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

After the opening two matches of the series ended in heavy defeats for the South African Men, you would have been forgiven for expecting Germany to romp home to a third win at Wits University on Thursday night. You would of course been wrong, as the African Champions showed the heart that is a fabric of the South African sporting culture to hold the Germans to a 1-1 draw.

The Germans started the game well and converted with a soft goal through Christopher Ruhr. Siya Nolutshungu in the South African goal would have been disappointed with the way the defence allowed the goal to be scored. If the opening two games had been a display of attacking effectiveness, this game quickly progressed to a game of defensive discipline. Germany were turning the screw with Martin Haner, Mathias Muller and Martin Zwickler dictating possession.

At the end of the half South Africa had faced five penalty corners and denied all of them. Ryan Julius was fantastic in first wave in the absence of Keenan Horne while Nolutshungu made one of the best saves you will see. Ruhr fed Schiffer who had the task of just tapping in, but the South African keeper made his small frame large and got his trailing leg to the ball. Jethro Eustice, Andrew Hobson and Matt Brown were highly instrumental in keeping the game at just a one goal deficit.

Although South Africa were pleased to only be one goal down at the break, coach Ewing would have been frustrated by the amount of easy ball given away, while the game was being played largely in the South African quarter. The half-time team talk seemed to do wonders as the South Africans came out with a higher intensity and levelled matters after a great counter attacking goal.

Bili Ntuli and Sam Mvimbi combined superbly to create space, Ntuli got himself to the baseline and found Nic Spooner in the middle. The German based midfielder fired a bullet shot that was saved by Appel, but Dayaan Cassiem reacted first to find the back of the board. A wonderful crowd at Wits including schoolboys from Middelburg and Jeppe Boys were delighted by the goal.

The Germans raised the tempo but were forced to try elaborate passes that weren’t connected and when they finally did find the breaks, they were thwarted by either fantastic goalkeeping by Rassie Pieterse and Nolutshungu or superb defending. Gareth Heyns had taken a clear leadership role when Jethro Eustice went off injured and it was clear that he was thriving in the role.

The South Africans faced one last penalty corner and Grambusch finally managed to beat Pieterse, but Matt Brown produced a superb goal-line save to hold onto a wonderful result for the South Africans.

Coach Garreth Ewing was quick to downplay the result and focus his team for the final test on Saturday morning, but the fans in attendance, and those watching online knew that this was another step in the progress made under the head coaches’ tutelage. There are many challenges that SA Hockey players face, but when they produce heart like that they can compete with the best in the world.

SA vs. Germany Summer Series – Test Results

1st Test – SA 2-11 Germany
2nd Test – SA 1-7 Germany
3rd Test – SA 1-1 Germany

Photo – Marcel Sigg / Run Ride Dive

An intervention by Eskom and the water tanks malfunctioning meant that the second test between South Africa and Germany at Wits University was delayed by a couple of hours on Sunday. The delay could not dampen the spirit of the Germans and the strode out to convincing 7-1 win and a two nil series lead.

The two sides, who will lock horns in a tough Olympic pool in Tokyo, had caused the two teams to start the game a bit off pace with the technical quality not at the usual standard in the opening interchanges. The South Africans did open with the first shot at goal, but it was blazed over the bar before Germany got their first opportunity in the quarter. It was an all together tighter opening with South Africa giving as good as they got in creating opportunities and a 0-0 score line was a fair reflection of the game.

Germany raised the intensity after the break and despite the best efforts of Rassie Pieterse, they opened the scoring when Niklas Wellen dived in to convert a cross. The Germans were having most of the game at that point and Rassie Pieterse was called on to make several saves but could not stop Marco Miltkau from getting his opening goal. The Germans then had a goal ruled out on the edge of a much needed half time break.

The South Africans burst into life in the second half and pulled a goal back through a wonderful break finished by Richard Pautz on the dive. But Miltkau quickly added his second and third goal to establish a 4-1 lead. In a devastating quarter of hockey, the South Africans could not keep up with the Germans and Lukas Windfelder made it 5-1 from a Penalty Corner. Jonas Gomoll capitalized on South Africa’s yellow card to make it 6-1.

In the final quarter Germany added a little bit of gloss with another penalty corner for Lukas Windfelder while they bossed the final interactions in denying South Africa a chance.

The two teams meet on Thursday evening at Wits for the third test and the second last test of the South African Summer Series.  

Photo – Robert Swanepoel / Run Ride Dive

Germany performed superbly in winning the opening test 11-2 against a somewhat understrength South African Men’s side at Wits University. The Germans showed why they were the gold medallists at the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games as they were clinical in attack.

The Germany side did not hide their big names as all of Tobias Hauke, Florian Fuchs, Martin Hans and Martin Zwickler featured from the touring squad of 26. Germany have only just started their 2020 FIH Pro League campaign, but in truth the focus Is almost entirely on the Tokyo games in July, where the two nations will meet in their fourth game.

Germany were dominant throughout, although as the four penalty corners showed, the South Africans competed spiritedly but ultimately were outplayed in front of a fantastic crowd. Germany’s goal came through Constantin Staib (3), Jonas Gomoll (4), Matthias Muller (2), Malte Helwig and Paul Kaufmann.

Kais Al Saadi, the German coach, shared his thoughts with Hockey.de after the game:

“In parts it was a very refreshing international game, with ups and downs. There were some great combinations and great goals, but also some negligence on the defensive, which led to a whole series of corners and two goals conceded. This shows that the difference today was more on the offensive and less on defending. I'm very happy about a very appealing debut by Paul-Philipp Kaufmann and - especially in the first half - by Alex Stadler in goal. Tomorrow the second game comes with a changed line-up.”

The South African goals game through Bili Ntuli and Ignatius Malgraff making his return to the national team. There will not be a lot of time to lick their wounds as the two teams meet again tomorrow at Wits University. The games are also being live streamed on Shoott South Africa Facebook page

Photo – Robert Swanepoel / Run Ride Dive

The German men are headed to South Africa for a four-test series against the African Champions at Wits University. The Germans have only played two games in the 2020 Pro League so far with a victory and draw against Spain, so will be using the camp to prepare for both the Pro League and the Olympic Games later this year. The 2008 and 2012 Olympic Champions will be hoping to return to the top of the podium in Tokyo this year.

Captain Tobias Hauke has more than 300 caps for the country and is joined by fellow centurions in the German squad in Mathias Muller (116), Lukas Windfeder (111), Martin Haner (249), Martin Zwicker (232), Benedict Furk (167), Niklas Wellen (135), Christopher Ruhr (139), Marco Miltkau (101) and Florian Fuchs (216) in a very strong German squad. The Germans took part in 25 test matches in 29, while the South Africans played just 14. It’s a well-practiced and disciplined side that is going to be a remarkably tough test for the South Africans.

To add to the challenge, apart from the South African players based in Germany, all other European based players are not available, so the likes of Keenan Horne, Austin Smith, Taine Paton and Dan Bell are not available for the series. It does however offer other players the chance to impress Garreth Ewing and his coaching staff as well as the selectors for a seat on the plane to Tokyo but robs the team of building on the good progress that was shown in the USA series.

They have however won 15 of their last 18 test matches and the SA Men will not be a walkover for Germany. Nic Spooner is one of the finest in the squad and plays his club mate and good friend in Hauke, while Bili Ntuli has showed throughout his 50 tests how good he can be with limited goal opportunities. There is some big experience in the likes of Jethro Eustice, Clinton Panther and Rassie Pieterse while Peabo Lembethe’s hockey cv gets enhanced every time he steps on the field.

There is also the added element of opportunity for the South Africans that a single victory against Germany in this series would produce approximately 17 ranking points, where a defeat will lose only approximately 2 points. With the African Champions sitting on the heels of Ireland, these test matches will assist in getting SA closer to the top 10 in the world.

All four matches will be streamed live on Shoott South Africa’s Facebook page, but if you are in Johannesburg head down to Wits for series.

SA vs. Germany Test Series @ Wits University – Fixtures

22/02/2020 – 15:00
23/02/2020 – 15:00
27/02/2020 – 17:00
29/02/2020 – 11:00

SA vs. Germany Test Series – Men’s Squad

Rassie Pieterse, Siya Nolutshungu, Jethro Eustice, Matt Brown, Le-Neal Jackson, Tyson Dlungwana, Chad Futcher, Gareth Heyns, Andrew Hobson, Alex Stewart, Peabo Lembethe, Sam Mvimbi, Nic Spooner, Clinton Panther, Ryan Julius, Dayaan Cassiem, Ignatius Malgraff, Bili Ntuli, Ryan Crowe, Richard Pautz and Rusten Abrahams.

Image - Raw Shuga Photography – Not for Reuse

 

The South African Hockey Men scored in each quarter as they completed a series whitewash over USA with a 5-1 at Ashton College in Ballito this morning. The SA Men gained 20.6 ranking points for the series and have closed the gap on Ireland who are currently ranked 13th to just 30 points.

Things did not start as well as the score line suggests for the South Africans, who had honoured Bili Ntuli before the game for his 50th cap, as the USA Side had three consecutive penalty corners early in the game. The South Africans were resolute in defence with Keenan Horne particularly impressive in charging down as the first wave.

USA were left to rue those chances as South Africa took the lead and from that moment on never relinquished their dominance. The opener came when Le-Neal Jackson, playing in his second test, had a drag flick illegally blocked on the line. Jethro Eustice took the resultant penalty stroke firing it into the roof of the net.

Eustice was called on again in the second quarter when another shot was illegally blocked and the defensive stalwart for the hosts made no mistake with a low finish. The third goal offered a momentary glimpse into the talents of Mustapha Cassiem who produced an up and under that would have made Faf de Klerk proud, to send Owen Mvimbi through. Jonathan Klages came storming out of his goal but when he failed to clear the ball Mvimbi made a difficult chance look simple.

Dayaan Cassiem was the scorer of the fourth for the South Africans, who probably should have had more at that stage, when he reacted first to a blocked shot by Klages, who was making numerous saves to keep the score line respectful. The USA Men did get a consolation goal through Christian de Angelis, but ultimately as they had throughout the series, the hosts had the last laugh.

Breaking forward on another counter, Dayaan Cassiem chose to be unselfish and squared for Taine Paton who will not score many easier International hockey goals for South Africa.

Overall it was a successful series for Garreth Ewing’s side who have looked fantastic in pieces. It will also give the selection team same good thoughts to ponder. They now head up to Johannesburg to take on 6th ranked Germany in four tests with several changes to the squad and another big opportunity for players to raise their hands for the Olympic squad.

SA Summer Series – Legacy Cup Results

SA 4-2 USA
SA 2-1 USA
SA 6-3 USA
SA 5-1 USA

Picture - Raw Shuga Photography - Not for reuse

The SA Hockey Men made it three out of three with a 6-3 win over USA in the penultimate test match at Ashton College in Ballito. The victory confirmed a series victory for the hosts with one game remaining in the four-match showdown.

Things did not start well for the South Africans on Le-Neal Jacksons debut, USA emerged with a fire in the belly and opened the scoring through a superb reverse stick finish by Michael Barminski Jr giving Rassie Pieterse no chance in the SA goal. Although that goal created a nervous tension in the stands, it did not translate onto the field. The hosts showed a massive degree of patience and calmness and slowly exerted their dominance onto the game. They pulled level in the tenth minute. Bili Ntuli drove through the middle before passing to Dayaan Cassiem, the older Cassiem brother then turned to create space and fired a bullet into the bottom corner.

1-1 quickly became 2-1 to the African Champions as Bili Ntuli pounced on a rebound and finished expertly. The striker then doubled his teams lead and his own tally in the game in the second quarter when he collected a cross from Nic Spooner and turned strongly to create space and time for a wonderful finish. It was Ntuli’s 18th International goal in his 49th appearance for the country.

The South Africans should really have stamped their authority on the game and taken it home from there, but the Americans showed why they are a great test for the African men, continuing to fight and show determination. Against the run of play they got themselves back into the game. A blistering penalty corner was saved onto the cross bar by Pieterse, but the rebound was tucked away by the onrushing Jonathan Orozco.

The South Africans re-established their two-goal cushion when Taine Paton and Jethro Eustice combined to set up a Mustapha Cassiem diving deflection that was both aesthetically pleasing and crowd calming. It was the first time that both Cassiem brothers had scored in the same test, much to the delight of their family and the Ashton College crowd.

But once again the South Africans forgot their security conscious nature and left the back door unlocked for the Americans to close the gap through another Aki Kaeppeler penalty corner that Siya Nolutshungu would probably have felt he should have kept out.

The victory, however, was not going to be denied and Dayaan Cassiem made sure of that with an element of luck. His drive to the baseline created space for a cross which appeared destined for a tap in goal for Clinton Panther but a deflection off a USA defender meant the goal went in for Cassiem instead. The South Africans also added one more through a rocket from Daniel Bell at a late penalty corner that gave the score-line the gloss it probably deserved.

The two teams square up tomorrow (Wednesday) at 09:00 for the final game of the series before the Americans will head home and the South Africans, with several changes, will head to Johannesburg to take on Germany in four tests at Wits University.

Image - Caleb Sheppard Photography - not for reuse

The South African Men and United States of America Men locked horns for the second test at a capacity crowd filled Ashton College in Ballito this afternoon. The African Champions held the 1-0 lead in the series after winning the opening game 4-2.

The South Africans started well creating regular opportunities but the likes of Dayaan Cassiem, Nic Spooner, Tevin Kok and Bili Ntuli were all denied by poor finishing, good goalkeeping or a combination of both. The South Africans were, however, fully in control of the game much to the partisan crowd’s pleasure.

That pressure finally told, and the hosts got the deserved lead through Taine Paton playing in his 113th test for his country took advantage of wonderful forward defensive work by his team-mates and emerged into the D with a superb diving finish. It was the goal the South Africans had deserved and although USA had made them work for it, the score was completely fair.

There were a couple of penalty corners kept out before the half time break but at 1-0 up coach Garreth Ewing would have been both happy and frustrated with the lack of killer instinct. His team emerged in the second half with the even more intensity than in the first and they should very much have gone 2-0 up sooner than when skipper Keenan Horne finished off his opportunity after good work around the D.

Once again though the South Africans allowed the Americans back into the game with two green cards and USA finally converted a third PC attempt Aki Kaeppeler. With the score back at 2-1 the South Africans showed no signs of panic and started playing the game more and more in the USA half.

They should have added to the tally with some great opportunities in the final ten minutes, but with the penalty corners not working on the day and some good opportunities squandered they had to settle for a 2-1 win and a 2-0 lead in the series.

The third test takes place at the same venue at 17:00 on Tuesday before the series is wrapped up on Wednesday morning. For the South Africans the attention will then turn to the 6th ranked Germans who will take them on in four tests in Johannesburg.

Picture – Raw Shuga Photograhpy – Not for Commercial Reuse

The South African Hockey Men got their official 2020 Road to Tokyo underway in Ballito today as they took on USA in the first of four test matches. In truth the squad is actually a week or so further along in their prep having played SA “A” in four games, before two warm up unofficial victories against USA.

Of course, the last time these two teams met in an official test match the South Africans produced a thrilling fight back and a sensational winner with 20 seconds remaining at the FIH Hockey Series Final. That win, through Nic Spooner’s intervention, essentially booked South Africa’s spot at the Tokyo Olympics.

It was also a historic test for a few reasons, it was the first outdoor international test match at Ashton College in Ballito, while it was also the first time the two nations would take on each other under the new outdoor hockey rankings. South Africa will be looking to push closer to Ireland in 13th, while USA will be eyeing the top 20 in their progress.

Mustapha Cassiem earned his debut, to make him a dual international (indoor and outdoor) by the time he is 17, it was also umpire Ayden Shrives 50th cap, another dual international of course!

South Africa faced a bit of early pressure from the visitors but took the lead on the back of their own pressure. A brilliant cross field ball picked up Dlungwana whose cross was connected by Ntuli. With a ton of work still to do, Ntuli showed he has the slalom skills for the Winter Olympics too and finished superbly. The hosts would wait until the 23rd minute before they doubled their lead through Clinton Panther. The home favourite picked up a quick counter just in the USA half before he began his 50m trial and finished off after a superb piece of brilliance.

The Americans to their credit did not back down pulling one goal back on the stroke of half time before Aki Kaeppeler levelled. Cutone got the opener for USA capitalizing on the South Africans playing with 9 men for two minutes. A goal mouth melee where he reacted quickest to fire it home. Kaeppeler’s goal coming from the much more regular penalty corner.

The Americans may have been sensing an upset, but South Africa showed that Garreth Ewing’s team is made of sterner things. The South Africans were awarded a stroke and Nic Spooner did what he does best to give the hosts the lead. There was still time for the goal of the game as Mustapha Cassiem received the slip and finished expertly to add an outdoor debut goal to his indoor one against Switzerland last year.

4-2 the final score for the South Africans who take the ranking points, the bragging rights and the lead in the four-test series.

Picture – Raw Shuga Photograhpy – Not for Commercial Reuse