South Africa and Korea completed their Junior World Cup 2021 journey as they played out the 9th place playoff. For the Korean’s it was on opportunity to end the tournament that had far loftier ambitions on a high, while the South Africans had the opportunity to complete their highest ever Junior World Cup finish, something they had at least earned a share of before the game.

The South Africans started the game of the better and created several opportunities which they were unable to convert and slowly but surely it allowed Korea to develop a foothold in the game. Despite both teams’ best efforts, the half time score line was a fair 0-0.

The game sprung to life in the second half when Trevor de Lora surged into the circle only for a mistimed tackle to award the first penalty corner of the game to the South Africans. Skipper Guy Morgan stepped up and produced the most venomous flick of the tournament that almost tore through the net to give the lead to the African nation.

South Africa had the momentum and created a few circle penetrations and shots at goal in the immediate minutes after that without scoring. Korea should have levelled as they broke with two strikers, but the opportunity was wasted. As the third quarter ran down there was time for another big South African chance, but it went astray as Marvin Simons fired wide as he lost his balance. One quarter remained with the score 1-0 to South Africa.

The men in green and gold went all out in the final quarter, and they sensed their moment to re-write the history books and it was the inspirational Guy Morgan that doubled the lead with his second of the game and sixth of the tournament from another penalty corner.

As the celebrations were continuing across the country the South Africans landed another punch, that ultimately had a knockout feeling to it. Trevor de Lora stealing in and finishing superbly. Zenani Kraai though stuck in a fourth after a free-flowing team movement with a late Posthumus touch left an open goal which Kraai found with tremendous joy. 4-0.

It should have probably been more as the South Africans missed a few chances that you would be forgiven for thinking they would score,

After the game man of the match Guy Morgan shared his thoughts:

“We were a bit frustrated by our slow start, but after half-time we got it right and it’s been awesome. Thank you to the organisers, the officials and everyone involved it’s been a wonderful experience for our whole team, and I am extremely proud of our boys!”

After a preparation that was plagued by delays due to the coronavirus pandemic, the SA U21 Men have produced a tournament and result to be immensely proud of for the country.

For the second time in history the South African U21 Men will finish the Junior World Cup in the top 10, after achieving tenth place in 2016 under the tutelage of Garreth Ewing. They managed to secure their place in the top 10 after a thrilling come from behind victory against Pakistan.

The two teams had both set their sights on the Top 8 at the start of the tournament, but both would have been focused on sneaking into the top 10 after the earlier disappointment. They had met once before in this tournament all the way back in 2013 when that iteration of the Pakistan youngsters triumphed 4-0.

Pakistan started brightly and duly deserved the lead they got in the 5th minute as a superbly fast interchange, reminiscent of the South African performance in Tokyo, left the defense with no chance. That the South Africans were able to quell that danger was testament to some good stability at the back.

If the first quarter belonged to Pakistan the second undoubtedly bel9onged to the South Africans. The African side created numerous circle entries, penalty corners and shots but were left scratching their heads as Pakistan converted their only chance of the quarter and somehow led at the break 2-0.  Something coach Sihle Ntuli was well aware of in the half-time team talks!

The game was lively at this point, but it took off in the third quarter as the South Africans surged back and started to make their impact on the game. First Ngubane deflected a penalty corner home to give the South African men hope, but as the sail was being cast up to catch the wind, the Pakistani attack deflated it with a Rehman goal.

While spectators quickly tried to catch their collective breaths, the South Africans surged back with the force of power returning to a darkened area. And Guy Morgan and Idrees Abdulla restored parity with offices around South Africa resonating with supporting cheer as the office bandwidth was utilised by Watch Hockey.

After fighting back superbly South Africa then produced their best defensive quarter of the tournament in denying a willing and hungry Pakistan attack. Neil Raath made one of the great intercepts of the tournament to deny a late goal that would have given victory to the Asian giants. As such the game was headed to shootouts and a spot in the top 10 would be decided in the way commonly referred to as cruel.

It was not cruel for the South Africans however as they took four out of four chances while denying two from three for their opposition. Sihle Ngubane scored the goal that ultimately sealed the fate of their opposition and set the South Africans up with a date against Poland and Korea for 9th place and a best ever finish for the country at the FIH Junior World Cup.

Result

South Africa (4) 3-3 (1) Pakistan

South Africa and Canada began their classification matches and a quest for a top 10 finish as they faced off in Bhubaneswar to start the next phase of the FIH Junior World Cup. It was the second meeting between the two sides after South Africa beat Canada 3-1 in the 2016 iteration of the tournament.

A tentative game and a goal-less first quarter quickly came to life as South Africa produced their best quarter of hockey combined with some inexperience from Canada in the second quarter. Cameron le Forestier and Idrees Abdulla both got themselves on the score sheet before Guy Morgan’s penalty corner struck a foot on the line and the captain converted his own penalty stroke. 3-0 the half-time score, but South Africa were probably wondering how they hadn’t scored more in that dominant second quarter.

Le Forestier though quickly made sure he would not rue chances as he netted his hat-trick and his fifth of the tournament. First, he squeezed a shot past Coombs before a diving deflection made it three for the impressive youngster.

A frenetic final quarter presented itself next as five goals were shared between the two sides, while the South African’s gave themselves some questions to answer. Guy Morgan made it 6-0 with a superb penalty corner before Flynn McCulloch scored what looked like a consolation goal. Trevor de Lora re-established the 6-goal lead when he effected a turnover in the Canadian defence and romped home a tomahawk finish.

Canada finished the game the better side though with Sean Davis and Alexander Bird both netted while Bird thought he had one more goal late on, but a touch went unspotted. The game ultimately ended 7-3 to the Africans who march on to the 9-12 bracket and a meeting against either Pakistan or USA.

Man of the Match Cameron le Forestier shared his thoughts after the game:

“We are still trying to chase those 60 minutes of good hockey, we produced maybe 30 solid minutes, but we know we need to be better. Our objective is to try and finish 9th and that’s what we are working towards. I’m pleased with my performance and goals, just about being in the right place at the right time!”

RESULT

South Africa 7-3 Canada

As the group stage of action for South Africa and Malayisa came to its end at the 2021 FIH Junior World Cup of Hockey in Bhubaneswar, the two countries locked horns knowing they both needed a result to progress in the tournament. For South Africa it was a win needed, while Malaysia would secure their place in the top 8 with a draw.

With so much on the line the two nations produced what could simply be described as a classic that had goals, cards, opportunities, saves and some great tension. Malaysia had their lead erased 3 times in course of the game but ultimately shaded the game with a 56th minute strike. The 4-3 win meant Malaysia qualified for the quarter final for the fifth time in their history and South Africa will now play off for a best finish of 9th.

After a tense opening half, Malaysia managed the only goal of the first period with a penalty corner hit low and hard by Khalid in the 29th minute. It was probably a fair reflection of the first half as Malaysia had looked the most likely to score. But the African side came out with wonderful intent in the second half and pulled level when captain Guy Morgan fired home the penalty corner.

Malaysia re-established the lead from a well worked penalty corner variation through Kamaruddin that gave keeper Taine Bird little chance. But once again South Africa bounced back with a wonderful goal from Jared Campbell, the vice-captain, who finished with a wonderful instinctive shot.

Shamsul re-established the lead for Malaysia when a triple save was not cleared and eventually fired home. With South Africa needing a victory they surged forward and Jared Campbell levelled again when he reacted quickest to finish into an empty net.

As South Africa poured forward looking for the goal that would secure a first ever Junior World Cup victory over Malaysia as well as a first spot in the Quarter Finals ever, they left them self open at the back and the Malaysians capitalized to score the game winning goal.

It was an enthralling game of hockey that presented enough opportunities for the Africans, but they will now play off in the 9-16 Bracket with a first playoff game against Canada who finished bottom of Pool D.          The game takes place on the 30 November and will be live on the Watch Hockey App.

Full Time
SA 3-4 Malaysia

The South African U21 Hockey Men reignited their Quarter Final hopes with a brilliant clinical display of attacking hockey against Chile this morning. After a tough opening encounter with Belgium, the Africans knew it would be a tough encounter taking on the 2021 Pan American Championship winners Chile.

The South Africans were clearly the dominant team in the early exchanges and were able to make that dominance count with a wonderful team goal finished by Idrees Abdulla in the 7th minute. Despite continued dominance South Africa were unable to add to the scoreline in the first half and were hoping they would not rue the lack of cut-throat in the opening 30.

Chile started the second half with a much greater determination following some stern words from head coach Alejandro Gomez, but the foot hold they were creating in the game slipped as South African vice captain showed alert thinking to react quickest in the D and finish with a sublime strikers touch.

The Chilean’s fought back immediately and pulled a goal back and reinvigorated their challenge with an Amoroso drag flick from a penalty corner that was speeding up as it flew in past Guy Morgan on the post. The Chilean Sail was gathering wind, but Cameron le Forestier popped up to tear the sail with a brilliantly orchestrated diving finish. It was a the type of goal that you spend hours training for in the hope that an opportunity like it presents itself in a game.

The South Africans know that goal difference could play a part in the discussion so they kept going forward looking for another and from a penalty corner, specialist Jacques van Tonder netted his second of the tournament to make it 4-1.

4-1 became 5-1 in the final chukka as le Forestier popped up to claim his second and give the South Africans an even goal difference ahead of their final group game against Malaysia.

OF course, after the result today, the boys will watch the Malaysia and Belgium game later and this will leave them knowing exactly what they need in the final group game tomorrow!

Result

South Africa 5-1 Chile

Fixtures

27 November – 11:00 (SA Time) – SA vs. Malaysia

After a preparation run that can only be described as materially impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, the South African U21 side are in India and will begin their Junior World Cup adventure as they take on the Olympic Champions Belgium’s juniors in the opening game of the tournament.

The 2021 FIH Junior World Cup is the 12th tournament, with South Africa competing for the 6th time consecutively. The tournament has consistently uncovered future South African stars with the likes of Ryan Ravenscroft, Justin Reid-Ross, Taine Paton, Matthew Brown and Bili Ntuli all starring for South Africa at previous editions, before taking the centre stage for the senior team.

The U21 Men have not had some of their normal preparation on offer as PHL and IPT were cancelled due to covid, while a home series against India failed to happen after health concerns were noted in the Indian camp. Further to this the Junior African Cup was also cancelled.

However the team did manage to play a series against the SA Olympic team in the superb CTM Showdown at the North West University where they displayed tremendous spirit and fight as well as a dangerous short corner, with Jacques van Tonder standing up to be counted.

Sihle Ntuli’s side get things underway against Belgium tomorrow morning at 05:30 local time. The match will be televised live on the FIH Watch Hockey App, which is free to download. The African’s will next be in action against Chile on the 26 before rounding up the group stage with a match against Malaysia on 27 November.

The South African Hockey U21 sides have been named for the Senior IPT in Western Cape in October. This will be a massive opportunity for the Mens and Women's side to test themselves ahead of their respective Junior World Cups. The SA U21 Men will be heading to India for their tournament, while the SA U21 Women will be hosting the first ever African World Cup in Potchefstroom in December. 

For the SA U21 Men the side showed during the CTM Showdown against the Olympic Mens Squad that they were ready for battle and would make South Africa immensely proud. Grant Morgan will continue to lead the team and likes of Peter Jarvis and Jared Campbell will be massive support. For a team that showed such amazing spirit in the CTM Showdown, there is no doubt the boys will be itching to get into action. 

The Women did not have the opportunity of the CTM Showdown and its been a long time for them to have played together with the likes of PHL and IPT both being impacted by the global pandemic. The opportunity to also play in a local tournament is no doubt a massively exciting one and the players selected for IPT will be desperate to make sure their foot is on the, um, bus for the finals in Potchefstroom. 

There are a number of players with International experience including Olympians Thati Zulu and Edith Molikoe (Who also has 30 caps for the National indoor side), while Bianca Wood will be desperate to show the form she showed when Lenise Marais led the U18 side to a series victory over Australia. 

SA U21 Hockey Men - IPT Squad

Taine Bird, Sihle Ngcongo, Cody Posthumus, Zenani Kraai, Josh Davies, Guy Morgan (c),  Jacques van Tonder, Senswesihle Ngubane, Matt Dewar, Aiden Tun, Niel Raath, Peter Jarvis (vc), Trevor de Lora, Marvin Simons, Jared Campbell (vc), Luke Wynford, Cameron le Forestier & Idrees Abdulla

SA U21 Hockey Women - IPT Squad

Laylaa Davids, Kayla de Waal, Jean-Leigh du Toit, Mishka Ellis, Chante Ferreira, Sare Laubscher, Mikkela Le Roux, Hanrie Louw, Edith Molikoe, Jacolene McLaren, Christa Ramasimong, Nepo Serage, Jeanri Thomas, Charmain Theron, Angela Welham, Zimkhitha Weston, Bianca Wood & Thati Zulu

The South African Hockey Association has today announced the 24-man squad from which the final team for the FIH Junior World Cup in India in November 2021 will be picked. The FIH Junior World Cup will be taking place in India for the third time in history and the South African Men will be competing for the 6th time. South Africa were confirmed as participants in this year’s event when the Junior African Cup was cancelled earlier this month.

16 teams will compete in the tournament once again, with Egypt joining South Africa as the African challenge in India. The hosts are also the defending champions having defeated Belgium in the 2016 tournament, where South Africa finished in 10th place. That South African squad featured Tyson Dlungwana, Peabo Lembethe, Ryan Julius, Tevin Kok and Bili Ntuli, all of which are now in Tokyo with the senior men for the Olympic Games. Garreth Ewing, the now senior men’s coach in Tokyo, was the man at the helm as the South Africans almost eliminated the hosts!

The recent CTM Showdown gave the selection panel and coaches some good food for thought as the young men produced quality displays at the fine Northwest University. Marvin Simons and Aiden Tun have been capped at international level on the indoor courts and will be integral to the team’s performance. While the likes of Trevor de Lora, Guy Morgan and Sihle Ngubane enhanced their reputation in Potchefstroom.

Coach Sihle Ntuli is excited about the upcoming challenge.

“We benefitted from the CTM Showdown in a superb way. The quality of competition with the senior men gave us a great insight into our progress and competitive readiness. It gave us some things to work on, but also importantly showed that we were a lot further along than we thought.

It is a massive honour for the team to be given the opportunity to represent South Africa and the African continent and we will be going to India to make you all proud!”

The 12th FIH Junior World Cup for men takes place in India from 24 November to 5 December 2021

SA U21 Mens Squad – FIH JUNIOR WORLD CUP 2021

The South African Hockey Association has today announced the final South African U21 Men’s squad. The team will take on rest of the continent at the African Junior World Cup Qualifiers in Ghana in March.

The U21 side will take on the likes of the hosts Ghana, Egypt, Zimbabwe and Namibia at the Theodosia Okoh Hockey Stadium in Accra. The top two teams from the tournament will qualify for the U21 World Cup set to take place in India later this year.

The South Africans will be looking to not just qualify but regain the title as the top Junior Hockey nation in Africa after Egypt had been victorious in 2016 in Windhoek.  Of course, this tournament will feel very different with extensive COVID Protocols in place to ensure player safety.

Guy Morgan has been given the captaincy and will be tasked with leading the team on the field along with co-vice captains Peter Jarvis and Jared Campbell. All three players were part of coach Sihle Ntuli’ s victorious team at the African Youth Games in Algiers in 2018. They were also joined in that gold medal team by Taine Bird and Mpumelelo Maphumulo who are in the final 18 for the current tournament.

Sam Mvimbi and Brad Sherwood have just completed a senior national outdoor camp and that experience will be massive for the team, while fully capped indoor players Aiden Tun and Marvin Simons will also contribute to that regard.

Coach Sihle Ntuli is excited about the upcoming challenge.

“It hasn’t been easy to get down to the final 18 due to the quality in depth of our extended squad. The players have all really committed to the process over the past 14 months both on and off the field. I am excited to get into the competition with them. As a group we are looking forward to a challenging campaign in Ghana.

The players showed massive growth from a technical and tactical approach at our previous camp and this gives me confidence in the limited contact time we have. Some players have had success on our previous travels, and I will look to their leadership in tough moments. The Olympic Squad members will bring a lot of guidance to the group too”.

The South African Hockey Association wishes the team best of luck and success for the tournament!

The South African Hockey Association has today announced the 24-man South African U21 Men’s squad. It is from this 24 that the final 18 will be selected to contest at the African Junior World Cup Qualifiers in Ghana in March. The squad initially assembled was 45 players.

With the global pandemic wreaking havoc and sports events, the U21 side have not been able to avoid it. With no U21 IPT this year and no opportunity to play in the Premier Hockey League or in the now cancelled series against India, the management team have been forced to change approaches. This has come in the form of secure environment training and selection camps.

The squad recently completed one such camp at the University of Pretoria and was the basis on which the current selection has been made. The 24-man squad has a few players already having experienced International Senior Hockey. Samkelo Mvimibi has featured for Garreth Ewing’s outdoor side, while Aiden Tun and Marvin Simons have both featured for David Joshua’s national indoor hockey men. Mustapha Cassiem has featured in both sides and his ability to produce magic out of nowhere will be a major draw card for the team.

The team is also filled with a litany of players that have been in the system for a while now including the likes of Brad Sherwood, Peter Jarvis, Tumi Ramphele and Clayton Saker. While Guy Morgan will be an integral asset for the penalty corners.

Coach Sihle Ntuli was glowing in his praise of the team and their commitment through the trying times:

“I am very excited with the squad as it stands. We have a superb balance in the squad, and it is a great batch of players. The boys have been very committed through the difficult period and the lack of hockey. They have worked incredibly hard and the discipline they have shown is far beyond their years. I think it bodes incredibly well for us as a country.”

The 24-man squad will gather for a final camp at the end of February from which the final 18-man squad will be selected and announced.