team as an injury replacement but was not utilised and ultimately never got to play for the country. He was however a manager for the national team, convenor of selection and arguably the most successful provincial coaches in South African history. He was a gifted player but an incredible coach and people manager. Leaving a wake of inspiration wherever he went. 

Don was integral in setting up hockey lunches and the Protea dinners where former players / coaches and managers got together to reflect on their respective journeys. Don made South Africa a better place and more importantly made the hockey world a better place. We will all miss him! 

Gordon Pentecost paid tribute to his friend Don Perry:

"It is with a heavy heart that I advise you of the passing of Don (Bags) Perry in the early hours of this morning.

As you are well aware, Don’s health had deteriorated recently, and he collapsed over the weekend. Fortunately, an ambulance was called, and he was admitted to Hilton Lifestyle hospital.  Unfortunately, he was suffering from organ failure but passed away peacefully. 

Don’s contribution to South African Hockey and in particular Natal Hockey was immense. He played for Natal for many years and then after his retirement took on the role as President of Natal Hockey (prior to the breaking away of Midlands), which position he served with distinction.

He coached the Natal Men’s team to a multitude of Interprovincial titles and has without doubt been the most successful Natal Coach. After his retirement as Coach, he took on the mantel of Convenor of the South African Men’s Hockey Selection Panel. However, it is not what he achieved which made Don stand out as a person.

Hockey was his life and he kept contact with hockey players old and young- frequently meeting them for lunches and breakfasts to reminisce over the old times.  In addition, he set up lunches both in Durban and in Pietermaritzburg where hockey players could meet and remember the old times.  It is this brotherhood of hockey players he established that he will always be remembered for.

I know each and every one of you has a memory of Don which you will cherish and just spend a minute thinking of Don, of a man we all loved and respected. To each and every one of you, stay safe and take care."

The South African Hockey Men and the South African U21 Men ramped up their preparations for their respective tournaments by taking on each other in the CTM Showdown at Northwest University in Potchefstroom. The SA Hockey Men are preparing for the Olympics in Tokyo, having suffered in preparation due to the COVID Pandemic, while the U21 Men are preparing for the African Junior World Cup Qualifier in Namibia, after it was originally postponed.

With both teams having something to prepare towards, it was a joyful moment when CTM chose to back a series between the two and the CTM Showdown was launched. The SA Men were victorious in all four games, which were live streamed on the SA Hockey Association Facebook page. Winning 4-1, 6-1, 7-3 and 4-3 in the final game.

Head coach of the SA Hockey Men was glowing in his praise of CTM.

“The CTM Showdown was a really valuable experience for us as a senior national team. Four high quality games with a great competitive spirit, and lots of talent on the field for both teams.

We really enjoyed competing against the U21s and it was encouraging to see the young prospects that will be coming through to senior level in coming years.”

While his counterpart for the week, and Assistant coach for Tokyo, Sihle Ntuli was also incredibly appreciative:

“It was a wonderfully productive week and a fantastic exercise for us. Our biggest concerns were trying to match the mental and physical intensity through the games. We are pleased we got there later on in the week after a bit of a slow start. We had to rotate a lot to give more opportunities and that impacted on our momentum. Our set piece was particularly pleasing throughout the week.

WE would like to thank CTM for the opportunity. There were a bunch of players who have taken the opportunity with both hands and would put their names in the hat for Namibia.”

Next up for the South African Men is the Tokyo Olympics starting on the 24 July with a game against Great Britain in Pool B. For the U21 Men its off to Windhoek in August for the Junior Africa Cup looking to secure a spot in India for the Junior World Cup later this year.

The Second of Four matches in the CTM Showdown at North West University took place on Thursday afternoon. Having won the first game 4-1, the SA Hockey Men were looking to create more connections and take advantage of more turf time together.

Game two produced moments of quality that would please Garreth Ewing and his management team, but also areas to be work on over the next period of time together. The team will want to improve on the amount of chances given up to the Under 21s.

One thing that was particularly pleasing was the execution at penalty corner time. With Austin Smith not yet being used, Matthew Guise-Brown showed his power and ability superbly as the South African hot-shot scored a hat-trick of penalty corners.

Another aspect that was pleasing was the off the ball running and combination play of Dayaan Cassiem, Bili Ntuli, Keenan Horne and Tevin Kok. With South Africa likely to play with backs against the wall in Tokyo, space creation will be integral for the attacking players, who will have limited opportunities.

For the U21’s the fourth quarter gave them a blue print of what they need to do in the coming games and an indication of the approach they will look towards in Namibia. The finish of Trevor de Lora was particularly pleasing as the U21’s benefitted from exploiting the right hand side of the attack.

The two teams line up for the third match on Saturday at 16:00 and you can watch this live on the SA Hockey Association Facebook page.