The South African Hockey Association are pleased to announce the CTM Showdown between the South African Hockey Men and the SA U21 side. The CTM Showdown will take place this week at North West University in Potchefstroom as the two teams contest four matches to assist both with vital preparation.

The SA Hockey Men are obviously embarking on Tokyo in the next couple of weeks and are looking to continue an impressive run of form, that was started before the Covid pandemic struck. The team had a series victory over USA before an impressive draw with Germany. They returned to action with a 5-0 series win over Namibia before COVID restrictions denied them the chance of playing against Malaysia and potentially moving up in the world rankings.

For the SA U21 Men this is a massive relief after months of uncertainty and delays. The team lost out on the CTM Premier Hockey League and the U21 IPT over the past 18 months as a result of the pandemic. The rescheduled Junior Africa Cup of Nations takes place in Namibia in August, where the team have aspirations of qualifying for the Junior World Cup. The opportunity to have competitive action is something captain Guy Morgan is looking forward to.

“We are looking to get out there against our SA Men and offer them a good competition and tough battle. We are not just taking them on for the experience, we are wanting to compete and we will use this to prepare for our own qualifiers. We are extremely grateful to CTM and North West University for giving us this opportunity to prepare.”

SA U21 Head Coach Sihle Ntuli is also the assistant coach for the men’s Senior side and he is eagerly looking forward to the series, as he shared with Hockey the Podcast.

“For the first week as Head Coach I will be fully in the U21 camp. As I know a lot of the plans of the senior squad, it offers us a great opportunity to test them ahead of Tokyo. Thank you to Garreth and the team for the invitation and more importantly to CTM and Northwest University for their amazing support! We are looking to use this to grow, to learn and to develop on our goals.”

CTM have been a fantastic supporter of SA Hockey for a long time, including as title sponsor of the CTM Premier hockey League an event that created opportunities over the years for new talent to emerge at a high-performance level event. Their support of the Showdown offers yet another superb notch on an impressive sponsorship ladder.

Marissa Langeni, CEO of SA Hockey, thanked CTM for their continued support of South African Hockey.

“After a difficult year of hockey postponements and delays, it’s great to have CTM on board for the Showdown. CTM have been a leader in their support of SA Hockey over the past few years and we are immensely grateful for this. We look forward to a competitive series helping the Senior Mens team and the U21 Mens team with their Olympic preparation and the Junior Africa cup.”

The CTM Showdown will be four matches taking place on 16, 17, 19 & 20 June and will be streamed live streamed (Streaming details on the Facebook page). All games at 16:00.

Listen to the Podcast here https://iono.fm/e/1055677 

As the clouds opened up on Northcliff High School on the final evening of the test series between the hosts and Namibia, the South Africans also opened up in the second half to wrap up the series 5-0. It was a series that at times showed the lack of competitive action over the past year, but at times showed the talent on display in African hockey.

The first half did not offer many highlights other than DJ Strauss producing a fine save from a Ntuli drive and Fagan Hansen firing wide after a goal mouth melee dropped the ball into his path. At half time it remained 0-0 and a game that had produced very little to get excited about. It was clear however that Garreth Ewing had inspired his team at half time as they came out firing.

Tyson Dlungwana created space and drove around four Namibian players and crossed it strongly for Keenan Horne to dive in and finish. It was a finish that Horne made look easier than it was. One became two in sensational fashion. After some good possession Andrew Hobson fed the General, Peabo Lembethe, played a good ball to Bili Ntuli whose touch to play the ball into the path of Brandon Panther was exemplary. Panther took a touch and finished sublimely.

Another combination goal was next for the South Africans as Rusten Abrahams, Bili Ntuli, Alex Stewart and Keenan Horne interchanged passes for the skipper to dive in and net his second. The togetherness shown by the team when they celebrated the goal was testament to the togetherness the squad has fostered over the past 24 months.

South Africa would make it four when the ball found its way through to Matt De Sousa in the D. He took the touch, shifted across and as the rain came down de Sousa fired into the back of the net. The South Africans would add a fifth in the fifth test match to round out a five nil series win. Bili Ntuli mistrapped his first touch, but he fired it across brilliantly to cap off a good all-round performance for the striker, his 20th International goal.

Namibia who were without a few players due to injury including Liam Hermanus, gave a great account of themselves in the series. The focus for many of the players will now shift to the U21 World Cup Qualifier they are hosting later this year. The top two teams there will move to the world cup in India in December.

For South Africa eyes will shift to a potential series against Malaysia and the opportunity to move ahead of Ireland into 13th in the World Rankings.

Photo – Marcel Sigg

South Africa produced their best first half display of the series to sweep aside the spirited Namibians in the fourth test at Northcliff High School. Having been tested in more stringently in the second and third tests, the hosts were able to bring a more productive and streamlined approach to the turf and were able to complete their game plan much more effectively.

They opened the scoring in the 14th minute, having already crafted one or two good chances, with a well worked team goal that saw Keenan Horne collect and finish past his opposite skipper DJ Strauss. It was a goal of guile and craftmanship that made it 1-0, but it was a goal of pure unadulterated brute force that made it 2-0 as Brandon Panther almost ripped a hole in the net when he turned and fired superbly into the top left corner. It was a proper rocket that some defenders are still trying to see.

In the second chukka South Africa continued to create the opportunities including a period of sustained pressure and circle entries that ultimately led to goal number 3. Andrew Hobson turned provider again firing the ball into a crowded circle and Ignatius Malgraff had peeled off the back to turn it into the goal. At 3-0 South Africa were comfortable, but that comfort became a bit more luxurious shortly after.

11 passes between 8 players saw the ball move from the back to Rusten Abrahams at the top of the D. The Indoor Hockey national vice-captain shaped to move outwards but cut back inside and fired a wonderful strike into the top left hand corner. DJ Strauss in the Namibian goal had no chance and Abrahams, and his teammates, were delighted.

Although the second half saw the African champions back off in their intensity, they were able to keep the Namibians at arm’s length throughout the game, with limited chances created. They were able to add to the scoreboard two more times. First in the third chukka when a moment of real quality form Bili Ntuli set up Mustapha Cassiem for a deflection into the back of the net. Cassiem continuing a great run of goalscoring form in the series.

The last goal of the game would come in the final chukka as Ignatius Malgraff found a pocket of space and left birthday boy Ernest Jacobs and surged into the d. He looked up for the cross but spotting a gap fired his shot past debutant Alex Kurangera in the Namibian goal.

The game finished at 6-0 with a 4-0 series lead ahead of the final game on Friday night.

 

Photo: Marcel Sigg / Run Ride Dive

The South African Hockey Men and their neighbours renewed pleasantries tonight at Northcliff High School in Johannesburg for the third test. The match saw the hosts in their new TK kit on the day that the SA Hockey and TK announced their new partnership.

The Namibians who had impressed in a heartfelt performance on Sunday where the crossbar denied them the draw, were looking to show a continued improvement and possibly snatch a result. The South Africans welcomed back Daniel Bell into the team having arrived back from club duty in Belgium.

The game started with a more focussed approach from the South Africans with the likes of Chad Futcher, Leneal Jackson, Jethro Eustice and Bell seeing a lot of ball. South Africa fashioned an early chance where Mustapha Cassiem deflected for the top right corner, but it was a good save from DJ Strauss. Strauss would be a little frustrated with his effort for the goal though in truth. South Africa won the penalty corner, the injection was good and Chad Futcher fired in a good penalty corner. Strauss got his pad to it, but it bundled over the line. It was Futcher’s first outdoor goal for South Africa to couple with his indoor international haul.

South Africa would turn one into two before the end of the first chukka with Mustapha Cassiem finishing off a team move. That marked Cassiem’s fifth international goal in just his 7th match, a remarkable start to his outdoor career. Unfortunately that was the last of significant action in the first half and 2-0 remained the score at the break.

Both teams searched for the next goal, which in turn would be the final goal of the game. The South Africans were the team to get it as a wonderful run from Andrew Hobson along the baseline laid the ball across and Ignatius Malgraff was able to tap into an empty net. Malgraff will not have many easier goals in his career, but he will be delighted all the same.

Despite a double yellow card for the South African Men at the end they were able to hold on despite the numerical disadvantage and seal the series 3-0. The two teams will meet again on Wednesday and Friday for the final two test matches of a hotly contested series.

The matches will be streamed live on the SA Hockey Association Facebook page and the Watch Hockey App.

Photo – Marcel Sigg / Run Ride Dive

 

The South African and Namibian Hockey Men locked horns for the second time in 24 hours after the first test on Saturday, an unfamiliar feeling after the coronavirus pandemic enforced break in action. The hosts were looking to raise the intensity from the impressive first game, while Namibia were desperate to show an improved performance for their watching supporters at home.

South Africa were a bit sloppy in the opening exchanges, losing ball fairly regularly, while Namibia had definitely come into the game with added intensity and were causing the favourites a number of frustrating moments. The South Africans, playing in their Black Simunye Limited edition kit to stand together against gender-based violence, were able to open the scoring.

A penalty corner was won by the South Africans and when Chad Futcher pulled off a well-executed German, Mustapha Cassiem managed his fourth international goal through the legs of DJ Strauss. You could see the management team were delighted with the well-executed variation.

After the one way show on Saturday, many would have expected the South Africans to take that initiative and strike home the advantage. However, it was not to be as the few forays into the Namibian D offered very little and the ball was turned over on numerous occasions much to the frustration of the coaching staff.

Namibia began to build momentum and eventually were rewarded with a penalty corner. The shot was well hit by Ernest Jacobs, but Estiaan Kriek made the save, unfortunately the rebounding ball struck Jethro Eustice on the line and Brynn Cleak, the man of the match on the day, stood up and finished superbly. South Africa would have their own penalty corner on the verge of half time but were unable to convert and found themselves level at the break.

The African champions came out with renewed vigour in the second half and got an early reward as the early possession created a shooting opportunity for Sam Mvimbi, who put his finish into the bottom corner for his first international goal. There was not much that DJ Strauss could do with the ball flying through a group of players leaving him unsighted.

Once again, the thought would have been that the South Africans would tighten the noose and go for the jugular, but credit to the Namibians who refused to back down and created nuisance consistently. In the final minute of the game trailing by just 1 Namibia were awarded a penalty corner. The resultant penalty corner produced the most dramatic moment of the game.

The push was mis-trapped, but eventually the ball worked its way back to Cleak. The Namibian fired the ball into the D and after a deflection Estiaan Kriek was caught in two minds and got a pad to the ball. The ball fell to Percy Bartham just 4 metres from goal and he looked to tap into an empty net, but somehow the ball struck the crossbar and South Africa held on to a victory.

The third game of the series takes place on Tuesday night at 19:00. The game will be live streamed on FIH Watch Hockey as well as the SA Hockey Association Facebook page.

Photo – Marcel Sigg

A wait of 428 days finally came to an end for the South African Hockey Men as they got themselves back on the turf for the first time since the worldwide covid pandemic changed the playing surface from Astro to Zoom. The South African’s were in the mood to make some statements on the day and the first of those emerged in the kit they were wearing. Joining in the movement, as displayed by the Protea Women, the SA Men wore a black kit to make a stand against gender-based violence.

The team did not take long to make an on-field statement either. Brandon Panther, playing his first test for South Africa since February 2017 was able to convert his own turnover with a superb reverse stick strike into the bottom right corner. One would quickly become two as Keenan Horne, captain of the SA Hockey Men, was on hand to finish after an error from the Namibian defense and finish easily past DJ Strauss in the Namibian goal.

Estiaan Kriek in the South African Goal was awarded his debut and was keen to make the most of the opportunity, denying a break from Scholtz first and then a very good save from Ernest Jacobs off his right leg. Kriek would not be tested too much more in the game, but he will be delighted that he got that first cap for his country and that he was able to keep a clean sheet in the quarters he played.

South Africa were turning the screw once again as they held onto possession and started dominating territory as well. They eventually managed to add the third on the stroke of half time as a great show and go from Bili Ntuli opened a pocket of space that the dynamic striker was never going to miss. He proved me right superbly. 3-0 up at half time and as far as shaking the cobwebs off it was job done for the men.

Ignatius Malgraff had endured a frustrating first half, but he was able to add his name to the scoresheet. A great drive through the middle created the space before he picked up Brandon Panther and the goal scorer turned provider for Malgraff to run in and finish. Shortly after Rusten Abrahams and Mustapha Cassiem were able to show the understanding built on the indoor court as they combined brilliantly for Cassiem to net his third international goal in his fifth start.

Abrahams was able to get his first international outdoor goal after this, but Richter van Rooyen will be disappointed that he was unable to keep the shot out. The SA Men were able to get one later on as Ntuli finished another chance to make it 7-0. The score line could have been more, but after a year of no action there were some promising statements made by the SA Men. None more important than standing together as one against Gender Based Violence.

The men will wear the limited edition Simunye kit tomorrow again. Fans are encouraged to get involved in the conversation. You can buy a replica Simunye kit from TK Sport SA, where a portion of the proceeds will go to the fight against gender-based violence.

The two teams will lock horns again tomorrow at 15:30. Spectators are not allowed due to the COVID regulations; however, the match will be streamed on the SA Hockey Association Facebook page as well as the FIH Watch Hockey app.

You can also re-watch the match on Facebook here.

Photo: Marcel Sigg

The South African Hockey Men, in collaboration with TK Sports South Africa, will play in the limited edition black Simunye kit (we are one) as a stand against gender-based violence. A movement that has seen support garnered around sports fields already, including the Proteas women playing in a black kit will now count the SA Hockey Men as part of the movement.

When president Cyril Ramaphosa declared gender-based violence as the second pandemic to hit South Africa in 2020, many around the country chose to stand up and be the difference. The SA Hockey Men, returning to international action for the first time in 428 days, felt it was an integral opportunity to not be silent and make a stand together.

Head Coach Garreth Ewing on the limited edition Simunye Kit

“As men we have a responsibility to lead the fight against gender-based violence. We are grateful that we have the opportunity to use our platform to stand together. We would like to thank SA Hockey and TK for backing us in this endeavour.”

Marissa Langeni, CEO of SA Hockey, was delighted to show support to the movement.

“As a sporting community we have a collective responsibility to be at the forefront of leading through example. I am immensely grateful for the support of TK in coming together to make a statement that will hopefully be felt across the country. To Garreth Ewing and his team, we salute you for your steadfast support to ending gender-based violence.”

The men will wear the limited-edition kit in the first and second test matches against Namibia. Although no spectators are allowed the games are screened on the Watch Hockey App free of charge. Fans are also encouraged to engage in the movement online with #ENDGBV and #Simunye in pledging support for one of the countries biggest challenges.

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

The South African Hockey Men last played a competitive test match on the 27 February 2020, when they held the Germans to a sublime 1-1 draw at Wits University. Coach Garreth Ewing could hardly anticipate what would happen as the canvas that his art was drawn was confiscated, hidden and ultimately thrown away due to the covid pandemic.

But on 1 May, 428 days since that encounter, the SA Hockey Men will take to the turf again as Northcliff High School plays host to a five match test series between the hosts and their African neighbours Namibia. Although the matches have no tournament impact, the new FIH rankings means that both teams will be competing for points. The South Africans will be looking to close the gap on Ireland in 13th while Namibia could overtake Cyprus into 58th with a good series.

The South African Men have been doing a lot of work off the field with a very intense programme building towards the Tokyo Olympics, but many of the squad will be relishing the chance to be back on the turf and in competitive action. With eyes on Tokyo, players will be looking to cement their spot on the plane or at least cause the selection team a much larger headache!

For Namibia many of the players involved will be looking to prepare for the U21 World Cup African Qualifier they are hosting later this year, while the senior players will be looking to secure their spots in the African Cup of Nations in Ghana in January next year.

Coach Garreth Ewing was eagerly anticipating the clash with Namibia.

“The most important thing is getting some competitive action back into the team, we have done a lot of work off the field, but the time for talking is done, we want to start playing. We want to thank Trevor Cormack and the Namibian team for helping us get this going, its an important part of African Hockey that we play more often against each other!”

The five matches will be streamed on the Watch Hockey app as well as the SA Hockey Facebook page. The fixtures are as follows:

1 May – 15:30
2 May – 15:30
4 May – 19:00
5 May – 19:00
7 May – 19:00

SA Hockey Men’s Team vs. Namibia

No

Name

1

Siya Nolutshungu

2

Chad Futcher

3

Andrew Hobson

4

Leneal Jackson

5

Tyson Dlungwana

6

Jethro Eustice

7

Alex Stewart

8

Dan Sibbald

9

Matt de Sousa

10

Rusten Abrahams

11

Owen Mvimibi

12

Sam Mvimbi

13

Peabo Lembethe

14

Ignatius Malgraff

15

Brandon Panther

16

Mustapha Cassiem

17

Bili Ntuli

18

Keenan Horne

19

Dan Bell

20

Estiaan Kriek

 

Source: Jan Kruger/Getty Images Europe

SA Hockey is shocked and saddened by the sudden passing of the multi-talented Fabian Gregory. Fabian excelled as an all-round sportsman at school, representing Border at Athletics, Baseball, Cricket, Football and Hockey in various age group teams. His leadership attributes saw him in a role as captain in his school Hockey and Cricket teams.

He obtained national school colours in Hockey and Cricket in the SACOS era. Fabian achieved provincial hockey colours for both Border and Western Province.

The well-liked Fabian qualified as a teacher and quickly got involved in coaching at school and club level. He embraced the challenge of achieving his coaching qualifications in both hockey and cricket, which afforded him the chance to grow as a coach and to take up coaching opportunities in both sports in various provinces.

Fabian took on the position of Coaching Education Manager at SA Hockey in 2008. He was instrumental in the reviewing and restructuring of the SA Hockey Coach Education Scheme, which became the cornerstone of the current SA Hockey Coach Education Framework. Given his background in Education, Fabian excelled as the lead coaching facilitator and coaching manager that coordinated the SA Hockey & Dutch Hockey coach education exchange programme. 

Fabian took on national opportunities as a highly qualified coach himself from as early as 2004 when he took on the role as Assistant Coach of the SA/u19 and the SA ‘A’ Mens Manager. He served various national teams noticeably as the coach of the SA u17 and u18 Boys, SA u21 Women and the Assistant Coach of the SA Women.  In 2014 he made a switch and was appointed the National Mens Coach. As a coach he represented SA at different international competitions with his best highlights being the Africa Cup and Olympic Qualification events of 2006, 2007, 2011 and 2015, the Womens World Cups of 2006, 2010 and 2014, the Junior Womens World Cup of 2009, the Commonwealth Games of 2010 and 2014, and the Olympic Games of 2008 and 2012.

Fabian was presented with his FIH Coach certificate in 2016, this is the highest level of FIH Education.

In 2016 Fabian took up an opportunity to coach in Hong Kong at club level and was eventually appointed at as the Hong Kong National Mens Coach a roll he fulfilled until his untimely passing.

Fabian was highly regarded in African Hockey circles and was always willing to impart & share his knowledge with other African Hockey coaches. He was highly regarded within the international hockey coaching arena.

He made a huge impact on the standard of coaching within South Africa & Africa and has been attributed by many players at all levels as the biggest influence in their hockey development. The tributes seen since his passing speak volumes about the passion he had for the game, his special ability for talent identification and his mentorship role for both coaches and players alike.

We pay tribute to Fabian Gregory today and express our sincere condolences to his son Jamie, his family, his friends and the hockey community at large.

 

The fourth and final test match of the 2020 Summer Series between South Africa and Germany at Wits University this morning has been called off. There was a technical fault at the venue that was unable to be rectified in the appropriate time. 

The South African Hockey Association would like to apologise to the fans who made their way to the sadium, the players and the German management team for the inconvenience caused. Further we would like to thank Germany for a wonderful series and wish them all the best for the Pro League and the Tokyo Olympics later this year. 

Image - Robert Swanepoel / Run Ride Dive