The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has appointed South Africa as the host country for the inaugural FIH Hockey Men’s Nations Cup. The event will take place at the North-West University of Potchefstroom – which successfully hosted the FIH Hockey Women’s Junior World Cup in April this year - from 28 November to 4 December 2022.

The aim of this new yearly event is to offer a top-level competition to the best-ranked teams not participating in the FIH Hockey Pro League and give the winning team the option to be promoted to the FIH Hockey Pro League the next season, precisely. Therefore, the FIH Hockey Nations Cup marks the start of the promotion-relegation principle for the FIH Hockey Pro League, with the winning team of the first FIH Hockey Nations Cup having the chance to be promoted to the 2023-24 FIH Hockey Pro League (provided they meet the necessary requirements for it).

The following eight teams - which include some of the powerhouses of world hockey! - will participate in the very first edition, having qualified based on their position in the FIH World Rankings of May 2021: South Africa, France, Canada, Japan, Korea, Ireland, Pakistan and Malaysia.

FIH CEO Thierry Weil said: “On behalf of FIH, I’d like to thank wholeheartedly the South African Hockey Association for hosting this inaugural edition of the FIH Hockey Men’s Nations Cup. Everyone could see how successful the FIH Hockey Women’s Junior World Cup – the first FIH World Cup to be staged on African soil – was, and we’re delighted to go back to Potchefstroom soon! With the Nations Cup, not only a true hockey festival awaits all hockey fans, but there’s a lot a stake for the teams, including a place within the FIH Hockey Pro League!”

Shaune Baaitjies, Acting CEO of SA Hockey: "South Africa showed our capacity as a world class host with the hosting of the FIH Hockey Women’s Junior World Cup in Potchefstroom earlier this year. The North West University facilities were outstanding and received wonderful reviews from all involved. We are delighted that the FIH has chosen to host the FIH Hockey Nations Cup in Potchefstroom. The South African Men enjoyed playing the home series of games in the FIH Hockey Pro League at the venue and look forward to adding more remarkable memories for the international hockey family. It promises to be a wonderful tournament at a wonderful venue!"

 The inaugural FIH Hockey Women’s Nations Cup will be held in Valencia, Spain, from 11 to 17 December this year.

South Africa concluded their FIH Pro League tournament against Olympic Champions Belgium. The SA Men knew they would have a massive challenge ahead of them as the Belgians had won the previous four encounters with a combined 28-6 score line including the 5-0 victory yesterday.

The game started off sensationally with South Africa winning an early penalty corner following some good work by the returning Dayaan Cassiem. The penalty corner itself was nothing short of perfection as Connor Beauchamp  rifled the ball into the roof of the net. It was a rocket of a penalty corner and gave the African Champions a massive lift.

Belgium would level but it would take a remarkable team goal of quick incisive play to create the goal finished off coolly by Nelson Onana. South Africa though continued to trouble the Belgians and were a good value opposition with Mustapha Cassiem enjoying making a nuisance of himself.

The second quarter continued to follow the pattern of the first with both sides having opportunities and the South Africans looking very dangerous on the counter as the likes of Bili Ntuli, Dayaan Cassiem and Keenan Horne combined fluidly throughout. But the half reached its conclusion with a probably fair score line of 1-1.

Early in the third quarter South Africa had a big chance through skipper Keenan Horne. The Striker was afforded space, but his tomahawk shot flew narrowly over the bar. The Belgians would take that lifeline and in 5 intense minutes push the pressure home.

Florent van Aubel took advantage of a lapse in concentration in the South African defence to leap onto the ball and finish into the back of the net. Tom Boon then followed suite by robbing the ball from Tyson Dlungwana and finishing with incredible pace and added his second from a penalty corner. 4-1 at the end of the third quarter.

South Africa continued to trouble the Belgians and ask questions which led to a reward for the team. Another penalty corner was awarded and the South Africans once again turned to Connor Beauchamp who took the opportunity like a season professional. It was a consolation, but it was a massively deserving one for a superb performance.

For the South Africans all eyes now turn to the Commonwealth Games in 50 days where they will be looking to emulate or improve on their performances from previous tournaments, while applying the lessons taught throughout an incredible FIH Pro League experience.

South Africa took on the Olympic Champions Belgium in their penultimate FIH Pro League fixture in Antwerp. The South Africans welcomed back Nic Spooner and Bili Ntuli, fresh from a third-place finish with their Bundesliga side Harvestehuder, while Belgium welcomed back five players who had a combined 750 caps! The South Africans knew it would be a tough challenge facing the quality of the Tokyo Champions.

The task was compounded by conceding a frustratingly early goal again, as Nicolas de Kerpel found himself in acres of space to easily convert. South Africa created a dangerous opportunity when Mustapha Cassiem effected a turnover and drove into the circle, but de Lora was unable to punish the Belgian error.

Belgium was awarded a penalty corner after a push went unpunished by the umpire, but the South Africans were able to keep the hosts at bay with some determined defending. They kept out another penalty corner shortly after thanks to a wonderful save from Gowan Jones. The defensive work at penalty corners was very impressive, but the South Africans will be frustrated by the number of opportunities they were giving away.

The African champions thought they had the equaliser as Connor Beauchamp penalty corner flick was racing towards the top corner, but unfortunately rebounded off the crossbar. They were awarded another though, but this time fired it wide. 1-0 at the end of the opening quarter.

The second quarter started far more competitively with South Africa even having a period of good possession. However, goal chances were at a limit but a double penalty corner for the Belgians ten minutes gave the hosts the chance, but it was a chance wasted as Tom Boon fired over the top. The goal would come seconds later though as Boon made a superb run on the near post and deflected it over Nolutshungu.

A far better quarter for the South Africans, however it was another that ended 1-0 to the Olympic Gold Medallists and it was 2-0 down at the half-time break.

The second half started with Gowan Jones back in goals and within 1 minute he had to face a penalty corner. As he had done in the first quarter though, he kept them at bay fairly easily. South Africa managed to get a shot at goal as Bili Ntuli produced a snapshot, which was fairly easy to save for van Doren.

Belgium would add their third as Boon scored from a penalty corner, which was immediately reviewed by the South Africans for danger as the ball was off target. Although the evidence was clear the umpires stuck with the on-field decision, disappointingly for the South Africans.

The frustration was further compounded as Connor Beauchamp received a yellow card and immediately Belgium scored from the resultant penalty corner. Gowan Jones then produced another fine save to keep the score the same.

Siya Nolutshungu made a solid save from the next penalty corner, but the rebound fell to Boon and with the aide of a deflection off Dan Bell found its way into the back of the net.

South Africa defended superbly to deny a rampant Belgian side any more opportunities or goals and the game ended 5-0. Our FIH Pro League run completes tomorrow as we face Belgium for the second and final time.

The South African Hockey Men’s participation in the FIH Pro League neared closer to its completion in Spain this evening. The African champions have had a tough inaugural season as the gap between the top nations has been highlighted and was further reminded in a 3-0 win for Spain in Terrassa today.

The South Africans have bemoaned their consistently slow start across the tournament and they definitely looked like they were more up for it in the opening exchanges. Both teams created a number of half opportunities but both were effectively dousing the challenges.

In a quarter lacking quality in the final quarter it was Spain who opened the scoring. The goal came after a goal mouth scramble and the goal was eventually turned in by Basterra, although he had to wait a while as the umpires reviewed the decision before eventually awarding it.

South Africa were 2-0 behind in the second quarter with an opportunistic finish. A cross had deflected high off of Gowan Jones. While everyone watched the ball waiting for where it would land, Marc Recasens reacted brilliantly and stole ahead of Jones to guide the ball home.

Spain were 2-0 up at the break and deservingly so. South Africa would be looking to make it more of a contest in the second half, but would be slightly pleased by the defensive performance.

The second half was without much incident or excitement as both teams seemed to go through the motions. It took 18 minutes of second half action for the goal to be scored and it was from a third field goal through De Ignacio-Simo.

There would be no further goal scoring and for just the second time this season the South Africans were denied a goal.

The SA Men now head over to Antwerp where they will wrap up their FIH Pro League adventure.

The South African Hockey Men continued their adventure in the FIH Pro League today as they took on Spain at the Terrassa Stadium today. It is a stadium that the SA Women will play their pool stage games at the FIH Hockey Women’s World Cup in just under a month.

The game started with an acknowledgement of Jethro Eustice who was earning his 150th cap for the South African Hockey Men.

Spain laid early siege to South Africa’s defence and were able to win two penalty corners in the opening exchanges, however both were well defended while Gowan Jones also pulled off a very good save with his right foot from a snapshot across the goals. A third penalty corner was won off the foot of Mustapha Cassiem, but Gowan Jones pulled off a good instinctive save. Unfortunately for Jones he had to face another two penalty corners in the next couple of minutes and eventually the fifth one counted with Mirralles smashing it into the top corner superbly.

Spain continued to pour the pressure on the African Champions, but Gowan Jones and his defensive line up were able to hold the hosts at bay and ended the quarter 1-0 down.

South Africa gained a bit of confidence early in the second quarter and won a penalty corner 3 minutes in. A great first wave run by Sanches denied the South Africans the equalizer at this junction in the game though.  Despite South Africa making the game a bit more competitive, it was a moment of individual brilliance from Clapes as he slalomed through and beat Nolutshungu to make it 2-0.

Despite a couple of half chances, neither side really tested the keeper and the quarter, and first half drew to a conclusion without the score having changed at the break.

South Africa conceded a third in the third chukka after Gowan Jones made a good save, but the rebound was put away to the keeper’s frustration. To the credit of the South Africans, they continued to look for something in the game and they were eventually awarded with a penalty stroke as Brad Sherwood was bundled over. Jethro Eustice stepped up and fired home superbly to cap his milestone appearance with a goal for his country.

Both sides traded penalty corners, both sides were repelled, and the quarter reached its conclusion with the score 3-1 to the hosts.

South Africa started the final quarter superbly and Taine Paton was given space aplenty and punished the hosts with a rocket low and hard, breaking the gap to just 1 goal. That charge from the South Africans saw the Spanish fight harder and they scored twice to take the game out of reach for the South Africans.

South Africa continued to show fight and pulled another goal back as Taine Paton scored from a penalty corner variation and were awarded one right at the hooter for a chance to close the score line even further, but just wide.

Once again, a slow start proved costly for the South Africans who continue to learn and grow in the FIH Pro League.

The two teams meet gain tomorrow at the same time, 19:00 SA Time, live on Supersport or Watch.Hockey

South Africa continued their FIH Pro League participation with a game against England today at the Lee Valley Hockey Stadium. The South Africans were without a number of players that form the nucleus of the squad, but the opportunity presented itself for players to work their way into the Commonwealth Games, FIH Nations Cup or even the FIH Hockey World Cup teams in the next 9 months.

It also marked the first encounter between the two nations in this guise since March 2017, although of course a number of the players had played in the Great Britain encounter in Tokyo. It was England who started the brightest and were rewarded through a penalty corner. Nick Bandurak fired in a rifled that gave Nolutshungu no chance.

Four painful minutes of the second quarter saw the lead extended with two more penalty corners. Chris Griffiths and Bandurak made it 3-0 with England at that stage looking likely to make it a lot more by the end of the half. England got a fourth through their skipper Condon, but a good referral by the South African so the goal disallowed following a push by Wil Calnan.

England though they were going to make it four before the break, but the celebrations were halted by a sensational save by Nolutshungu to deny Ian Sloan. And at half time it was 3-0 to the hosts who were good value to for the lead.

England made it 4-0 with a lovely finish from Sam Ward, playing his 150th test match. He slid onto a pinpoint ball from Jack Turner to deflect it home.

South Africa finally arrived at the goal scoring party, and they did it twice in a minute. First the lethal Matthew Guise-Brown showed why he is one of the most revered penalty corner takers in world hockey with a superb finish. The pace on the ball mean James Mazarelo could do nothing to keep it out.

While he would have been not too disappointed with the concession of the Guise-Brown goal, he would have been frustrated by the way he allowed SA Skipper Keenan Horne to score. The skipper effected a turnover and fired in hard and low straight through the legs of the England shot stopper.

South Africa were unable to add to the score as England saw out the final minutes without too much panic and the final score read 4-2 to the hosts.

The two sides will meet again tomorrow at the same time at the same venue. The game will be live on Supersport and the Watch.Hockey App.

South Africa’s one year invitation to the FIH Pro League will conclude with six matches in European Leg as Garreth Ewing’s team meet England, Spain and Belgium. The team earned their first point of the tournament in Argentina, when they were unlucky to lose on a penalty shootout in the second test.

The South Africans are once again forced to make several changes from the team that tested Argentina superbly due to availability challenges once again. Skipper Tim Drummond misses out due to club commitments along with vice-captain Bili Ntuli and Nic Spooner.

Double Olympian Taine Paton returns having missed the trip to Argentina while Trevor de Lora will have the opportunity to add to his debut caps earned in Buenos Aires. There are also recalls for Gowan Jones, Tyson Dlugnwana and Matt Brown who featured in the Potchefstroom leg of the tournament.

For South Africa the FIH Pro League has been a steep learning curve and one that has reminded the team of the gap that exists to the top of the FIH Hockey World. However, its been a classroom with wonderful positives and great growth as the men look towards the Commonwealth Games, FIH Nations Cup and the FIH Hockey World Cup. All in the next 8 months.

Head Coach Garreth Ewing, who missed the Argentina leg with illness, is excited for the tough challenge that lies ahead:

“I’m looking forward to re-joining the team on another challenging round of Pro League. We are growing every day with the opportunity we have earned to compete at this level and I know that the players will be gaining even more experience in the six tough matches on this trip.”

FIH Pro League – SA Men’s Squad – European Leg

Player

Caps

Player

Caps

Gowan Jones

58

Peabo Lembethe

52

Jethro Eustice

147

Matt de Sousa

23

Connor Beauchamp

8

Sam Mvimbi

29

Dan Bell

71

Dan Sibbald

44

Le-Neal Jackson

20

Keenan Horne

82

Clayton Saker

7

Brad Sherwood

10

Tyson Dlungwana

60

Trevor de Lora

2

Matt Brown

16

Rusten Abrahams

13

Taine Paton

131

Siya Nolutshungu

36

 

FIH Pro League – SA Men’s Fixtures– European Leg – SA Time – All fixtures live on Supersport

29 May 2022 – England vs. South Africa – 13:00 – London
29 May 2022 – England vs. South Africa – 13:00 – London
4 June 2022 – Spain vs. South Africa – 19:00 – Terrassa
5 June 2022 – Spain vs. South Africa – 19:00 – Terrassa
7 June 2022 – Belgium vs. South Africa – 18:00 – Antwerp
8 June 2022 – Belgium vs. South Africa – 18:00 - Antwerp 

South Africa secured their first ever FIH Pro League point in a remarkable 2-2 draw with Argentina. Losing out on the full house of points by losing 2-1 in a shootout. The result is the first time the South Africans have not tasted defeat against Argentina in 11 years.

There was encouragement in their opening test against Argentina as they fought back from two early goals to almost pull level. In fact, had it not been for a remarkable save from Bosso the African champions may have got their opening point of the tournament. Today they had the opportunity to try again as the two teams completed their FIH Pro League fixture against each other in Buenos Aires.

Playing in front of a packed crowd South Africa were desperate to start better than they had in the opening game where they were two goals down early on and constantly chasing the game. They achieved this objective with a more settled start as they did not allow the same Argentinean tempo up front. The visitors were showing some good intent, but not quite finding the connections up front.

The match was heating up and a green card a piece followed shortly. South Africa had a penalty corner awarded but was correctly overturned as the infringement was just outside the circle. South Africa’s high pressure was troubling the hosts defence as the opening quarter edged to a completion. An outstanding overhead found Brad Sherwood through and from a tight angle the former U21 star dinked it over the top. Argentina then won a penalty corner with just one minute remaining before the first break. The first attempt was saved superbly by Jethro Eustice on the post before the second was chased down superbly by Le-Neal Jackson. Goalless at the end of the first quarter in a very evenly contested battle.

Argentina raised the tempo in the second quarter and were rewarded with a penalty corner that was finished into the bottom left corner paste Estiaan Kriek. Another unforced error by the South Africans gave another penalty corner to the Argentines as the hosts were starting to dominate the proceedings. This time Ferrero fired it far wide to the relief of the South Africans.  

South Africa created a couple of half chances, but the next quality chance was presented to Argentina with a penalty corner after a push was spotted. It was fired well wide by Catan as Argentina failed to make their chances count. At the half-time break it was just 1 goal in it with the Argentineans 1-0 up.

The second half started with poor discipline from the hosts and received a green and yellow in the opening minutes. Bili Ntuli created a goal scoring opportunity but struck straight at the keeper. The effort being led by Ntuli was rewarded with an Ntuli goal reacting quickest after Sam Mvimbi’s shot was saved and the South Africans were level. The run by Ntuli off the ball was something that will make its way into coaching manuals for years to come.

Within seconds though the South Africans had once again conceded a good opportunity giving a penalty corner to the hosts. They were let off as poor execution saw the opportunity doused, which saw the South Africans go forward and finally win their own first penalty corner of the game. Matt Guise-Brown was not on the pitch, so the honours were awarded to Connor Beauchamp. And it was honours alright as his rocket pc was fired into the side of the net! Brad Sherwood almost made it three as he ran through brilliantly and his shot fired into the side netting.

The late afternoon sun brought out more fieriness in a game that always threatened to reach boiling point and both sides ended the third quarter with a player in the sin-bin. South Africa would have another 4 minutes in the first quarter without Ntuli and would be keen to keep the ascendancy. They almost added when Brad Sherwood rushed his shot, he probably didn’t realise how much time he had on the ball.  As the yellow card expired South Africa still held a one goal lead.

Chad Futcher was called into action on the goal line where he showed incredible composure to save the ball and scoop out a brilliant aerial to remove the danger. Argentina were camping in the South African half and earned another penalty corner when Acosta played the ball off the foot of Beauchamp. Yet again though Argentina took the opportunity and rejected it with poor execution.

South Africa were inviting too much pressure on at the back and the 2016 Olympic Gold medallists were looking the more likely to score the game’s fourth goal, spurred on by a vociferous home crowd.

A contentious penalty corner was awarded to Argentina which Keenan Horne charged down superbly. But a re-award was given and the chance was fired far wide. Four minutes remained for South Africa to win their first ever FIH Pro League game. The challenge was going to be even tougher though as a yellow card was shown to Guise-Brown.

Argentina were keen to take advantage of the Yellow card and won themselves a penalty corner and at last they pulled level and surged forward looking for the winner. South Africa, despite finishing the game with two players less they held on for their first FIH Pro League point and a shootout to decide the winner.

In the shootout both keepers saved the first attempt well, before the second attempts both led to goals, South Africa’s through a stroke. 1-1. Ntuli then struck the woodwork after superb work before Martins missed his chance. 1-1. Chad Futcher was ruled to have blocked the keeper with his foot and Argentina scored to take the lead. 1-2. Brad Sherwood was fouled but scored, however the umpire blew before the ball crossed the line and a stroke was awarded. The stroke was missed and the Argentines were victorious by 2-1 in the shootout.

A disappointing end for the South Africans, but a positive trip to Argentina as the team look to continue to build towards the Commonwealth Games, the Nations Cup and the FIH Hockey World Cup.     

South Africa continued their inaugural debut campaign in the FIH Pro League in Buenos Aires as they took on Argentina. South Africa are participating in the tournament for this season only as a stand-in for Australia who had withdrawn due to COVID Related travel restrictions.  

The South Africans had lost the eight games in the Potchefstroom leg with lessons shown and improvement throughout losing 2-1 and 3-1 in the final two games to France and Germany respectively. The challenge would not be any easier taking on the 2016 Olympic Gold medallists and the current world number six.

They welcomed back Tim Drummond, Sam Mvimbi and Matt Guise-Brown to the team but were also missing a few stalwarts in the squad due to club or work commitments. Coach Garreth Ewing also was unable to travel due to recovery from illness.

It was a frustrating start of the South Africans as they could not get stick to the ball and an early penalty corner was converted by the Argentines through a deflection, although nobody appeared to be certain that the ball had crossed the line. Despite the umpires reviewing there was no clear evidence and the goal for Frederico Monja. One quickly became two as the Argentinean contingent settled quickly and the South Africans were struggling with the pace, Fernandez finishing easily.

Despite dominating the possession, the South Africans pulled a goal back with some good high pressing. Vice-Captains Keenan Horne and Bili Ntuli combined for Ntuli to react to a save quickly and finish into the back of the net and breath some life into the African Challenge.

South Africa earned their first penalty corner in the second quarter and despite a mis-trap created a wonderful opportunity, but the chance was missed as debutant Guy Morgan was unable to get a solid connection on the cross. Poor Discipline from South Africa led to a penalty corner for Argentina shortly after, but Siya Nolutshungu was quick with his feet to deny the South Americans.

It was a much better showing in the second quarter from the African Champions who were able to deny the opportunities for the hosts while also limiting the amount of possession. The first half ended 2-1 to the hosts with both looking to turn it on in the second half.

An early green card for South Africa was shown to Guy Morgan and the Argentinean side were looking to raise the tempo and pressure on their visitors. The South Africans were able to hold out during the numbers advantage though and the score remained 2-1 to the hosts.

Argentina was awarded a penalty corner due to a stick check from Jethro Eustice halfway through the quarter and it would be telling as the Argentines would score with a low shot by Lautaro Ferraro straight through Estiaan Krieks legs to re-establish a two-goal lead.

Good work by Chad Futcher earned the South Africans a penalty corner with just a couple of minutes remaining in the third quarter. Guise-Brown superbly finished the opportunity, his 30th international goal for the penalty corner star. But almost immediately South Africa were sucker punched as the two-goal lead was restored when Sarto picked up the loose ball in the circle and fired home easily. Despite some good possession for the South Africans, they were not able to score before the hooter and it remained 4-2 with 15 minutes remaining.

The influential Bili Ntuli won South Africa another penalty corner three minutes into the final quarter. It was a rocket for Guise-Brown to make it 4-3 and put the South Africans back in the hunt once again. Debutant Trevor de Lora nearly had a chance but a brilliant save by Bosso denied him as South Africa sought for a leveller.

South Africa were pressing high while the Argentines were trying their hardest to dilute the time remaining. The pressure from the South Africans paid dividends as they won a penalty corner with just 4 minutes remaining on the clock. A wonderful save from Bosso though resulted in another penalty corner and it was another Bosso save from a Guise-Brown drag that kept the one goal lead.

South Africa were desperate for an equalizer and pulled keeper Siya Nolutshungu, but it was not to be for the South Africans, who had to settle for a one goal defeat.

Bili Ntuli, South African Vice-Captain, shared his thoughts after the game.

“It was an honour to play in this brilliant stadium with this wonderful crowd. We want to continue to compete and develop and we look forward to the privilege of playing again tomorrow!”

The two teams will meet again on Sunday 24 April at 21:00 SA Time to complete their two tests for the 2021 FIH Pro League.

 

South African Hockey announce the appointment of Justin Rosenberg and Cameron Mackay as the Head Coach and Assistant Coach of the SA Indoor Hockey Men respectively. The two who had been appointed to their roles for the FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup in Belgium before it was cancelled due to the global pandemic. They oversaw South Africa’s 2-0 victory over Namibia in December in the Indoor African Series.

The two are appointed until the completion of the next FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup currently provisionally planned for 2025.

The SA Indoor Hockey Men are currently ranked 11th in the World and have won the last three African Indoor Cup of Nations.

Speaking about the appointment coach Justin Rosenberg was pleased with the opportunity to get down to work:

“We fortunate to be in a position we currently are after the last IPT to have the talent and depth to indoor hockey to the next level. I’m honoured to be part of the next phase of SA Indoor hockey.”

Assistant Coach Cameron Mackay was excited and grateful for the opportunity:

“I’m honoured and grateful to be appointed as the SA Men’s Indoor Assistant Coach. The current group of players has limitless ambition, it’s a contagious environment to be involved and I can’t wait to get going!”

SA Hockey CEO Marissa Langeni wished the men well in their endeavours

“Although the disappointment was prevalent at the cancellation of the FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup earlier this year, the excitement for the SA Indoor Hockey Men’s program and progress continues unabated. We look forward to seeing Justin and Cameron continue to grow the program and the future success of the brand!”