The eyes of the hockey world diverge on Ghana for the 2022 African Cup of Nations. The one African spot at the respective FIH World Cups will be decided over the next week.

Played under the restrictions imposed by COVID-19, the tournament gets underway today and will see both the SA Men and Women looking to defend their titles!

The South African women begin a new era under interim head coach Inky Zondi. They will also be captained by Phumelela Mbande, the Olympic flag bearer, after Erin Christie was ruled out of the tournament.

The SA Men are without a number of the indoor players that were due to be headed to Belgium, but the core of the Tokyo squad remains and the Men will be looking at the opportunity of closing the gap to the top 10 in the rankings.

It promises to be a riveting tournament with new stories being written into the pages of the African Hockey history books. You can watch all games live on the Watch Hockey App

South African Hockey’s long standing at the finest table of hockey officiating is set to continue at the Tokyo Olympics. The country has produced a plethora of outstanding officials and that will continue in 2021 as five officials have been selected to the global showpiece.

Dr. Leigh Gordon – FIH Medical Officer

Doctor Leigh Gordon is one of the FIH Medical Officer’s for the tournament. She's also very busy as the team doctor for Springbok Sevens Rugby men’s and women’s teams since July 2015. Dr Gordon is also the Medical trainer for World Rugby ICIR (Immediate Care in Rugby).

Marelize de Klerk – Umpires Manager

Marelize attended three Olympic Games as an umpire in 2000, 2004 & 2008. Since giving up the whistle she has developed into one of the finest umpires managers in the game which saw her serve in 2016 and now again in 2021. With Five Olympic Games she joins John Wright in that esteemed category.

Umpires

Michelle Joubert

Arguably the world finest umpire in the womens game and a recipient of the golden whistle. This will be Michelle’s third Olympic Games, with 2016 seeing her umpire the final in Rio. She has travelled the world umpiring and constantly been a fantastic ambassador for South Africa.

Peter Wright

Another member of the golden whistle club, Peter will be taking on his first Olympic games in Tokyo. Peter is no stranger to major tournaments with World Cups, Commonwealth Games and the FIH Pro League on the CV. A fine career in umpiring will now be complete by adding the five rings!

Annelize Rostron

Annelize is also making her Olympic games debut and fast approaching her own 100th international career game. She has done a number of Pro League fixtures and was impressive at the World Cup where she earned a Bronze Medal match and one of the semi-finals. We look forward to seeing Annelize in action!

Allistar Fredericks became a hero for many when he became the first player of colour to represent South Africa’s Hockey Men post isolation. In a career that saw Fredericks spanned 59 caps, Fredericks notched an incredible 56 goals. The highlight of his career was the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, in which he spoke on behalf of Team South Africa to state president Nelson Mandela.

Allistar was arguably one of the most skilled hockey players you would ever have witnessed, with hands that most players can only dream of. For defenders, those dreams were surely nightmares! From William Pescod Hockey Club to the South Africa Council of Sports teams, before being called up in a unified South Africa, Fredericks was an example to all and a beacon of hope for his community.

After his playing days were done Allistar continued his work within South African Hockey serving in various different roles including Coach Education Facilitator, Senior Indoor Convenor of Selectors  Senior Outdoor Convenor of Selectors, Southern Gauteng Hockey Association President and he was a current SA Hockey Board Member.

Marissa Langeni, the CEO of the South African Hockey Association, spoke about Allistar’s major and significant role in South African hockey.

“He was a 1996 Atlanta Olympian. It was a huge significant moment for South African hockey.” says Langeni. “Especially given the fact that he was the first player of colour selected to represent South Africa at those Olympic Games.” she says. “One of the fond memories that he often spoke about was being given the privilege of making a speech for the late President Nelson Mandela and actually presenting him with a blazer from the Olympic Committee at that time. [He had] a huge impact on the hockey community. People are referring to him as ‘The Star of Kimberley’, being the rare talent that he was. Everybody that we speak to has said that he was one of the most skilful players of his generation.”

SA Hockey President Deon Morgan honoured Ally, with this emotional statement.

“I had the privilege of knowing Allistar since my childhood. We played against each other since our Junior Hockey days, and I also had the privilege to play in the same teams with him on different occasions.

Ally was the person you planned your game plan around when he was your opponent and when he was in your team you knew that you could do a little more as the opponents would focus on him in their game plans.

I cannot believe that you are no longer with us Ally. You have inspired Youth since we were Youth, your ability on the field, your work ethic off the field, your ability to mix with everyone, your tenacity, your humbleness despite your brilliance inspired so many of us to be and do better.

I have seen him carry this through the years where he played a pivotal role in assisting, developing and growing so many Youths from all over South Africa. Because he believed in them, mentored and coached them, they started believing in themselves and the rest is history. I have witnessed so many proud moments where the youth under his care have achieved greatness not just on the field, but off it as well.

He always focused on the entire person, and I could see how grateful they were when they either made a club, provincial or national team or/ and achieved at their academic graduations.

I salute both Allistar and Nicky Fredericks for the legacy you have left for so many, for your BIG hearts and for all you have taken on to improve the lives of so many of us over the years.

I love you my friend and I thank God for affording me the opportunity to have played Hockey with you, served the game on different platforms with you and for your friendship.

Rest well my friend. You are truly a legend”. 

Allistar is survived by his wife, Nicky, and his children, Keegan, Taylor-Lee and Tristan. A gaping hole has been left in the hearts of so many as Allistar was not just a coach, but a friend and father figure as well. Ally was the Beaulieu Academy Men’s Premier League Team Head Coach and the Beaulieu College Director of Hockey as well as the Boy’s First Team Coach.

In a recent Hockey the Podcast interview, Ally shared this powerful thought. “My message is that no matter what circumstances you come from, nothing must deter you to achieve your dreams”.

The South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) today announced the SA Men’s and Women’s Hockey Teams that will feature in the Tokyo Olympic Games in July and August this year.

Speaking to Hockey the Podcast, SA Hockey CEO Marissa Langeni paid tribute to the teams who have worked tirelessly through the covid pandemic to this point.

“There has been so much anxiety around the games, what it will look like, travel and so much more. We have got here though and it’s all systems go at last! As South African Hockey we commend the selectors of the squads, the management and the players for the incredible work done in this process. Congratulations to the players selected, we look forward to you supporting at the games.”

The SA Women’s Hockey team features Lisa-Marie Deetlefs who will be going to her third Olympic Games. She is the only existing Olympian in the squad which features three uncapped players and four centurions including Quanita Bobbs, Lilian du Plessis and Celia Seerane. The team features a total of 977 caps, with an average of 61 caps per player. They will be captained by Erin Christie and supported by Phumelela Mbande. 

Women’s Head Coach Robin van Ginkel was pleased with his squad:

“The year that we have had extra as a result of the postponement, has been a massive positive for us in growth. Our energy has been revived and I truly believe we are in a better position than we would have been a year ago. We are ready to take on the Olympic Games and so excited to be able to share our squad today.

We went through a rigorous selection process and came across the team that is what we believe is the right combination to make South Africa proud.”

The SA Women are in Group A of the tournament and start their campaign on the 24 July against Ireland. Their second game will take place two days later against Great Britain with Netherlands awaiting 48 hours after that. Its then a quick turnaround between match four against Germany on 30 July and match five against India just 24 hours later.

The SA Hockey Men’s squad announced features five Olympians. Rassie Pieterse, Tim Drummond, Taine Paton and Clinton Panther will add a second games to their cv’s having appeared in London in 2012, while Austin Smith also appeared in Beijing in 2008.

18-year-old Mustapha Cassiem and 21-year-old Sam Mvimbi will be playing in their first major tournament while every other player has featured in one major. The team has a combined 1 179 caps with the average of 74 per player. Tim Drummond will continue to lead the team as captain.

SA Men’s Head Coach Garreth Ewing could not wait to get to Tokyo.

“It’s definitely been an interesting 12 months. I think we have taken the positive in growing in maturity and culture over the past year. It is a great opportunity to make an improvement in the world rankings, but that is something we want to do over a sustainable period.

I am very pleased with the squad we have put together. It was a difficult process, but I am certain we have the team that can go to games and meet our objectives.”

The SA Hockey Men are in Group B. They will open their adventure against Great Britain on the 24 July and then take on Netherlands just 24 hours later in a quick start to their tournament. They next face world number 1 Belgium on the 27th before Germany await on the 29th. The South Africans close off their group stage with a match against Canada on the 30 July.

Listen to Hockey the Podcast – The Squad Announcement here

https://iono.fm/e/1045650 

The South African Hockey association can today announce that TK Sports South Africa are the new kit supplier of the national teams. This agreement renews the relationship between TK and SA Hockey, having previously been the kit supplier spanning two FIH Hockey World Cups, most recently the Women and Men's World Cups of 2010. Now, the Elephants are Back.

Having returned to International Hockey for the first time in over a year, the SA Hockey Men wore the limited edition Simunye kit in collaboration with TK. They will now return to the green and gold TK kit for the first time since 2010 for the third to fifth Test Matches vs Namibia. The agreement with TK Sports South Africa runs until December 2023 and will be rolled out for the next confirmed events calendar of the women and men's teams.

Marissa Langeni, CEO of SA Hockey, was delighted to share the news.

“We are delighted to renew our relationship with TK and welcome them back into the South African Hockey family. They have been fantastic supporters of South African Hockey over the years. As a brand, TK reflects our ambitions for growth, and we look forward to working with them to bring fans new and exciting products. We are extremely excited for this partnership.”

Rassie Pieterse, MD of TK Sports South Africa, echoed in his delight.

“TK Sports have been providing equipment for hockey since 1985 and have a longstanding heritage of leading brands worldwide. We are delighted to be able to put the players in kit that bring out the best of their performance on the turf. The South African Hockey fanbase is a passionate and proud group of people. We are also excited by the opportunity to offer supporters a chance to get their own replica kit and to see stadiums packed in green and gold once fans are allowed to return. The elephants are back!”

Replica kits will be available for purchase on TK Sports SA online store. A portion of every sale will be given by TK back to SA Hockey.

At the start of the 2021 Indoor Africa Cup the Namibian women were determined to prove that the 2017 victory was not a fluke. Throughout the tournament they reiterated the fact that the only game that mattered was the final and today was their opportunity to show that.

Despite a fast paced start by the hosts the defensive wall at the back held firm for the Namibians with Gillian Hermanus being forefront of that effort. When called upon Petro Stoffberg was keen to show the 2017 form that was paramount in qualifying the team and she did just that. As the clock ticked it the opportunity opened for Namibia and 17 year old Cailtin Gillies fired home a low penalty corner to give the defending champions the lead.

It was a lead they would double when Caitlin Gillies turned provider and set Sunelle Ludwig up who finished a superb opportunity. 2-0 and the hosts were shook. That would stay the final score despite 12 penalty corner attempts for South Africa and at the final whistle there was jubilation as Namibia had sealed the spot at the 2022 Indoor Hockey World Cup and as the champions of Africa.

Namibia’s captain and stalwart midfielder Magreth Mengo said: “It feels fantastic, amazing and blessed. I don’t really have the words. We sorted out our defensive team and worked hard together. We helped each other and we had each other’s back. Belgium here we come. We are representing Africa, so watch out, here we come. Namibia is representing Africa at world level.”

FINAL RESULTS

Namibia 2-0 South Africa

AWARDS

Top Goalscorer – Tegan Fourie (South Africa)
Goalkeeper of the Tournament – Petro Stoffberg (Namibia)
Player of the Tournament – Petro Stoffberg (Namibia)

After watching a repeat of the 2017 result the two mens side took to the court at Thomas Moore College to renew their own battle and it could not have started better for Namibia than taking the lead in the 12th minute through Fagen Hansen.

South Africa would however pull level through the younger Cassiem, Mustapha on the verge of half-time and then turned the temperature up a degree in the third chukka with a quick double from Chad Futcher, the player of the match in the final, and skipper Jethro Eustice.

Namibia never backed down and although they searched gainfully for a way back into the game their hopes were distinguished with a Chad Futcher second. The score would stay that way and South Africa confirmed their fifth attendance at the Indoor Hockey World Cup

Captain of South Africa men, Jethro Eustice, said: “I am so excited, we have put a long process together with this group over the past year and a half. It wasn’t easy, Namibia put up a good fight but now we can’t wait to build up for the World Cup. We have an exceptionally talented group but we have to challenge the world now. We had an exciting programme that challenged Africa, now we challenge the world.”

FINAL RESULTS

Namibia 1-4 South Africa

AWARDS

Top Goalscorer – Fagen Hansen (Namibia)
Goalkeeper of the Tournament – Bongumusa Mngoma (South Africa)
Player of the Tournament – Dayaan Cassiem (South Africa)

 

The 2021 African Hockey Indoor Africa Cup, powered by Pharco and SPAR,  takes place this weekend at the newly built iKhwezi Sports Centre at Thomas More College in Kwazulu Natal. The tournament that features Botswana, Namibia and SPAR South Africa will be played to determine which Men’s and Women’s teams will represent the continent at the 2022 Indoor Hockey World Cup in Belgium.

The tournament which was postponed on multiple occasions and on the verge of cancellation due to the coronavirus pandemic that has swept across the globe, will be played without spectators but all teams involved will be delighted that they will have the opportunity to vie for the title as African Champions.

In the Men’s tournament the South African men, backed by Tops at SPAR, will be looking to defend the title they won in Swakopmund in 2017. That victory led the South Africans to 2018 Indoor Hockey World Cup in Berlin and to their current ranking of 11th in the world. The team will look to the experience of Justin Domleo, Rusten Abrahams and Jethro Eustice to guide the team, while Ryan Hack’s experience of two World Cup’s will be key in guiding his team to glory.

The South Africans will know the challenge of the Namibians fairly well from their previous encounters while the Botswana’s offer a fairly unknown, but exciting opposition as the growth of indoor hockey on the continent continues at pace.

In 2017 SPAR South Africa dominated the Indoor Africa Cup in Swakopmund, but a fairy-tale finish in the final saw the game tied and Namibia emerge victorious in the resultant shootout. It was one of the fine underdog stories of sport around the world. They would go to the World Cup and write another show stopping script with 16-year-old Kiana Cormack securing top goal scorer at the tournament. The team that will come to South Africa to defend their title is largely changed from that historical triumph but Maggie Mengo, Petro Stoffberg and Gillian Hermanus will hope they can channel the spirit of 2017 once again.

SPAR South Africa were devastated in 2017 but have since gone on to produce some of the most historic results in Indoor Hockey history with victories against a host of nations including Czech Repbulic, Switzerland, Poland and Namibia too. The team consists of experience spear headed by two icons in Jessica O’Connor and Cindy Hack, while the three debutants once again point to the depth available in South African Indoor Hockey.

There was a taste of what the Botswana Ladies could offer when they were in South Africa for the SPAR Test Series back in 2019 and all involved will be excited to see how the country has developed in their game since that series.

The tournament format sees a round robin where each team plays each other twice over Friday and Saturday before the top two progress to the final on Sunday in a winner takes all match.

Download the fixtures here

Although spectators are not allowed due to the COVID Protocol in place, the games will be live streamed on the Rayder Media YouTube page as well as the FIH Watch Hockey App.

Original article published by FIH - http://fih.ch/news/dual-roles-for-nonnie/

Nonhlanhla Mtolo, who is also known as Nonnie in South African hockey circles, started volunteering in 2016 and in that time has become an expert in both team management skills and the demands of being a tournament Technical Official.

The South African started her volunteering career in 2016 when she was a judge for the Varsity Hockey tournament at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, universally known as ‘Wits’.

This bi-annual hockey event, which features the top eight university hockey sides in the country, is a true showcase of university hockey in South Africa. A huge number of varsity hockey alumni going on to represent South Africa on the international stage. The event provided a big platform on which Nonhlanhla started her volunteering journey.

Following the Wits event, Nonhlanhla took up a role as the U14 D Southern Gauteng Schools Team Manager, organising and caring for the young players in the provincial hockey calendar of events. She undertook this responsibility for two seasons – 2016 and 2017 – before taking her considerable organisational skills into team manager roles with the U16s, the U18s and the Southern Gauteng Women’s Indoor Team.

While continuing with her volunteering roles on the domestic hockey scene, Nonhlanhla has also made the step into international volunteering. She was Ball Patrol Manager at the FIH World Hockey League finals in Johannesburg in 2017 – a crucial job that involves managing the team of youngsters who ensure the game runs smoothly and without delay.

She has continued to manage ball patrol teams at the Premier Hockey League in South Africa every year since.

Nonhlanhla’s big break came in 2018 when she was appointed Technical Official for the U21 Inter Provincial Tournament. It was a role she repeated for the African Youth Games in Algeria. In 2019, she was Technical Official for the South Africa v Namibia series and in 2020, for the South Africa v Germany series.

Talking about her dual volunteering career as a Team Manager and Technical Official, Nonhlanhla says: “I am passionate about both aspects of the game and feel really privileged to be able to do both. I've been lucky enough to learn from one of the greats, Josie Milella. The experience and passion she has for the game is immeasurable and she definitely someone I look up to and feel honoured to work with."

Original article published http://fih.ch/news/josie-learns-from-the-best/ 

Josie Milella began her volunteering journey in 2003 when she was the team liaison person for the Belgium Men National team at the FIH Champions Challenge. The event was held in Randburg Hockey Stadium in Johannesburg and it was at this point that South African Josie knew that volunteering for hockey events was something about which she was really motivated and enthused.

Josie was in good hands from the start. The tournament director at the Randburg event was Sheila Brown, one of the most experienced and respected hockey administrators in the game, having been Tournament Director at both Olympic and World Cup events. Under Sheila's careful guidance, Josie quickly found her place in the world of hockey volunteering. 

Every year from 2003 onwards, Josie would volunteer for events, learning how various aspects of a tournament worked by throwing herself into each role with energy and a willingness to learn.

It was 14 years later at the 2017 Hockey World League that Josie experienced her steepest learning curve. In the highly pressurised environment of an Olympic qualifying event, Josie was working with FIH Events Manager Eduardo Leonardo and, as she says: “That was a fun event, but boy, I really learned a lot.”

The most recent large scale event that Josie has been involved in was the 2019 Africa Hockey Road to Tokyo in Stellenbosch. Again, this was an Olympic qualifier with all the attendant pressures and stresses but Josie took it all in her stride, with calm competence. Josie’s approach to every event is to see it as a learning opportunity. 

She says that she owes a debt of gratitude to everyone who has helped her along her own hockey journey from complete novice to experienced and highly respected volunteer. “I believe it is an incredible honour to serve the game,” says Josie, with typical humility.

 

Mickey Gordon is a name that has been associated with sport his whole life, none more than hockey. He has devoted his life to developing the sport of hockey with an involvement that incorporates many aspects including playing, coaching, umpiring, administration and more. 

Mickey’s role at SA Hockey has seen him obtain umpiring colours, serve as the SA U21 B Coach as well as being a selector at age group levels of U16, U18 and U21 alongside being an USSA Selector. His biggest and most prized role though, was undoubtedly the 12 years that he has been Convenor of Selectors for the National Women’s side working alongside the likes of Jenny King, Giles Bonnet and Sheldon Rostron to name a few. 

Gordon’s love for the game is second to none and in conversation with him you will immediately feel his passion for hockey. Long after he had stepped away from his role on the SA Hockey Board, Mickey continued to attract top teams to SA in the summer months offering them a training base during his tenure at North West University and the University of the Free State alike. On the back of Mickey moving off from the role of National Convenor of Selectors, SA Hockey CEO Marissa Langeni paid tribute to his wonderful service.

“Mickey Gordon is a wonderful ambassador and servant of the game of hockey in South Africa. He has recently settled into a new key role as part of the local organising committee of the 2021 Womens Junior World Cup.  On behalf of the South African Hockey Association I want to thank Mickey Gordon for his service to the game over the last few decades.”