The South African u17 boys’ and girls’ hockey teams are set to embark on a week-long adventure, as they gear up to participate in this year’s Mirnawan Cup, which takes place in Malaysia from 18 to 26 November.
Northwood’s Justin Collins will coach the boys’ team, while Waterkloof’s Omari Pienaar-Geyer has been entrusted with leading the 18-player squad in the girls’ section.
They will face stern opposition during the week-long tournament, with the likes of India, Australia, Malaysia, and Japan looking to down the South Africans.
In case you missed it, READ: Exclusive interview with the girl’s coach: Omari Pienaar-Geyer
The SA teams will, however, be banking on the experienced players they have in their respective arsenals. Their captains, Ruben Sendzul (boys), and Tanya Pieterse (girls) will also have massive roles to play in leading their teams on and off the field.
The girls’ team will kick off their campaign against Japan on Sunday, 19 November at 15:00, while Sendzul’s troops will be in action a day later against Australia at 10:00.
Speaking ahead of the tournament, the two skippers expressed how excited their respective teams were for the momentous occasion.
“This will be my first international tournament playing other countries,” said Pieterse via South African Schools Hockey (SASHOC).
“I think the tournament will produce top-class hockey, and I’m just excited to make memories.
“The goal is to make memories and take in every moment. I think the tournament will also help the team become closer, make friends for a lifetime, learn, and return to South Africa as better players,” she added.
For Sendzul, it’s clear, his side will need to be sharp from day one, if they hope to pose any threats against the world’s best.
Led by the experienced Collins, the side features players from top schools like Hilton College, SACS, Paul Roos, and Durban High School (DHS).
They will also be eager to kick off their campaign on a high against the Aussies.
“What I’m most excited about is travelling to Malaysia and travelling with the team and representing my country on the international stage in test matches,” Sendzul said.
“We are South Africa. We have a fighting spirit, we fight for each other, and that makes us stand out.
“The goal is not to just go and compete, but we are aiming for a medal, and to leave the jersey in a better place than it was before, and just play for the nation back home.”
Nicholas Holmes (Maritzburg College), Joshua Renders (Jeppe Boys High), Grant Bridgeford (Hilton College), Dayle Gertson (Wynberg), Tre’ Gilbert (Selborne College), Robert Veldtman (Bishops), Lethabo Bogacwi (Durban High School), Jarred Kitto (Hilton College), Litha Kraai (SACS), James Grieve (Bishops), Lumi Matwele (Durban High School), Matthew Mendes de Oliveira (Kearsney College), Ruard Booysen (Pretoria Boys High), Ethan Lee (Wynberg Boys High), Reuben Sendzul (Paul Roos ©), Joshua Smit (Paul Roos), Reece Theunis (SACS), Joshua Mettler (Bishops).
Jehan Abrahams (Wynberg Girls’ High), Caprice Bengston (Durban Girls’ College), Amber Fairon (Dainfern College), Cassandra Forbes (St Mary’s DSG), Luane Janssen (Hoërskool Waterkloof), Ruby Kraus (Durban Girls’ College), Mmamorena Manthata (Cornwall Hill College), Motheo Manzi (Hoërskool Middelburg), Emily Macquet (Durban Girls’ College), Logan Marthinus (Bloemhof), Akhile Mdlalane (Cambridge High), Thabelani Metu (Lilyfontein High), Ifeoma Ndubueze (Northcliff High), Tara Pakendorf (Durban Girls’ College), Leah Petersen (Stellenberg), Tanya Pieterse (Paarl Gimnasium ©), Georgia Pollock (St Mary’s DSG), Hannah Quinton (Monument).
Sunday, 19 November: 15:00- South Africa vs Japan
Monday, 20 November: 17:00- South Africa vs Malaysia B
Tuesday, 21 November: 19:00- South Africa vs Australia
Thursday, 23 November: 17:00- South Africa vs Malaysia A
Friday, 24 November: 15:00- South Africa vs India
Monday, 20 November: 10:00- South Africa vs Australia
Tuesday, 21 November: 10:00- South Africa vs Malaysia B
Thursday, 23 November: 10:00- South Africa vs Malaysia A
Friday, 24 November: 10:00- South Africa vs India