In 2020 the South African Indoor Hockey Men and Women will take part in the African Hockey Indoor Cup of Nations with the goal of qualifying for the 2021 Indoor Hockey World Cup. With other test series planned on the Road to the World Cup it’s another big year for indoor hockey and the journey starts in Durban today.

The Men’s Indoor Hockey IPT defending champions will be trying their best to defend their crown they won in Pietermaritzburg last year. Ross Willis will again lead the team that features International players in Dayaan Cassiem, Mustapha Cassiem, Ryan Julius

Their biggest competition is likely to come from the hosts, the KZN Raiders who have the services of Wade Paton back along indoor hockey superstars Jethro Eustice, Justin Domleo and Jarryd Jones. Under the tutelage of Ryan Hack they have a coach who knows how to win the tournament and will undoubtedly be the team to beat in their group.

Southern Gauteng may be wearing a new lion as their crest in this tournament but as their slogan goes, you can expect the team to be “all heart”. Chad Futcher will be the man called on to score the goals, which he proved in his International bow against Switzerland he can do with ease, while the retirements of stalwarts Julian Hykes and Reza Rosenberg have given opportunity for other youngsters to stake their claim. Will the likes of Marvin Simons, Spencer Botes or Fawaaz Kahder make the difference for the Lions?

Other challengers for the crown will be the SG Witsies, Northern Blues and KZN Inland who are all likely to be difficult to beat.

In the women’s team the defending champions Southern Gauteng’s challenge to defend their title took a curve ball when three of their star players were called up to the national outdoor squad currently taking on China in Cape Town. The challenge though will excite coach Blake Goosen who looks to join a very elite band of coaches to defend their title.

The hosts the SPAR KZN Raiders will be a tough team to beat with Jess Lardant, Jess O’Connor, Zimi Shange, Cindy Hack, Tegan Fourie and Cheree Greyvenstein all featuring over the past 12 months for the SPAR South Africa team. They were the beaten finalists in 2019 and Calvin Price will be desperate to add a gold medal to the one he won in 2018.

Western Province have shown remarkable improvements under the tutelage of AJ Spieringshoek. The likes of Kayla de Waal, Ammaarah Hendricks, Andrea Leader and Jamie Southgate are a big part of that improvement and will be called on to be the leaders in an exciting team.

KZN Inland also look a good outside bet with Eloise Walters looking to find her 2018 form after recovering from injury and will be an entertaining prospect to deal with.

The Men’s tournament takes place at Ashton College in Ballito while the women will play at Danville Park Girls High School in Durban North. There will be daily updates on SAHockey.co.za and you can follow the scores by clicking on the TMS link at the top of the page.