Photo: Quanita Bobbs in action, courtesy Anton Geyser/Saspa

The South African Women’s hockey team were always going to face a tough encounter as they opened their 2018 Commonwealth Games against the much fancied England. There was a cautious optimism in the South African fan base as the ladies have shown glimpses of truly world-class performance in the past, and the team was eager to make that fan base proud!

South Africa started on the back foot but a great triple save by Phumelela Mbande kept England out before a good opportunity was just out of reach for the diminutive Stephanie Baxter from a Dirkie Chamberlain cross.

The first goal of the game did arrive in the first chukka and unfortunately, it was in the favour of England as Grace Balsdon rocketed a short corner into the back net with a venomous drive. Such was the velocity on the drive that the ball rebounded out of the D after it hit the board!

England then doubled their lead nine minutes later as Susannah Townsend squeezed a shot beyond Mbande after brilliant build-up play from Ellie Rayer and Alex Danson down the right. Although Mbande and later le Fleur were the busier goalkeepers, South Africa created some great chances but Maddie Hinch, the FIH Goalkeeper of the year for 2016 & 2017, was dominant to deny Jade Mayne, Sulette Damons the skipper and Dirkie Chamberlain. Keeping the game goalless.

Final Score
South Africa 0-2 England

Next Fixture
7 April – 11:32 – South Africa vs. Malaysia

(Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

The South African Men are a young side and were keen to gain experience and show a gritty performance in front of a large Gold Coast Crowd, in Clinton Panther’s 100th test cap. They were to meet a regular foe of the SA Hockey men in the game against Scotland. That foe would be their lack of cutting edge in front of goal.

The Scottish men were in glorious form and mood and raced out to a 3-0 lead in the first quarter incredibly through three field goals. Robert Hardwood and Alan Forsyth scored either side of the goal of the game by Kenneth Bain as he roofed the ball with an incredible back stick.

In the third quarter, South Africa finally fought back from the shell-shocked first quarter and Gareth Heyns, the former UJ captain, netted from a penalty corner before skipper Tim Drummond pulled us back to within a goal of the Scots.

But just as hope had emerged, it quickly vanished with Bain again netting from a field goal and made it 4-2 which it would remain until the end of the game. The men will be feeling frustrated not just by the result but the inability to deny goal scoring opportunities from open play, while also failing to create enough chances from their 18 circle penetrations.

Final Score
South Africa 2-4 Scotland

Next Fixture
7 April – 08:32 – South Africa vs. Australia

  • Golden Gate Gladiators and Namaqualand Daisies will be made up of the National u21 Men and Women’s squads
  • Both teams to be sponsored by Old Mutual iWYZE

The Premier Hockey League was designed to deliver the very best high performance event for South African Hockey. To this end 10 of the 12 playing squads (6 x Men and 6 x Women) will comprise the very best players in South Africa with the 2016 squads augmented by additional Marquee Players and a revised draft process taking place on 4th November in Johannesburg.

In line with SA Hockey’s high performance pipeline strategy the two remaining franchise teams, The Golden Gate Gladiators and The Namaqualand Daisies will be dedicated for the SA men’s and women’s u21 national squads respectively. 

Prior to the launch of #PHL16 last year, Marissa Langeni, the CEO of SAHA, stated that “If the u21 team experiment proves a success then we may make these age group national teams a permanent fixture in future PHLs”. With the success of their inclusion in the tournament and specifically the u21 Men’s success at the FIH Junior World Cup post #PHL16, the SA Hockey High Performance team agreed to make this a permanent part in u21 preparations for future international campaigns.

In even more exciting news for South African Hockey and particularly the u21 High Performance programme, Old Mutual iWYZE have signed on to sponsor both teams as an extension of their very successful iWYZE Hockey Nationals 2017 sponsorship of u13, u16 and u18 schools events for boys and girls.

“Hockey is one of the fastest growing sports in South Africa amongst both boys and girlssays iWYZE Head of Brand & Advertising, Presodhini Naicker. “iWYZE believes that the future of South Africa is dependent on the development of its youth. Through this sponsorship, we are given an opportunity to extend our support of schools hockey to the next really important developmental stage for young players, the national u21 programme. We are excited to be part of this great event and to further the development of South African youth who are also our future clients,” says Naicker.


Tyson Dlungwana, a member of the 2016 Gladiators and national u21 squad member said “It’s wonderful to be back in the Gladiators squad for #PHL17. Last year was an incredible opportunity for us as young players and I have no doubt that the new generation of u21 players joining us this year will gain enormously from the experience.” Included in the Men’s u21 squad is Western Cape schoolboy Dayaan Cassiem who has already represented the Men’s national team and proved during the recent FIH Hockey World League in Johannesburg that he is a global superstar in the making.

Exciting young talent Kriston Paton who has just returned from the African Cup with the National Women’s squad will again be representing the Daisies alongside 2016 Daisies’ veterans Sisipho Magwaza, Sadiswe Tabata, Tegan Fourie and Ongeziwe Mali.

#PHL17 will be broadcast live on SuperSport so please look out for the final match and broadcast schedules which will be published in the coming weeks.

The iWYZE Namaqualand Daisies

Kirsty Adams                                                             Coach: Rob van Ginkel
Monique Bartsch
Stephanie Botha
Frances Carstens
Ashleigh Datnow
Courtney du Preez
Tegan Fourie
Lizanne Jacobs
Mmamoagi Agi Kungoane
Charnè Maddoks
Sisipho Magwaza (gk)
Ongeziwe Mali
Kristen Paton
Hannah Pearce
Jamie Southgate
Sadisiwe Tabata
Nomnikelo Veto
Moya Smith (gk)
Simone Gouws
Casey Jane Botha

The iWYZE Golden Gate Gladiators


Muzzamil Sheik                                            Coach: Gareth Ewing

William Eveleigh

Andrew Hobson

Tyson Dlungwana

Courtney Hallé

Jared Cass

Jacki Mohlaba

Sam Mvimbi

Connor Beauchamp

Chris Makaba

Ross Campbell

Mark Chong

Matthew Roman

Luke Schooling

Che February

Spencer Botes

Dayaan Cassiem

Max Pike

Brad Sherwood

Laython Coombs


About iWYZE

iWYZE is the direct channel from Old Mutual providing car, home and life insurance. iWYZE car & home insurance is underwritten by Old Mutual Insure, a Licensed Financial Services Provider (FSP 12) The iWYZE Life policy is underwritten and issued by Old Mutual Life Assurance Company (South Africa) Limited (FSP 703)


For more information about iWYZE, go to:

The Premier Hockey League (PHL), the ground-breaking tournament in the South African Hockey that featured 200 of the best SA Hockey players last year, today can release the dates for the 2017 tournament. PHL is a proud partnership between SA Hockey, Sport and Recreation South Africa and Supersport. The tournament will once again feature the six Franchises that competed in the inaugural tournament last year. The Blyde River Bunters will look to defend the ladies crown, while the Maropeng Caveman will try and do the same in the men’s tournament.

The PHL will this year be played over three weekends rather than four with a bumper finals weekend from the 9th -12th December, featuring the final group games as well as the Semi-Finals and medal matches on Tuesday 12 December.

The tournament will kick start on Saturday 25th November with both Men’s and Ladies tournaments taking place simultaneously. Each team will play 5 group stage games. The top four teams in the log will progress to the semi-finals. The winning semi-finalists will progress to the finals of the men’s and Ladies competitions respectively.

Week 2 will be played on 2nd and 3rd of December with the second 10 matches of both tournaments before heading to the final weekend of 9-12th December.

“We are pleased to present the second edition of the Premier Hockey League together with our partner's Sport and Recreation South Africa and SuperSport. The PHL has become a much sought after event in our calendar for players and hockey fans alike.” Shared Marissa Langeni, CEO of the South African Hockey Association

All matches will be played at Randburg Astro, with the added excitement that all tickets will be free of charge. Fixtures and broadcast details to be communicated before the tournament begins. After seeing the incredible efforts of Supersport at the recently completed World League, you can bet it will be nothing short of incredible!

Tournament Dates

Weekend 1 – 25 to 26 November
Weekend 2 - 02 to 03 December
Weekend 3 – 09 to 10 December
Semi Finals – 11th December
Finals & Bronze Medal matches – 12 December

The South African national hockey sides head to the African Hockey Cup of Nations in two very different states. The SA Women’s side will go to Egypt as the favourites whose minds are already on their World Cup plans having secured qualification at the FIH World League Semi-Finals in Johannesburg.

The SA Hockey Men are in a new rebuilding phase after a disappointing finish at the FIH World League Semi-finals and a current vacancy in the team’s management staff.  A stand-in coach will be appointed for Egypt, where they will be tasked with qualifying for the 2018 FIH Hockey World Cup in India.

Regardless of the current position of both sides, the other carrot dangling at the African Cup of Nations is the rankings points, with both Men and Women looking to improve their current rankings of 15th and 13th respectively.

The SA Women’s side have announced their final squad of 18 ladies to do battle at the African Cup of Nations, sticking largely to the players that secured qualification to the World Cup.

There is an exciting recall to the squad for Olympian Dirkie Chamberlain who has just signed for Holcombe Hockey Club. Sylvia van Jaarsveldt, who was the joint top scorer at the Premier Hockey League, playing for the Madikwe Rangers, is also called up pointing towards Coach Sheldon Rostron’s desire to score more goals.  Izelle Verster and Erin Hunter both return to the national set up having missed out on the FIH World League Semi-Finals.

On the Men’s side, the selectors have called up a squad of 32 players that will be downsized to the required 18 when the coaching staff for the Cup of Nations is finalised. However SA Hockey were keen to announce the squad so that the players could plan accordingly.

Gowan Jones and Siya Nolutshunga join World League keepers Rassie Pieterse and Richard Curtis in the squad, while UJ captain Gareth Heyns and his team mate Tyson Dlungwana are also recalled. Indoor and Outdoor Hockey dual nationals Mo Mea and Robin Jones are called up after missing out on World League Selection to complete the defender line-up.

In the midfield, national skipper Tim Drummond is joined by World League team members in Ryan Julius, Owen Mvimbi, Jonty Robinson, Reza Rosenberg and Dan Sibbald. Those six are further complimented by Taine Paton, Clinton Panther and the exciting Rusten Abrahams.

In the striking department, where SA really struggled at the World League, the line-up has been boosted by the inclusions of Maties captain Keenan Horne, Brandon Panther, Ryan Crowe, Richard Pautz and Melrick Maddocks.

The SA Men will be up against bitter rivals Egypt who defeated them at the World League in Johannesburg in a shock result. The lads will be looking to bounce back and get one back over their Northern neighbours in their own back yards.

The African Hockey Cup of Nations takes place in Ismailia Egypt from 19-29 October 2017 and the winner of each tournament will qualify for the FIH Hockey World Cup in 2018.

SA Women’s Hockey Squad




Phumi Mbande


Nicole La Fleur


Nicolene Terblanche


Celia Evans


Kara Botes


Jessica O’Connor


Erin Hunter


Quanita Bobbs


Stephanie Baxter


Shelley Jones


Ilse Davids


Izelle Verster


Lilian Du Plessis


Candice Manuel


Tarryn Glasby


Sulette Damons


Dirkie Chamberlain


Sylvia van Jaarsveldt


SA Men’s Hockey Squad




Gowan Jones


Siya Nolutshungu


Richard Curtis


Erasmus Pieterse


Daniel Bell


Rhett Halkett


Austin Smith


Mohamed  Mea


Robin Jones


Jethro Eustice


Gareth Heyns


Mattew Guise-Brown


Tyson Dlungwana


Timothy Drummond


Owen Mvimbi


Ryan Julius


Jonathan Robinson


Reza Rosenberg


Clinton Panther


Taine Paton


Daniel Sibbald


Rusten Abrahams


Julian Hykes


Ignatius Malgraff


Tevin Kok


Dayaan Cassiem


Nqobile Ntuli


Keenan Horne


Brandon Panther


Ryan Crowe


Richard Pautz


Melrick Maddocks

Tyron Barnard 


  • Germany to meet Belgium in men's final after wins against Spain & Australia
  • New Zealand & Ireland maintain hunt for World Cup qualification with key victories
  • Women’s & men’s teams both in action on Saturday 21st July

Johannesburg, South Africa: The men’s final at the Hockey World League Semi-Final will be contested between Germany and Belgium following another dramatic day of action at the University of the Witwatersrand.

It was also a hugely significant day for New Zealand and Ireland, who claimed wins to take their places in the 5-6 classification match, the winner of which will be guaranteed a place at the Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup Bhubaneswar 2018.

Germany (FIH Hero World Ranking: 3) were the first team to reach Sunday’s showpiece final, fighting back from a goal down against Spain (WR: 10) to tie the match before winning a tense sudden-death shoot-out. Die Honamas were made to work extremely hard to replicate the achievement of Germany’s women in reaching their event final, with Ricardo Sanchez putting the Spaniards ahead at the end of the first quarter. Germany’s equaliser did not arrive until five minutes from the end when Ferdinand Weinke smashed home from a tight angle to force the shoot-out.

The two sides were locked together at 2-2 after ten shoot-out attempts, with Sergi Enrique and Mats Grambusch making it 3-3 before the telling moment arrived. Spain’s Enrique Gonzalez - a young player who has had an outstanding tournament - failed to convert, with Christopher Rühr making no mistake to put his team into the final.

Germany's opponents in the final will be European rivals Belgium, a team the Germans defeated in the pool phase. However, the Red Lions will be looking to avenge that result following their hard-earned 2-1 victory over Australia's Kookaburras. Belgium netted either side of half time through Cedric Charlier and Amaury Keusters before Jeremy Hayward slammed home an Australian penalty corner at the end of the third quarter. Australia's Kiran Arunasalam had a goal ruled out in the final minute as Belgium clung on to set up an all-European event final. 

"It was a really exciting semi-final, both teams played pretty well and had some good opportunities even through to the last seconds of that game", said Belgium Head Coach Shane McLeod. "It made for a really good match and now we play the final game, which is what we came here for." 

In the 5-8 matches, Egypt (WR: 19) gave New Zealand (WR: 8) a run for their money before eventually being beaten 2-0. The Egyptians proved difficult to break down but eventually the Black Sticks got the breakthrough just after half time thanks to a high quality penalty corner routine expertly converted by Nick Haig. Kane Russell added a second ten minutes from the end with a penalty corner routine almost identical to the first, putting New Zealand into the 5-6 classification where that direct ticket to the Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup Bhubaneswar 2018 is on the table.

“It was a tough game for us today and we probably started a bit slowly, we would have liked to get some more out of our chances in the first half”, said Kane Russell post-match. “We were able to hang on and put two goals on the board which was good and we need to come out firing for our last game to make sure we finish fifth and qualify for the World Cup.”

New Zealand’s opponents in that all important World Cup play-off match will be Ireland (WR: 9), who were taken to a shoot-out by France (WR: 17) before two times FIH Hockey Stars Goalkeeper of the Year David Harte made two important saves to see his side safely through. Hugo Genestet gave France the lead just five minutes into the match, an advantage that they held until late in the third quarter when Shane O’Donoghue netted a penalty stroke. In the shoot-out, goalkeeper Harte denied Guillaume Deront and Hugo Genestet before Chris Cargo scored the winner to keep his teams hopes of direct World Cup qualification alive.

Earlier in the day, Austin Smith scored twice to help hosts South Africa (WR: 15) finish their competition on a high, beating Japan (WR: 16) 4-2 to take ninth place on the final standings.

On Saturday 22nd July, the 5-8 classification positions in both the women’s and men’s competitions will be finalised. At 11:15 South Africa Standard Time (UTC +2), the women of India and Ireland will meet in the 7-8 classification match, with Japan and South Africa facing off at 13:30 in the women’s 5-6 contest. The attention then switches to the men’s 5-8 classification games, with Egypt playing France for seventh at 15:45, before New Zealand and Ireland take to the field at 18:00 for the battle for fifth place and the subsequent World Cup qualification ticket that comes with it.

Full coverage of the event is available on, with reports, news stories, event imagery and much more. The FIH is also providing comprehensive coverage of the event via our social media channels, including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter using the #HWL2017 hashtag. For information about the broadcasters covering this event, click here

Event website: click here.
Match schedule: click here.
Hashtag: #HWL2017

Hockey World League Semi-Finals - Johannesburg, South Africa

Men’s 9-10, 5-8 and Semi-Final Results
9-10: Japan 2, South Africa 4
5-8: Egypt 0, New Zealand 2
5-8: Ireland 1, France 1 (4-3 after shoot-out)
SF: Spain 1, Germany 1 (3-4 after shoot-out) 
SF: Australia 1, Belgium 2

Fixtures and timings
All times South Africa Standard Time (UTC +2)

Saturday 22nd July 2017
11:15: India v Ireland (Women 7/8) 
13:30: Japan v South Africa (Women 5/6) 
15:45: Egypt v France (Men 7/8)
18:00: New Zealand v Ireland (Men 5/6)

Sunday 23rd July 2017 

11:00: England v Argentina (Women 3/4) 
13:15: Australia v Spain (Men 3/4) 
15:30: USA v Germany (Women Final) 
18:00: TBC v Germany (Men Final)


South Africa surprise as women’s quarter-final line-up confirmed on Day 9 in Johannesburg

  • England & Argentina confirmed as winners of Pool A and Pool B respectively
  • South Africa thrill home fans but break Chilean hearts with victory over USA
  • Race for Hockey World League Final and Hockey World Cup 2018 continues

Johannesburg, South Africa: Following another high-quality day of action at the University of the Witwatersrand, the quarter-final line-up of the women’s Hockey World League Semi-Final has been revealed. 

The first of the quarter-final matches, which take place on Tuesday 18th July, will be played at 11:15 South Africa Standard Time (UTC +2), with Pool B runners-up USA facing Japan, who finished third in Pool A. That match is followed by Argentina versus Ireland, with the teams that finished first in Pool B and fourth in Pool A respectively meeting at 13:30. At 15:45, Pool A winners England play Pool B’s fourth placed team India before Germany, second in Pool A, take on a South Africa side that claimed third place in Pool B at 1800.

In Pool A, England emerged at the top of the standings with nine points from their four matches, ahead of second placed Germany, Japan in third, Ireland fourth and Poland fifth. The top four were all in action on Sunday, with Germany recording a comfortable 3-0 victory over Japan before England battled past Ireland 3-2 to claim top spot.

Japan (FIH Hero World Ranking: 11) were the better team in the opening stages of their match against Germany (WR: 7), but failed to get the breakthrough despite rattling the frame of the goal moments before Die Danas took the lead in the 23rd minute. Charlotte Stapenhorst was credited with the goal, although her cross-shot appeared to be going wide before taking an unfortunate deflection from a Japanese player. Strikes in the third and fourth quarters from Nike Lorenz and Cecile Pieper sealed the win and put Germany, albeit temporarily, into first place in the pool ahead of the England versus Ireland match.

Speaking after the game, Germany captain Janne Müller-Wieland said: “Japan are a great team and we have massive respect for them. I am very pleased with the win, especially the way the team has reacted to the defeat [against England].” 

Both England (WR: 2) and Ireland (WR: 15) went into the final Pool A match knowing that a win for either would be enough to top the standings, with England taking a 2-0 lead into half time thanks Sarah Haycroft’s deflected shot and a superb penalty corner deflection from Shona McCallin. The Green Army hit back with two quick goals shortly after the break through Nicci Daly and a captain’s goal from Katie Mullan, taking the score to 2-2 and leaving the European champions stunned. However, England were not to be denied, with team captain Alex Danson pouncing on a penalty corner rebound to score her 102nd international goal and seal that all-important first place finish.

“They [Ireland] are so hard working, it is actually annoying”, said England’s Lily Owsley, who earned her 100th senior international cap (England and Great Britain combined), after the match. “They just don’t give up, they fight for every ball and are getting better and better. Fair play to them, they gave us a real run for our money today and actually dominated at times but we came through it, which is the important thing.”

In Pool B, Argentina finished in first place, with USA, South Africa and India taking the second, third and fourth quarter-final qualification positions respectively.

South Africa (WR: 13) produced an epic performance in front of a passion-filled capacity crowd to defeat USA (WR: 6) 3-2 and confirm their place in the competition quarter-finals, breaking the hearts of Chile who were forced into fifth place on the back of the result. Melissa Gonzalez cracked home a brilliant backhand effort to give USA the lead in the 14th minute before Jade Mayne pulled the home favourites level ahead of hand time. Jill Witmer edged the Americans ahead just before the third quarter break, but two goals from Candice Manuel in the fourth quarter triggered wild celebrations from the both the home fans and the players as South Africa booked their ticket to the quarter-final.

“I’m just super stoked”, said a thrilled Bernie Coston after the match. “We came here with an overall goal, now we just take it game by game. USA are a tough team to play against, and also bring the best out of us. The crowd went berserk with every tackle, and that really made a difference.” 

Defeat for USA in the third match of the day meant that Argentina (WR: 3) went into their final Pool B match against India (WR: 12) knowing that they were already certain of a first place finish. It made little difference to their approach, as Las Leonas produced another excellent display to claim a 3-0 triumph over India’s Eves. Argentina needed less than 90 seconds to leave their first imprint on the score-sheet with Rocio Sanchez making it 1-0 before an open play effort from Maria Granatto and Noel Barrionuevo’s penalty stroke took the score to 3-0 at half time. India produced a much improved performance in the third and fourth quarters but Argentina's lead never looked threatened.

Argentina's Delfina Merino was pleased with her team's performance, and said that the focus would now switch onto their quarter-final clash with Ireland. "They [Ireland] are a very tough team, we've been watching some of their matches here", said Merino. "We will need to be very focused."

On Monday 17th July, the final four matches of the men’s pools will take place to decide the quarter-final line up. Australia and Japan take to the field for their Pool A contest at 12:00 South African Standard Time (UTC +2) before Spain and New Zealand, who also compete in Pool A, face-off at 14:00. Pool B draws to a close with the day’s two final matches, with Germany taking on Ireland at 16:00 ahead of the South Africa versus Belgium clash at 1800.

We will be providing full coverage of the event via including reports, news stories, event imagery and much more. There will also be comprehensive coverage of the event via our social media channels, including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter using the #HWL2017 hashtag. For information about the broadcasters covering this event, click here. 

Event website: click here.
Match schedule: click here.
Hashtag: #HWL2017

Hockey World League Semi-Finals - Johannesburg, South Africa

Results - Women
Pool A: Japan 0, Germany 3.
Pool A: England 3, Ireland 2.
Pool B: South Africa 3, USA 2.
Pool B: Argentina 3, India 0.

Women’s Quarter-Final line-up
Matches to be played Tuesday 18 July 2017. All times South Africa Standard Time (UTC +2)
11:15: USA (2nd Pool B) v Japan (3rd Pool A)
13:30: Argentina (1st Pool B) v Ireland (4th Pool A)
15:45: England (1st Pool A) v India (4th Pool B)
18:00: Germany (2nd Pool A) v South Africa (3rd Pool B)

Tyron Barnard

History was written today in Swakopmund as the Namibian Indoor Hockey ladies side shocked the Hockey world with a stunning showdown victory that secured their place in the FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup for 2018.

SPAR South Africa had been dominant in the tournament conceding only one goal, while Namibia had looked distinctly average and out of sorts throughout. In all honesty the Namibian bench looked unhappy throughout the tournament.

It took less than a minute but Namibia soon looked happy as they scored through Marcia Venter, there was debate about whether the ball took a touch, but the umpires were satisfied and it was awarded. Playing in her 51st test match skipper Cindy Hack levelled for the SPAR South Africa ladies after great work by Eloise Walters.  Jessica O’Connor was celebrating her 50th test cap would have been delighted when Hack turned provider to allow Shelley Higgo to net the go ahead goal for SPAR SA.

Not long after the goal, Higgo then brought down Jocelle Deysel in the D to give Namibia a Penalty Stroke, which was well finished by Gillian Hermanus. Just 7 minutes into the final we had seen four goals. 28 minutes after the fourth goal in the game came the fifth and it was captain fantastic Cindy Hack once again. South Africa had 6 minutes to hold on and confirm their place in Berlin.

Hanli Hattingh made a few saves but SPAR South Africa were dropping back and allowing pressure and with 15 seconds left on the clock South Africa were stunned as a mistake was punished by Marcia Venter who sent the crowd into raptures and the game into showdowns. South Africa were then beaten in the showdowns 2-1 to send Namibia hockey to the FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup. It was a devastating blow to the SPAR South African ladies as they ended the tournament undefeated in normal time, but without a place in the World Cup.

The TOPS @ SPAR BlitzStoks would have seen the warning signs from the ladies game and started out with a great set of determination. An early goal by Reza Rosenberg settled the game and it remained that way for long periods before on the stroke of half time Namibian keeper made an error and Justin Domleo pounced for a 2-0 lead.

Early in the second half player of the tournament Brynn Cleak pulled one back for Namibia who refused to give in to their neighbours. Strauss in goal for the Namibians did everything he could to make up for the earlier error and made some great saves to deny the South Africans. The nerves were jangling but South Africa limited the opportunities for the Namibians and although they couldn’t add to the scoreline did enough to claim the title. The TOPS @ SPAR BlitzStoks are going to Berlin!

It was a weekend of hockey that highlighted the development of the game in our continent and plans will now begin for Namibia and South Africa as they work towards the FIH Indoor Hockey world Cup in Berlin in February 2018!

Women’s Keeper of the Tournament – Jamie Haasbroek (Zimbabwe)
Men’s Keeper of the Tournament – DJ Strauss (Namibia)
Women’s Top Goalscorer – Heather McEwan (South Africa)
Men’s Top Goalscorer – Keagan Robinson (South Africa)
Women’s Player of the Tournament – Maggie Mengo (Namibia)
Men’s Player of the Tournament – Brynn Cleak (Namibia)

Tyron Barnard

SPAR South Africa Ladies

The SPAR South Africa ladies knew that starting today they were all but mathematically secured of their place in the final, but Lennie Botha’s side took nothing for granted in the opening match of the day. SPAR South Africa produced a fantastic professional performance that was fitting to honour skipper Cindy Hack’s 50th Indoor Test cap. Cindy is the first ever South African to reach 50 indoor test caps. In true Cindy style though she didn’t want much fuss about her but rather about her team. The match was played in fantastic spirit and besides braces from Higgo and Walters there were goals for McEwan, O’Connor, Evans and Kara Botes.

After yesterday’s bruising encounter Namibia were expected to give South Africa a tough game in a bid to secure qualification to the final ahead of their final group game. However what we saw was the most dominant display I have seen the SPAR South Africa ladies play in a devastating spell of hockey that left Namibia floored. Eloise Walters was a centre piece with a hat-trick and so too was Heather McEwan who assisted four different times. But to single out certain players is not just in this team performance that was inspired. Namibia may very well fear that SA do that for a full game tomorrow.  Kara Botes also got on the scoresheet along with the impressive Amy Greaves and a brace from Kelly Reed.

The SPAR South Africa ladies will take on either Namibia or Zimbabwe in the final at 08:45 tomorrow morning Namibian time.

TOPS @ SPAR BlitzStoks

The TOPS @ SPAR BlitzStoks were surprisingly held by Namibia in the game last night and had started slowly in their opening game against Zimbabwe. But today there was none of that as Pierre le Roux’s team shook the inevitable rust off and produced a lesson in indoor hockey to Zimbabwe without ever getting out of second gear. Ryan Julius is arguably the most exciting youngster in South African hockey and combined brilliantly with Olympian Wade Paton on four different occasions much to the Zimbabwean dismay. The pair together accounted for 7 of the TOPS @ SPAR BlitzStoks goals with Julius netting 5. Fairweather, Abrahams and Eustice each grabbed one a piece and goal poacher extraordinaire Keagan Robinson got another brace to his name.

That result meant that both Namibia and South Africa were through to the Final before their group game meeting this afternoon. Namibia held back some of their players in a bid to manage fitness but it backfired spectacularly as the TOPS @ SPAR BlitzStoks punished them with nine goals without raising too much of a sweat. Talented youngster Rusten Abrahams netted his first international hat-trick while Keagan Robinson bagged another brace and Jethro Eustice grabbed two for himself. Justin Domleo put one away himself after hit the post just 30 seconds earlier and Mo Mea got on the scoresheet too. Mo is incredibly fasting for the month of Ramadan and is still playing like man well fuelled!

The TOPS @ SPAR BlitzStoks will take on Namibia in the Final of the tournament at 10:00 tomorrow morning Namibian time

You can follow @TyronBarnard on twitter for live updates on the game.

Tyron Barnard

Although on paper both SPAR South Africa ladies and Tops @ SPAR South African men were comfortable favourites, they may have been given a little surprise in the morning games by the skill and tenacity shown by their Zimbabwean counterparts.

Both the mens and womens Zimbabwe sides were playing test indoor hockey for the first time in over 20 years. The SPAR South African ladies dominated the first half as their neighbours took time to grow into the game and at half time held a 6 goal lead with Heather McEwan completing a hat-trick, the first of the tournament.

A much better performance in the second half by Zimbabwe, inspired by their captain and keeper Jamie Haasbroek kept the scoreline respectable and ultimately the game ended 7-0 in favour of the SPAR SA ladies.

The TOPS @ SPAR BlitzStoks were impressed by the Zimbabwean players with some great running and hands and when Zimbabwean hockey legend Tendayi Maredza scored to give Zim the lead it was their first International Indoor goal for more than 20 years. This sparked the Tops @SPAR BlitzStoks into action and a hat-trick from Olympian Wade Paton gave the lads a 3-1 half time lead.

Zimbabwe scored a goal early in the second half and with just 10 minutes remaining had four penalty corners in a row to try and level, but were unsuccessful and soon conceded a fourth. After this it was one way traffic for Pierre le Roux’s men as Keagan Robinson led the rout and ultimately a very comfortable 10-2 victory.

If the Zimbabwe game was the starter, then both the South African sides knew that Namibia would be the main course. The Namibian women have been developing well, ironically thanks to Lennie Botha’s interest in developing them to help African Hockey further, coupled with their involvement in PSi.

The Women’s match was a battle of physicality and was a tough encounter that threatened to boil over once or twice due to the physical nature of the game. The Namibians looked keen to soak in the pressure before launching counter attacks and had numerous opportunities but were let down by poor decision making and poor discipline!

After the score was level at 1-1 just before half time both keepers upped their games and produced fine displays to keep the scoring down, but South Africa underline their supremacy with some outstanding team goals, the highlight of which was Amy Greaves little dink over Stoffberg. The victory gave the ladies domination of the group and one foot into the final!           

The TOPS @ SPAR BlitzStoks were expected to roll over their Namibian opposition, but any team marshalled by Trevor Cormack is going to be a tough team. In front of a decent home crowd the Namibians produced probably their finest display in a test match and were 3-1 up with just 5 minutes remaining on the clock. SA would fight back with Ryan Julius netting a fantastic goal and then with just 25 seconds on the clock Justin Domleo, who is struggling with illness, showed his class with great work that allowed Rusten Abrahams to nick the ball in and save the draw for the lads. It was Rustens first International goal on a day when he joined Reza Rosenberg and Wade Paton in getting their first official test cap for SA Indoor Hockey!

Today the games are repeated and the job is simple, make sure we are in the final on Sunday where everything is on the line.

Day 1 Scores – Ladies

SA 7 (McEwan 3, Hack 2 & Reed 2)
Zimbabwe 0

SA 4 (McEwan, O’Connor, Botes & Greaves)
Namibia 1 (Venter)

Namibia 3 (Hermanus, Mengo & Boshoff)
Zimbabwe 1 (Grant)

Day 1 Scores – Men

SA 10 (Paton 3, Robinson 3, Fairweather, Domleo, Eustice & Rosenberg)
Zimbabwe 2 (Maredza & Tembo)

SA 3 (Abrahams, Julius & Paton)
Namibia 3 (Jacobs, Martins & Cleak)

Namibia 8 (Barltett 3, Tjikuniva, Martins, Hansen & Jacobs 2)
Zimbabwe 3 (Tembo, Maredza & Tholanah)

Tyron Barnard

The African Hockey Indoor Cup of Nations takes place this weekend in Swakopmund where Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe will play off for a spot in the FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup. The desert town on the coast of Namibia is the host for the tournament as Africa’s best do battle.

The SPAR South African ladies side captained by Cindy Hack know that in Namibia they will face an opponent who has tested them more frequently over the last 24 months and will need to be at their best to ward off any surprises.

Lennie Botha, hoping to lead the SPAR South Africa women to a second World Cup, was delighted with the preparation of his side, sharing: “We are feeling really good and excited for the tournament to start, our preparation has be really good. We also used training today to get used to the bigger and quicker court.”

The court being used is the inline hockey court at the Dome in Swakopmund, a sensational base for sports. The court has been made out to maximum FIH ruling of 44m and should offer the two South African fans a bit more joy as time and space will be more prevalent.

“We are at full strength which we haven’t been for previous series” added Botha “but we are confident that we can get the job done with the players selected.”

The South African Men are probably favoured even more than the ladies and were able to bring a full strength team thanks to the backing of main sponsor Tops @ Spar as the title sponsor as well as the conglomeration of Blue T Hockey, Cutstudio and Teahupoo. These incredible companies came to the party to ensure that the SA Men would be at their best here in Namibia.

Although three of the men playing for the SA Men’s side will be receiving their first official cap, every one of them has represented the green and gold in the exhibition series against the All Stars at the various PSi National tournaments. Coach Pierre le Roux believes his team are ready to go.

“We are glad to be here. We cant wait to get playing and have used our training session to get used to a very quick surface. Namibia are playing in front of a home crowd and they should be fired up, so we need to stick to our structures and do what we have to do!”

Of course the unknown entity for both the SPAR SA Women and the Tops @ Spar SA Men are the Zimbabwean who they have not played before. Both Botha and le Roux admitted as much with le Roux adding.

“We don’t know much about Zimbabwe, but we are really excited to have them here. The more countries we get playing indoor hockey in Africa, the better it will be for the development of our game!”

The tournament features a round robin stage where you play each opponent twice before the top 2 nations play off on Sunday morning in the winner takes all final and confirms their place at the Indoor Hockey World Cup in Berlin in 2018.

There is no television coverage of the event confirmed at present, however you can follow updates on Twitter @TyronBarnard who is with the team in Namibia.