Lilian du Plessis was the star of the show for SuperGroup South Africa as they confirmed their title as champions of the African Hockey Road to Tokyo 2020. The South African striker netted a hat-trick including the goal of the tournament with a top corner off the crossbar strike.

Du Plessis opened the scoring from a penalty corner before Robyn Johnson pounced on a rebound to make it 2-0. Before the end of the first quarter Du Plessis had made it 3 with a low and wide penalty corner. The score remained the same until the break with the Ghanaians seeing a lot of possession but failing to create too many opportunities.

The third quarter saw the hosts please the crowd once again as Sylvia van Jaarsveldt got herself on the scoresheet with a splendid deflection. She was playing with a bloody nose after getting a solid strike so she will be pleased with the strike. Then came the goal of the game when Du Plessis surged into the D before firing in a tomahawk strike into the roof of the net. Lisa-Marie Deetlefs added the gloss to the score line with the final strike and confirmation that South Africa had earned the African Hockey spot at the Tokyo Olympics.

Zimbabwe secured the bronze medal with a fantastic 3-2 win over their Southern African neighbours Namibia. Needing to win to secure the third-place medal, Zimbabwe surged to a 3-0 lead thanks to Sophie McDonald and a brace from Nicola Watson. Although they seemed destined for the victory the Namibians produced their best quarter of the tournament to set up a bumper fightback. Tarmarie Myburgh and Phea Gerber pulled it back but the Zimbabweans held on for the victory.

Lilian du Plessis was named the top goalscorer of the tournament while Nicola Watson and Ongi Mali shared the top player award. Jordyne Cripstone and Cristina Onyango shared the goalkeeper of the tournament award.

African Hockey Road to Tokyo 2020 Results – 18 August 2019

Namibia 2-3 Zimbabwe
South Africa 6-0 Ghana

African Hockey Road to Tokyo 2020 Final Positions

  1. South Africa
  2. Ghana
  3. Zimbabwe
  4. Kenya
  5. Namibia

Photos - Eunice Visagie

The SuperGroup South African squad has been announced for the 2019 African Hockey Road to Tokyo Event in Stellenbosch from the 12-18 August 2019. The six-times defending African Champions will be looking to make it sweet 7 against six other African nations and claim the title as the best hockey nation in the continent.

The South African squad selected includes the five debutants that earned their first caps against Namibia in the test series before the FIH Hockey Series Final and has a very similar feel to the team that went to Spain.

A squad of 20 is being announced, which will be trimmed down to 18 for the final event. Sylvia van Jaarsveldt earns a recall having last represented South Africa in Egypt in 2017, while Onthathile Zulu will be in line to earn her first cap.

“WE have kept a similar squad as we are looking on building on the processes we put in place for Spain. There is a continued good mix of youth and experience which will allow the younger players to develop. We are determined to go out there and defend our crown on home soil!” shared Robin van Ginkel, the Head Coach of the SuperGroup SA team

The SuperGroup South African side are in Group A alongside Kenya and Nigeria. The top two teams in the group will progress to the semi-finals and line up against either Namibia, Ghana, Zimbabwe or Uganda.

South African Women’s Hockey Squad






Erin Hunter (captain)

Southern Gauteng



Phumi Mbande (Vice-captain) (GK)

Northern Blues



Quanita Bobbs

Western Province



Kara Botes

Southern Gauteng



Dirkie Chamberlain

North West



Lisa Deetlefs

Southern Gauteng



Lilian du Plessis

Southern Gauteng



Celia Evans

Northern Blues



Tegan Fourie

KZN Raiders



Tarryn Glasby

Western Province



Robyn Johnson

Southern Gauteng



Marizen Marais

Northern Blues



Mmathshepo Modipane (GK)

Southern Gauteng



Kristen Paton

Southern Gauteng



Hannah Pearce

SA U21



Sylvia van Jaarsveldt

Southern Gauteng



Izelle Verster

Northern Blues



Nomnikelo Veto

SA U21



Bianca Wood

SA U21



Onthatile Zulu

Northern Blues


*Caps are per the FIH TMS system, correct as at 26 July 2019, Province is most recent province represented

Fixtures – African Hockey Road to Tokyo Event

12 August – SuperGroup SA vs. Nigeria
13 August – SuperGroup SA vs. Kenya
17 August – Semi-Finals
18 August - Finals


Undoubtedly the worst game in sports tournaments is the third-place playoff. Less than 24 hours after tasting defeat in the semi-finals, Italy and Supergroup South Africa had to take to the field to decide the destination of the bronze medal at the FIH Hockey Series Final in Valencia. With the South Africans having played the later and more mentally exhausting semi-final there was always going to be a tough encounter.

With vengeance in their mind having lost the group stage meeting Italy emerged from the anthems with the greater fire in their bellies but the South Africans were resolute and impenetrable at the back. The South Africans then had most of the possession and created the most dangerous opportunities in the second quarter but were unable to breach the Italian defence.

Throughout the tournament the Supergroup South Africans consistently played their best hockey in the third quarter, but the exertion of physical and mental energy less than 24 hours ago started taking its toll. A series of misplaced passes were capitalized on the by the Italians and after winning a penalty corner, Italian striker Guiliana Ruggieri saw her slap deflected off Erin Hunter and through Phumi Mbande.

For the South Africans it was the kind of gut punch that leaves you winded and needing a good couple of minutes to get out the other side. While busy grappling with the metaphorically breath shortage the Italians landed two more punches through Lara Oviedo and Eugenia Bianchi.

Having received fantastic support from home, including from South Africa’s minister of sport Nathi Mthethwa, the team were determined to give their fans, something to celebrate and that moment came when Tarryn Glasby scrambled the ball home to earn a consolation for the reigning African Champions.

While there may be disappointment in the ultimate fourth place finish, the South Africans will be proud of the progress they have made and the positive signs for the future. Next on the agenda is the African Cup in Stellenbosch.

South Africa 1 (Glasby 52’)
Italy 3 (Ruggieri 34’, Oviedo 38’ & Bianchi 38’)

Pictures - FHCV

Little under a year ago the South African women’s hockey side took on Spain at the FIH Hockey World Cup and tasted a very one-sided defeat. Spain went on to finish third at the World Cup. Throw in the fact that the Spanish side were the hosts of the FIH Hockey Series Final, as well as the program the national team are involved in, and the challenge that awaited the South Africans was nothing short of massive.

But Supergroup South Africa have shown some remarkable character and resilience under the tutelage of Robin van Ginkel. Having earned their spot in the final four through finishing top of pool B South Africa were eager to take the game to the hosts. The hosts, the Red Sticks, however were in fantastic form and raised the tempo of the game from the start.  

Although Spain had the better opening quarter, the South Africans will be pleased with how they limited the amount of danger, consistently stopping the Red Sticks from getting a shot on target despite some heavy territorial advantage. Erin Hunter was playing in a very captain’s role by leading from the front.

Supergroup South Africa started to really challenge the Spaniards and competed gainfully for the ball, showing the kind of heart that has historically been associated with South Africans. They fashioned a few half chances that were always difficult to convert but this game was a far cry from the previous meeting between the two.

As the clock ticked down towards the end of the game it was the home fans that would get to celebrate as a shot from Julia Pons saved by Phumi Mbande, but on the rebound Begona Garcia fired home. There was little Mbande could have done having also made two other great saves in the quarter already.

The South Africans refused to give up and surged up the field, but the Spanish defence was too well organized and resolute and ultimately enough to take Spain through to the final and a place in the Olympic Qualifying Matches in October / November.

For South Africa the immediate focus is the third-place playoff, and the ranking points that come with that, tomorrow against Italy at 16:45. The eyes will then shift towards the African Cup in Stellenbosch in August and possibly earning a place in the Olympic Qualifying matches on world rankings.

Although they ultimately tasted defeat today, there was only moments to be proud of. The team gave a superb effort and there are clear signs that this team is developing under the new set up. The hearts will be sore tonight, but at a time when the heart of South African sports stars has been questioned, the SA Women’s Hockey team have at least answered that question emphatically.

South Africa 0
Spain 1 (
Garcia 53’)

Photos - FHCV

The Supergroup South African ladies side gave themselves the front foot in securing top spot in Pool B at the FIH Hockey Series Final with a dominant 7-0 win against Thailand on Saturday morning. With Wales starting the day tie on points with the South Africans, they would have to wait on the result of the later game to know their fate but went about doing everything they could to put all the pressure back on the Europeans.

Particularly pleasing for Robin van Ginkel and Inky Zondi would be the way the experienced players have stepped up into on field leaders in this tournament. This dynamic has allowed the younger and newer players like Nomnikelo Veto and Bianca Wood to develop at a quicker pace, putting South Africa in a better position going forward.

Dirkie Chamberlain has rediscovered form that allayed fears when Pietie Coetzee retired, while Lilian du Plessis looks more in the mood than ever and offers a fantastic threat from the penalty corner. With Quanita Bobbs also looking as good as she has ever looked in a South African kit, the job for Erin Hunter gets easier as players raise each other’s games.

Today it was Thailand that were on the receiving end of a team playing at a fantastic pace and with ruthless switches form defence to attack. In total Supergroup South Africa recorded 20 shots at goal in the 60 minutes with a whopping 42 circle entries, limiting Thailand to just 3. 

After a slow opening quarter where Lilian du Plessis fired in the solitary goal from penalty corner, the intensity was raised another level and South Africa got a second and a third in the second quarter to make it 3-0 at the interval. Nomnikelo Veto has relished the opportunity and is undoubtedly doing her best to make it count and scored South Africa’s second before Dirkie Chamberlain showed fantastic composure to make it 3-0.

Once again South Africa produced their best hockey of the game in the third quarter where they looked like scoring with every attack. Veto set up Chamberlain for the fourth before a penalty stroke was awarded to South Africa and Du Plessis made it five despite keeper Narueangram getting a glove onto the shot. Quanita Bobbs then got the goal her performance deserved after re-joining from an interesting green card suspension.

Although Supergroup South Africa backed off on the pace in the final quarter they were still creating some good chances and will probably feel they should have taken one or two more there. They did however add the shine to the result with the 7th when Lisa Deetlefs finished when her penalty corner slap was diverted in by Tonghkam.

Looking back at the group stage the South Africans will be very pleased with how they have started the tournament. They have done what they have had to, but the focus will now ratchet up a gear as they head to the knock out matches and attempt to set a foot firmly on the Road to Tokyo.

South Africa 7 (Du Plessis 3’ & 37’, Veto 23’, Chamberlain 29’ & 33’ & Deetlefs 60’)
Thailand 0

With Italy defeating Wales in the later game, South Africa have confirmed their spot at the top of Pool B and they will progress directly to the Semi-Final stage. They will play the winner of the crossover game between Wales and whoever finishes second in Pool A. South Africa’s semi-final will be at 19:00 on Wednesday night and will be live streamed on FIH.Live

Pictures  – FHCV

After their opening stalemate the South Africans were looking to produce a display that laid down a marker in the FIH Hockey Series Final in Valencia. To do that they would play Italy, a team that finished ahead of them at the 2018 FIH Hockey World Cup.

Celia Evans was celebrating her 150th cap for the country. This would serve as a powerful motivator for the Supergroup South African side as a little over a year ago the 2016 Player of the Year tore her knee ligaments and had to endure the rehab and recovery to come back to the top. If ever there was a player who embodied the team motto, shared by Supergroup CEO Peter Mountford, Make It Count, you would find it hard pressed to name anyone other than Celia.

Having started the opening game against Wales as tentative as a learner driver on their first class, there was no such thought tonight as they worked about Making it Count against a very good Italian side. The pace and focussed aggression, hallmarks of Robin van Ginkel’s sides, was incredibly pleasing and although the game was even in the opening half the was a sense of inevitability when South Africa broke the deadlock on the verge of the break.

Bianca Wood has risen through the ranks for South Africa, she has starred for the SA U18’s and competed in the Youth Olympic games. Speaking on Rayder Media’s Hockey 24 Seven podcast recently she spoke of dreaming of playing for the country since she was 5 years old. Given the opportunity now at the tender age of 19, the youngest in the team, she is determined to make it count. She did in the 30th minute when a superb through ball from Lisa Deetlefs picked her up in the D, she turned inside her defender and fired into the top left corner with a finish that Pietie Coetzee would have been proud of. Bianca Wood. Remember the name.

The perfect time can be before a break as it can knock the wind out your opponents sails but also give you that little extra spark into the next phase of the game. And once again this was the quarter that Supergroup South Africa dominated the most. That domination produced 6 circle entries to just 1 for the Italians, but more importantly the second goal for South Africa.

 One of the least experienced opened the scoring for South Africa but it was the other end of the experience cauldron that made it 2-0. Kristen Paton superbly intercepted a lofted through ball just in the SA half, she broke up through the middle laying off to Tarryn Glasby who waited and the weighted the perfect pass through to Dirkie Chamberlain. Having scored more than 100 International goals already, Chamberlain was never going to miss and made it count with a superb finish.

Italy did produce a late fight back with a superb final quarter which saw them win five penalty corners and more shots at goal than in the first three quarters combined. Italy pulled one back with 9 minutes remaining through a well worked penalty corner variation finished by Eugenia Bianchi. Italy continued to surge forward after that, but the South Africans were fantastic and resolute in defence and held on to a fantastic victory.

Next up South Africa take on Thailand on Saturday at 11:00. With Wales and Italy only playing afterwards South Africa will look to win convincingly to steer ourselves straight into the semi-finals on Wednesday.

Supergroup South Africa 2 (Wood 30’ & Chamberlain 42’)
Italy 1 (Bianchi 52’)

Pictures - FHCV and Hockey 24 Seven

The South African women started their FIH Hockey Series Final with a stutter as they drew 2-2 with Wales in their opening pool game. The South Africans, featuring four new caps, started the game somewhat apprehensively, while the Welsh, who can’t qualify for the Olympics due to England being selected as Great Britain’s qualifying applicant, started a little more positively.

The first quarter was a typical opening quarter of a tournament as both teams were tentative in their approach and created few chances and circle entries. It was hardly surprising that the score was 0-0 at the end of the quarter.

The game exploded into life in the second quarter as Wales raised the tempo and won a penalty corner which Sian French unceremoniously slapped into the bottom left corner, leaving an unsighted Phumi Mbande with no chance. Supergroup South Africa were stunned and frustrated as they dominated the possession for the remainder of the half with little to show for their efforts.

What will please Robin van Ginkel and his coaching staff is the third quarter performance. Supergroup South Africa came out from the break with a renewed vigour and determination and after creating three penalty corners Lilian du Plessis fired in a superb drag flick to level the score. South Africa with the bit between the teeth pushed for the go-ahead goal which duly arrived later in the quarter. South Africa won another penalty corner and Lisa Deetlefs slap was brilliantly diverted in by Quanita Bobbs.

What will disappoint van Ginkel was the team not finishing off the victory from there as they allowed Wales back into the game in a dominant quarter for the Europeans. They levelled from a slip penalty corner variation and a Leah Wilkinson slap.

That was the last of the goal scoring as both teams repelled any last chances for their oppositions and ultimately settled for one point in their Pool B opener, sharing second spot behind Italy who beat Thailand 7-0 in the other pool game.

South Africa next take on the Italians tomorrow night at 19:00 with the game streamed live on FIH.Live.

South Africa 2 (du Plessis 33’ & Bobbs 41’)
Wales 2 (French 19’ & Wilkinson 49’)


No sooner had the dust settled on the FIH Hockey Series Finals in India than South African hockey eyes switched to Spain for the Valencia based Hockey Series Final. The tournament is a Road to Tokyo Olympic Qualifying event, where the top 2 teams progress to the Olympic Qualifying Matches later this year.

For South Africa’s Hockey Women, there is the added incentive that SASCOC will be using the event as a measure on the competitiveness of the side for inclusion in the Tokyo Olympics, with the goal of a top 2 finish to keep Olympic dreams alive.

Before they headed off to Spain, the team were given a fantastic send off by Supergroup at Bryanston Country Club, where Supergroup CEO Peter Mountford urged the team to take the opportunity and “Make it Count!” This has quickly become a mantra for the team ahead of the tournament with #MakeItCount featuring prominently in the individual’s social media profiles.

Supergroup South Africa have been in Spain for almost a week preparing for the tournament that starts tomorrow. It’s the first major tournament for Robin van Ginkel as head coach as well as the first for the team under the leadership of Erin Hunter. The beginning of the process offers exciting opportunity and the likes of Bianca Woods, Hannah Pearce, Nomnikelo Veto and Robyn Johnson will look to take full opportunity after recently making their debuts.

South Africa will open their tournament with a game against Wales today at 17:00. They will then take on Italy at 19:00 tomorrow before ending off the group stage against Thailand on Saturday at 11:00. The team that finishes first in the pool will progress straight to the semi-finals while 2nd and 3rd will move to the Quarter Final stage.

The Italians will prove a tough encounter after their impressive showing at the World Cup last year where they made it to the crossover stage. Roberta Carta is a fantastic coach who oversaw victories over China and Korea at the World cup and with Chiara Tiddi they have superb experience in the camp as they look to qualify for the Olympic Games for the first time.

Wales earned their place in this tournament by finishing third at the FIH Open Series in Lithuania. Although they cannot qualify for the Olympic Games due to England being the nominated country Great Britain’s Olympic Qualification pathway, the ranking points up for grabs will be enough motivation for the Welsh squad.

The last team in the South African pool are Thailand who finished second at the FIH Open Series in Malaysia. Kornkanok Sanpoung showed her goalscoring prowess in that competition and will be pivotal if Bae Young Wook’s team are to cause an upset in Spain.

In the other pool the hosts Spain are joined by Canada, coached Giles Bonnet the ex-South African coach, Belarus and fellow African side Namibia.

You can stream all the games at FIH Live. The links for each game in the group stage is below:

FIH Hockey Series Finals – South African Fixtures

19 June - Supergroup SA vs. Wales –
20 June - Supergroup SA vs. Italy -
22 June - Supergroup SA vs. Thailand -
24 June – Crossovers
26 June – Semi-Finals
27 June – Final

Supergroup South Africa Squad

Erin Hunter (captain), Phumi Mbande (Vice-captain) (GK), Stephanie Baxter, Quanita Bobbs, Kara Botes, Dirkie Chamberlain, Lisa Deetlefs, Lilian du Plessis, Celia Evans, Tarryn Glasby, Robyn Johnson, Marizen Marais, Mmathshepo Modipane (GK), Kristen Paton, Hannah Pearce, Izelle Verster, Nomnikelo Veto, Bianca Wood

Pictures - Hockey 24 Seven / Rayder Media

(9 May 1931 - 8 June 2019)

Audrey, widow of Stan and beloved mother of Mark, Kerry and Craig, passed away in hospital on 8 June 2019. She never recovered fully from a hip replacement procedure in June of 2018 and although she remained fiercely determined, she unfortunately lost much of her independence in the last year of her life.

She was born in Pietermaritzburg and attended Pietermaritzburg Girls’ High School. As a schoolgirl she displayed an amazing natural hockey talent. After matriculating, Audrey soon represented Pietermaritzburg and the Natal Women’s teams as she was regarded as an outstanding young player. She captained these teams from 1957 until she retired. In her early twenties she was an automatic selection to the National Team, and represented South Africa in 1953, 1954, 1956, 1959, and 1963. (She was unavailable for selection in 1961.) In 1959 and 1963 Audrey’s leadership skills were recognised and she was named as Captain of the South African Women’s Hockey Team. She announced her retirement at the end of the 1963 season, at the pinnacle of her success.  She had just led South Africa to a famous 3-1 victory over England, in front of 65,000 spectators at the Wembley Soccer Stadium, in London; this was indeed the highlight of her career.

Not only was Audrey an excellent hockey player, who incidentally never stopped working at her skills, but she was respected as a great human being and was popular both on and off the field. She was admired, for her outstanding achievements and excellent qualities, by all who knew her.

Audrey was a tireless administrator, during her playing years and after her retirement as a player. She was a Provincial and National Selector from 1965 until 1975. In 1970 she held the position of Manager of the South African Women’s Team.

Her sense of fun and her humour, at all times, were unrivalled. She was a beautiful and loving friend. We were privileged to have her in our lives, and as her friends and members of the hockey fraternity, we join together to mourn the loss of a great friend. Rest in peace, Auds.

Shelagh Bowness

(Life-time friend and team mate: Natal: 1958-1974; South Africa: 1969, 1971, 1973, 1974 (Capt); National Umpire and Selector)

Its objectives achieved from the series for SuperGroup South Africa as they sealed a series whitewash with their best performance of the three games in a dominant 8-0 victory. Coach Robin van Ginkel had asked for more ruthlessness to the attack and a better conversion rate of the penalty corners and he got exactly that.

After a tentative opening quarter, in which South Africa for the third game in a row took a 1-0 lead into the break, thanks this time to Kara Botes from a PC, the South Africans continued to grind through the gears and in bits and pieces started to produce the moments of play that will make Robin, Inky and the management team extremely happy.

The game also saw Tegan Fourie, a non-travelling reserve for the FIH Open Series Finals, given her first test cap. Tegan is an International for SPAR South Africa in the indoor and will play for them later this week, but there was a great sense of excitement in seeing her in action for the first time for the national team.

Something that will impress the management team greatly was that the 8 goals scored were from 7 different goal scorers, including Nicky Veto and Izelle Verster getting their first goals for the country, alongside Quanita Bobbs, Lisa Deetlifs, Celia Evans, Izelle Verster and Dirkie Chamberlain. But for a few good saves from Petro Stoffberg and the post twice denying the South Africans it may have been an even bigger scoreline.  

Another thing that will make Robin and his team quite happy is the way the experienced players like Deetlefs and Bobbs have blended so well with the new crop making their debuts.

Five new caps, 3 Clean Sheets and 11 unanswered goals will give the team a good positive feeling when they leave for Spain in two weeks. They will be looking for more of the same as they take on Thailand, Italy and Wales in Pool B at the FIH Hockey Series Finals from the 19-27 June 2019.

SuperGroup South Africa vs. Namibia Series Results

Test 1 – SA 1-0 NAM
Test 2 – SA 2-0 NAM
Test 3 – SA 8-0 NAM

Photo – Robert Swanepoel / Run Ride Dive – Not for reuse