A good dose of sibling rivalry was just the thing to inspire Amkelwe Letuka to his first ever goal for the Drakensberg Dragons as the Premier Hockey League kicked off in a rain-soaked Johannesburg today.


Playing against his twin brother, Onke, Letuka’s was the second of four goals that his side scored against last year’s runners up – the Addo Elephants.


It was an impressive result for the team that finished bottom of the pile last year and came via two successful penalty corners and two field goals.


“We were expecting a good result because this team is a really good team. But we didn’t expect 4-0,” admitted Letuka afterwards.


“It was pretty tough – and even tougher when you’re playing against your brother as a defender. I won the battle today so I’m pretty chuffed with that. I’m very happy – it was pretty good goal.”


The other goals came from Gareth Heyns, Dylan Swanepoel and Nqobile Ntuli, whose brother Sihle coaches the team. “It was a much tougher game than the result suggests. 4-0 is a very flattering result but for our first game, we’re very happy,” said the coach afterwards.


“We actually spoke about it yesterday. The biggest disappointment last year – if we look at all our games, we actually outplayed our opponents. The stats were in our favour but we just didn’t convert so for us to come away with four goals today is a really good start to our tournament.


“A big thing for us today was to not concede – that’s a very good sign for us. The Elephants team have some good players up front so it was a great defensive effort,” added Ntuli, whose side were lucky to avoid the worst of the rain that was to follow.


The next couple of matches were badly affected by downpours. Defending women’s champions, the Blyde River Bunters, managed to get in 30 minutes against the SA under-21 team, playing as the Namaqualand Daisies, before the pitch became too water-logged.


The Bunters were 1-0 up at the time, thanks to an early penalty corner goal from Elmien Marais. But that counted for nothing as the match eventually had to be decided in a shootout, starting back at 0-0. Much to the 2016 winners’ relief, they maintained the upper hand and won the shootout 2-1.

“With the weather turning as it is, being 1-0 up and it becoming more and more difficult, to have to go to a shootout was a little bit disappointing but that’s the rules,” explained Bunters coach Lindsey Wright afterwards. “And it was good experience to get the shootout under our belts and to show good character to be able to hang in there and grab the three points.”


Asked if she was happy with the team’s performance in the half they did manage to play, Wright said: “Not totally. The conditions were difficult to play flowing hockey. There were a couple of concepts that they did very well though.


“We’ve just got to do a few tweaks and I’m happy that we can do that before tomorrow’s game. So I have all the confidence in the world that they will get better as the tournament progresses,” said Wright, adding that she hoped national star player Celia Evans would have recovered from illness to rejoin the team by next weekend.


The men’s defending champions, the Maropeng Cavemen, were also scheduled to be in action on the opening day. But no regular play was possible due to the persistent rain and their match against the Garden Route Gazelles was also reduced to a shootout – which last year’s bronze medallists won 2-1.


The storm clouds cleared just enough for the last two matches of the day to be completed, albeit in unseasonably chilly conditions. The St Lucia Lakers pulled off a comfortable 4-1 victory over the Orange River Rafters. Tiffany Jones and Bianca Wood scored in the opening quarter to give the Lakers a 2-0 lead going into the first break. Lerato Mahlangu pulled one back for the Rafters in the 35th minute, and while her side thought that they had managed to draw level not long after, the goal was disallowed on referral.


The Lakers’ Ayanga Baleni then found the back of the net in the 59th minute for the 3-1 lead, with Pollert Mashau slotting in the last goal of the game with less than 10 seconds on the clock.


It was then the Mapungubwe Mambas who secured a massive victory in the final match of the day, beating the SA men’s under 21 team, the Golden Gate Gladiators, by a margin of 6-1, which included a hat-trick from Jarryd Jones.



25 November 2017:

Pro-Grip Drakensberg Dragons 4-0 Kilimanjaro Addo Elephants

Tivoli Blyde River Bunters 2-1 (shootout) iWYZE Namaqualand Daisies

Garden Route Gazelles 2-1 (shootout) Crossroads Maropeng Cavemen

Private Property St Lucia Lakers 4-1 Orange River Rafters

Mapungubwe Mambas 6-1 iWYZE Golden Gate Gladiators



Sunday, 26 Novembers 2017:

8am: Top T Madikwe Rangers v Wineland Wings

10am: Crossroads Maropeng Cavemen v Kilimanjaro Addo Elephants

12pm: iWYZE Namaqualand Daisies v Orange River Rafters

2pm: Pro-Grip Drakensberg Dragons v iWYZE Golden Gate Gladiators

4pm: Private Property St Lucia Lakers v Tivoli Blyde River Bunters

Photo by: Robert Swanepoel


With the Premier Hockey League (PHL) now just three days away, former captain of the national men’s team, Austin Smith, is relishing the opportunity to play in the competition for the first time.


Smith missed out on the 2016 PHL because of club commitments in the Netherlands, but timing has worked out in his favour this time around, and he’ll take to the field with the Drakensberg Dragons team when the action gets under way at the Randburg Astro in Johannesburg this Saturday.


“The tournament was run during the middle of the Dutch club competition last year and that's where I'm contracted to play and coach,” explained the 32-year-old Capetonian.


“I'm really looking forward to playing in the PHL for the first time. I followed it from afar last year and it looked like a lot of a fun. I've been fortunate enough to play in the Hockey India League and what I really enjoyed about that tournament was playing alongside players that I'd never had the chance to do so before. The PHL will be a very similar experience, playing with South African players that I usually only play against at inter-provincial tournaments.”


The Dragons team, coached by Sihle Ntuli, includes other marquee players such as Gowan Jones and Jethro Eustice – who Smith has played alongside in the national team – but also many that are new to him.


“I have to be honest, some of the players in my team I only know by name. I think that's half the fun of the PHL, getting to know other players in South Africa and learning from one another. I haven't played in the local league in South Africa for the past 12 years since I left to play overseas so it also gives me a chance to get back in touch with a lot of old playing mates,” he explained.


As for what he’s expecting from the PHL, which will be played over three consecutive weekends, with the playoffs taking place on 11-12 December, Smith added: “I heard that it took a few games to get the connections just right and it takes a lot of communication to get everyone on the same page. It's logical that it takes a while but I hope with the experience that we have in our team we are able to do that quicker and more effectively than other teams.”



The Dragons finished in bottom spot at last year’s tournament, but Smith is looking for nothing less than a win in 2017.


“I have never started any tournament hoping for anything besides the gold medal. Nothing motivates me more than the chance to win. Having not played last year I really have no idea what the level is like or how our team will fair, but I guarantee that we will be going for the gold,” he said.


The Drakensberg Dragons play the opening game of the tournament – against the Addo Elephants on Saturday morning at 8am. All matches will be broadcast live on SuperSport.



The men’s defending champions may already have the edge on some of the other teams heading into the Premier Hockey League in just 10 days’ time.


With 13 of their players all based in Gauteng, the Maropeng Cavemen have managed to have a few training sessions together ahead of the tournament which kicks off at the Randburg Astro on November 25.


Confidence is high that they’ll be able to defend the title they claimed in 2016


“We always say we’re confident. I always go out there to win so I don’t have any other mind-set,” said coach of the side Mark Sanders. “We don’t want to be arrogant about it but we will be confident about our ability and our team’s ability. Looking at the other teams – they’ve all got better as well with their draft picks. It was a big challenge last year and this year’s going to be no different.”


Speaking about their pre-tournament practices, Sanders explained: “There is some method behind the way I choose players. It’s not solely based on location, but it does have some merit in it. It’s not to be frowned upon – the more we have guys training together and getting our set-pieces right and all that now, it’s only going to bode well.


As for the tournament itself, Sanders added: “Our principle is defend to win and when we do have an opportunity to score, we take it – and minimise the number of goals we concede. If we can tighten up our defensive structure, then we’re always going to be there and in with a shout to win.”


Meanwhile, for Lindsey Wright, coach of the 2016 women’s winners, the Blyde River Bunters, having the tag of defending champions going into the PHL means nothing.


“That was the team of 2016 so that belongs to those girls and this is a new team this year and we’ll create new goals,” she explained. “I don’t want them to even think about themselves as being defending champions. They’re merely getting an opportunity to create their own destiny and legacy.


“The title’s up for grabs for anybody and if the Bunters want to claim that title, they’re going to have to put their hands up with consistent performances throughout each and every game. That’s the challenge and I think that’s what’s exciting all the players. I’m looking forward to it. There’s a bunch of great coaches and I’m sure they’re all going to get the best out of their teams.”


Also, rather than focusing on that winner’s medal, for Wright it’s more about the process.

“For me, it’s all about the performance and not too much about the end result. Yes, I think the end result is great if you can work yourself through that process but I still think the biggest win is – have I grown as a hockey player, am I better a hockey player at the end of the tournament than when I started?”


Wright agreed that with six marquee players included in each of the six competing teams, the opposition is a lot stronger than last year, which is good news for national selectors.

“I’m hoping for tough games that are fought right until the end, but of course that will make it harder to defend the title and I think you’re going to see results swing from side to side as well.


“It will make it an interesting tournament and that’s what we want. From a spectator point of view, that’s great and from a player point of view as well, because they have to approach every game like it’s a final. That’s really where we want to peg this because that creates better hockey performances and better hockey players to select from, because when you get to big things like World Cups and Commonwealth Games, every game is a final. You want big characters in those games and you want those players who are never going to lie down and give up.”


It will be a very different Steph Baxter that steps onto the pitch at the 2017 Premier Hockey League at the end of the month.

Having impressed selectors at last year’s edition of the tournament, Baxter was picked for the South African women’s team.

Now, with 20 international caps to her credit, the 24-year-old is a far more confident player. She admits herself, she’s far better at expressing herself as well.

“Going into PHL this year, I’m a little more mature in my game and a little more outspoken. I’m a little quite at times and I think I’ve grown in that manner,” said the Potch student. 

Backing her all the way is coach of the St Lucia Lakers side she’ll be representing for a second consecutive year, Inky Zondi.

“Steph is an exciting young player with natural ability and lots of potential,” he said.

“She is a player who can change the course of a game through her attacking flair and I look forward to seeing her bring this through to the Lakers team in 2017. She creates dangerous attacking scenarios and the team can capitalise from this,” added the coach.

“Her exposure to top international competition and players in the SA team this year, particularly at the World League hosted here in Johannesburg would have benefited her hugely and grown her as an individual. Competing at that level can add confidence to a player's game and hopefully she can bring those learnings through this year at PHL 2017.”

The Lakers finished fourth at last year’s tournament but Baxter feels they’re a stronger outfit this time around.

“I’m super excited to be playing for the Lakers again in 2017. I think this year’s team is a little more experienced than last year. There’s a lot of depth in the side and I’m extremely excited to see what we can produce and how we get on as a unit.”

Other marquee players joining Baxter in the team are one of the stars of the SA side, veteran Shelley Jones, and other national teammates Quanita Bobbs and Kara Stella. They play their first game against the Orange River Rafters on Saturday, 25 November.

Zondi reckoned: “I believe this is a competitive group with a strong core of players from 2016 and I look forward to helping them progress from strength to strength each game.”

Speaking about how the PHL has played such an important part in her career, Baxter explained: “PHL is such a major tournament with all the big names partaking in this event. That did not scare me though. In fact, I saw it as another opportunity to learn and just enjoy hockey on such a scale as there aren’t many tournaments like PHL. Lenise Marais also played a big role as she gave me so much freedom to play my game and that gave me more confidence knowing she believed in me and my abilities.

“I think the PHL is important as it has reached a much larger audience and people have taken so much more interest in the sport, with it being televised by SuperSport. Having a bigger base and having people take more interest can only boost hockey more, causing more sponsorships and interest in our national teams.” 

The PHL group games will be played over three consecutive weekends, starting on 25 November, with the playoff matches contested on December 11-12. All matches will be played at the Randburg Astro in Johannesburg and will be broadcast live on SuperSport.

4 November 2017 – Ten coaches emerged from the pressure cooker of the player draft with their final teams that will do battle in the 2017 edition of the Premier Hockey League (PHL), starting later this month.


In a draft process reminiscent of the NBA and NFL, the coaches did battle for their preferred players. These players filled the remaining eight places after each side was allocated six marquee stars, chosen by the national high performance panel, to promote a level playing field. Coaches were required to release between four and eight players from their 2016 squads.


Head coach of the men’s defending champions, Maropeng Cavemen, Mark Sanders was a happy man after the conclusion of the draft.


“We’re very, very happy with the 2017 Cavemen,” he said. Speaking about some of the players he’d managed to snap up, Sanders added: “Thabang Modise, also known as Smiley, plays up here in Jo’burg at Wits University, and he is an exciting young player. Chad Fucher is also at Wits University and also very exciting. I’m happy. I think we’ve got some good quality youngsters and some fantastic players to help the older guys to retain their heads a bit sometimes.”


Sihle Ntuli, coach of the Drakensberg Dragons, said: “This year all teams have been given six marquee players which automatically brings extra quality to the teams. This concept is fantastic as some of the younger provincial players find themselves playing in the same environment as some of our senior international players. The national selectors in my opinion have split the marquee players up really well and the balance among the teams allows for a good contest over the three weeks.


“Going into year two I really believe the standard of the competition will pick up with both players and coaches having a better understanding of how to phase the tournament.”


Six men’s and six women’s team will contest the second edition of the PHL which gets under way on November 25 at the Randburg Astro in Johannesburg with further action on the following two weekends and the playoffs taking place on 11-12 December.


The respective under-21 teams had already been selected prior to the draft, but those not making the sides were available to be picked for the other squads.


Newly promoted to head coach of the Madikwe Rangers, who finished runners up last year, Tsoanelo Pholo, spoke about the pressure of the draft process.


“I’ve been in hot seats before as a coach next to the field but being in the draft room is something different – very, very exciting, on-the-edge stuff.


“I’m over the moon with every pick I got to make today. Long hours last night thinking about the players I wanted and I think I got every single one. I’m really excited to get going with a young and I think very talented team that I got to pick. It’s going to be a very competitive tournament and I’m looking forward to it.”


Coach of the Blyde River Bunters, 2016 champions of the women’s tournament, Lindsey Wright, meanwhile, was happy with the outcome of the draft.


“It was interesting. You’ve obviously got to make sure your plan is in order and look around players as to what the other teams were picking and then hopefully come up with alternative plans to meet the requirements of the team.


Speaking about the PHL in general, the former national captain added: “It’s an exciting concept. It fills a definite hole in South African hockey where competitive competition is needed. I think what was really exciting about 2016 was that every game was very closely fought and that’s exactly what SA hockey needs when they’re going into big events like World Cup and Commonwealth Games. You need to be playing consistently competitive hockey that brings out the right qualities in the national teams.”


Current national captain Nicolene Terblanche is one of the marquee players in the Bunters side.


“There are a lot of new players coming into the Bunters team which is cool. That’s the thing that makes the PHL so good – playing with different players from different provinces and I think the teams are more balanced this year so that’s exciting,” she said afterwards.


PHL schedule (all matches played at the Randburg Astro, Johannesburg):

November 25-26: Pool games

December 2-3: Pool games

December 9-10: Pool games

December 11-12: Playoffs


All matches will be broadcast live on SuperSport.






Maropeng Cavemen: Clinton Panther, Rassie Pieterse, Tommy Hammond, Miguel De Graca, Lance Louw, Reza Rosenburg, Michael Abrahams, Hendy Seerane, Nicholas Berichon, Brynn Cleak, Ricky West, Bernard Greybe, Cameron MacKay, Lungani Gabela, Matthew Davies, Thabang Modise, Chad Futcher, Cerezo Comerasamy, Andrew Buckley, Brad Robertson, Coach: Mark Sanders


Drakensberg Dragons: Austin Smith, Gowan Jones, Jethro Eustice, Matt de Sousa, Melrick Maddocks, Nqobile Ntuli, Taylor Dart, Chad Cairncross, Nick Gonzalves, Dalan Phillips, Dylan Swanepoel, Cody van Wyk, David Agar, Mbuso Mgobozi, Tim Kirkman, Gareth Heynes, Amkelwe Letuka, Stephen McManus, Lance de Kock, Cameron Ryan, Coach: Sihle Ntuli


Addo Elephants: Julian Hykes, Ignatius Malgraaf, Robin Jones, Matthew Martins, Jonty Robinson, Dan Sibald, Sinoxolo Mbekeni, Onke Letuka, Jody Erasmus, Damian Kimfley, Andrew Manson, Jermaine Johnson, Joshua August, Brett Walraven, Chad Durrheim, Roberto Bosman, Winray Christoffels, Franco Carstens, Zamokuhle Ngubo, Bjorn Sorensen, Coach: Cheslyn Gie


Mapungubwe Mambas: Owen Mvimbi, Tevin Kok, Rusten Abrahams, Nduduzo Lembethe, Francois Pretorius, Richard Curtis, Travis Hardnick, Sizwe Mtembu, Kirwin Christoffels, Michael Marki, Callum Buchanan, Winchester Scott, Ross Gonzalves, Ross Hetem, Dillon Langeveld, Michael Forrest, Greg Last, Kewan Harries, Jarryd Jones, Steven Paulo, Coach: Krinesan Moodley


Garden Route Gazelles: Jean-Pierre De Voux, Keenan Horne, Lloyd Norris-Jones, Ryan Julius, Alex Stewart, Siya Nolutshungu, Reece Arendse, Satchi Reddy, Gerald Mpopo, Dylan Coombes, Michael Mulder, Lyndon Fredricks, Andile Ndlovu, Duncan Fischer, Le-Neal Jackson, Jayson Reed, Berne Burger, Shaun Baker, Brandon James, Craig Wiid, Coach: Mark Hopkins


Golden Gate Gladiators (U21):

Muzzamil Sheik, 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, Coach: Gareth Ewing







Blyde River Bunters: Phumi Mbande, Nicolene Terblanche, Izelle Verster, Natalie Esteves, Celia Evans, Marizen Marais, Elmien Marais, Anel Luus, Lauren Nina, Kaydee Miller, Christine Roos, Chrizelle Andries, Onthatile Segaole-Zulu, Julia Fleming, Sinalo Jafta, Carmen Smith, Nicole Kemp, Marissa Poolman, Meeghan Klomp, Hannli Hattingh, Coach: Lindsey Wright


Orange River Rafters: Cheree Greyvenstein, Dirkie Chaimberlaine, Tarryn Mallet, Amy Ethrington, Jessica de Bruyn Smith, Sulette Damons, Luche Klaasen, Zimasa Dunywa, Bronwyn Kretzman, Nicole Koenig, Sulize de Klerk, Cornelle Holtzhausen, Francisco Darkoh, Kelsey Minaar, Leratho Mahlangu, Jackie Scheepers, Donna Small, Chane Hartel, Amy Celeste Greaves, Georgia Grobler, Coach: Shaun Hulley


Madikwe Rangers: Mmatshepo Modipane, Lisa Deetlefs, Bernadette Coston, Toni Marks, Sylvia van Jaarsveldt, Lillian du Plessis, Louise de Jager, Lisa Hawker, Amore de Wet, Cheneal Raubenheimer, Isabella Da Rocha, Courtney Abrahams, Lelethu Ndakisa, Anel van der Venter, Shindre-Lee Simmons, Lezaan Janse van Vuuren, Kerry Eagleton (Pearton), Londeka Dlamini, Claire Gibbings, Robyn Pinder, Coach: Tsoanelo Pholo


St Lucia Lakers: Marileze van Tonder, Kara Stella, Shelley Jones, Quanita Bobbs, Erin Hunter, Stephanie Baxter, Heraldine Olin, Chardinay Penniston, Jenna Shuker, Karen Bowyer, Zimi Shange, Kelly Reed, Pollert Mashau, Bianca Wood, Kim Hubach, Ayanga Baleni, Megan Anderson, Tiffany Jones, Paige Phillips, Charne Hill, Coach: Inky Zondi


Wineland Wings: Nicole La Fleur, Jade Mayne, Ilse Davids, Jess O'Connor, Tarryn Glasby, Line Malan, Robyn Johnson, Cathrine McNaulty, Nomphilo Thenjwayo, Michelle Dias, Anche Nortje, Kaila Flemming, Thando Chiti, Sonika van Heerden, Kirsten Leigh Wagner, Hope Nkosi, Miche Bennett, Daniella Rhodes, Sasha Sivertsen, Lida Kotze, Coach: Ryan Pillay


Namaqualand Daisies (U21): Kirsty Adams, 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, Coach: Rob van Ginkel


For more information: Karien Jonckheere, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 0760282057



The South African national women’s hockey team finished fifth at the FIH Hockey World League Semi-Finals.

South Africa beat Japan 2-1 in the fifth place play-off match played at the Wits hockey stadium in Johannesburg.

The home team ended the first chukka with a flurry of penalty corners, but could not score despite the opportunities to take the lead early on. Soon after the start of the second chukka South Africa got a penalty stroke after a Japanese player blocked the ball with her body in front of the goal-box. Lillian du Plessis converted the stroke to give SA the lead. It was Du Plessis’ second goal of the tournament.

Tarryn Glasby gave South Africa a two-goal lead in the 23rd minute after a good pass from Shelley Jones. It was Glasby’s first goal of the tournament.

Japan’s only goal of the match came after some five minutes of play in the third chukka. Yuri Nagai hit the back of the goal-box for her team.

In the last few minutes Japan played with a kicking-back for the extra attacking player. They desperately worked for that equaliser but the South African defenders gave them no space to attack.

South Africa is 13th on the world rankings and Japan 11th. By finishing in the top 6 of the tournament the SA women qualified for the 2018 FIH World Cup in London.

The African Championships is later in the year and if the SA Women win that tournament South Africa will be in the Top 10 of the world rankings. 

Johannesburg, South Africa: The South African Hockey Association (SAHA) has announced that all tickets for the final matches of the Hockey World League Semi-Finals are officially sold out.


Set to take place on Sunday, 23 July the much-anticipated women’s and men’s final matches are a culmination of 16 days of world-class hockey. Over 2500 fans are expected at the Wits Hockey Club where all the action has been taking place since the start of the tournament.


“From the onset, we have always stated that we need the support of our clubs and the hockey community to make this event big, bold, packed and loud. Much to our delight, this is exactly what the fans and hockey community have delivered. Over the past 13 days, our stadium has been packed and all teams have enjoyed the support of locals,” said Marissa Langeni, CEO of SAHA.


All 132 matches from the Hockey World League Semi-Finals have been broadcast live on SuperSport, and the finals are no exception. The Women’s Final is set to take place at 15h30 on 23 July, with the Men’s Final push back at 18h00.


There are still tickets available for purchases online, for the semi-final and classification matches taking place on 20, 21 and 22 July, and can be purchased at: http://hockeyworldleague.nutickets.co.za/


The top teams from Brussels, London and Johannesburg will also be aiming to qualify for two of hockey’s showcase events – the Women’s Hockey World League Final 2017 in Auckland, New Zealand and the Men’s Odisha Hockey World League Final 2017 in Bhubaneswar, India.


To keep up to date with all the latest news relating to the Hockey World League Semi-Finals over the coming months, visit FIH.ch and follow FIH via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.


It’s a revolution, and you’re invited!



Dayaan Cassiem topped off his best game for South Africa in a very short career by scoring a goal in SA’s 4-2 win over Japan in the FIH World Hockey League Semi-Finals.

With this victory the SA men’s hockey team finished 9th in the tournament.

At halftime South Africa was leading 2-1 after two penalty corner scores from Austin Smith. It brought his tally to four goals in the tournament and 56 in his career. Koji Yamasaki scored Japan’s goal at the end of the first chukka.

With 11 minutes left Japan’s Genki Mitani scored to equalise matters. Japan upped the pace big time later in the third chukka going into the final 15 minutes.

With another shot at goal a Japanese defender denied the 18-year-old Cassiem, but SA got the penalty shot for the body-block. Jonathan Robinson hit the back of the goal-box to give SA the lead (3-2) once again.

Cassiem finally got reward for a game well played when he scored SA’s fourth goal. “It was great to score. I really enjoyed playing with the team. This tournament was a great learning experience for me,” said Cassiem.

Captain Tim Drummond added: “It was a tough tournament for us and we learnt some hard lessons, but the boys showed character today. We did not reach our initial goal, but we did some reassessment and we really wanted to win.”

The SA women’s team takes the field Saturday at 13:30 to play Japan for the 5th place in the tournament. The women have qualified for the 2018 FIH World Cup in London.

The African Championships is later in the year and if the SA Women win that tournament South Africa will be in the Top 10 of the world rankings. Currently South Africa is 13th.

All matches in the Hockey World League Semi-Final are played at the Wits Hockey Astro in Johannesburg. Twenty of the world’s best men and women’s national teams will take part in these Hockey World Cup 2018 qualifiers.

All matches are broadcasted live on SuperSport.

Be sure to follow the teams on Twitter at @SA_Hockey_Men and @sawomenshockey

The South Africa national women’s hockey team qualified for the 2018 Hockey World Cup in London by beating Ireland in the FIH Hockey World League Semi-Finals.

South Africa won the 5th/8th play-off match by 3-0.

The victory meant that South Africa can’t finish lower than sixth in the tournament and the top 6 teams automatically qualifies for the FIH World Cup.

With the fourth penalty corner of the game Lisa-Marie Deetlefs hit the back of the goal-box to give SA the lead. With a minute left before halftime Ireland got a penalty shot, but it was missed giving SA the lead going into the change-room.

Bernadette Coston scored the second goal for South Africa after four minutes play in the last chukka. With nine minutes left Ireland took off the goalkeeper and played with a kicking-back. With no goalkeeper Lillian du Plessis added to the score-line with some five minutes left.

“It is a very special day. We had a goal and is super happy that it all worked out,” said Coston.

Captain Sulette Damons added: “It is phenomenal to win this very important match. It is awesome to know that we have qualified and achieved the goal of that. We have a target of finishing fifth though and we are still on track.”

SA is 13th on the world ranking and Ireland 15th. SA will now play against Japan for 5th place in the tournament.

The SA men’s side play tomorrow at 10:00 against Japan and must win to avoid finishing last in the tournament.

All matches in the Hockey World League Semi-Final are played at the Wits Hockey Astro in Johannesburg. Twenty of the world’s best men and women’s national teams will take part in these Hockey World Cup 2018 qualifiers from 8 - 23 July.

Tickets for the event can be purchased online at http://hockeyworldleague.nutickets.co.za/HWL

All matches are broadcasted live on SuperSport. Be sure to follow the teams on Twitter at @SA_Hockey_Men and @sawomenshockey

South Africa’s national women’s hockey team lost to Germany in the quarterfinal of the FIH World Hockey League Semi-Finals.

With just more than a minute left before halftime Germany broke the deadlock when Camille Nobis scored. It was somewhat against the run of play with South Africa dominating most of the second chukka.

With two minutes left in the match Germany hit the back of the goal-box, but after a South African referral the goal was not awarded. Seconds later South Africa got another penalty corner but like the various other opportunities earlier in the final chukka the ball missed the target. Unlike the game against the USA the SA attack wasn’t as sharp and German defenders managed to keep the ball out of the goal-box.

Germany is 7th on the world rankings and SA 13th.

The first semi-final is between the USA and England and the second between Argentina and Germany.

South Africa will now play for the lower ranking positions 5-8.

All matches in the Hockey World League Semi-Final are played at the Wits Hockey Astro in Johannesburg. Twenty of the world’s best men and women’s national teams will take part in these Hockey World Cup 2018 qualifiers from 8 - 23 July.

Tickets for the event can be purchased online at http://hockeyworldleague.nutickets.co.za/HWL

All matches are broadcasted live on SuperSport. Be sure to follow the teams on Twitter at @SA_Hockey_Men and @sawomenshockey