SuperSport Schools Plus

KZN Inland ready to unleash at SASHOC National Week

By CS Chiwanza , in Hockey | Featured Hockey | News , at 2024-06-12 Tags: ,

Maritzburg College striker Julian Konigkramer (#7) has been a regular on the scoresheet in the 2024 season and should give the KZN Inland u18A attack a sharp edge.
Maritzburg College striker Julian Konigkramer (#7) has been a regular on the scoresheet in the 2024 season and should give the KZN Inland u18A attack a sharp edge.

The KwaZulu-Natal Inland u18 boys’ team returns to the annual SASHOC National Week, to be played in Bloemfontein from 16 to 21 June, intent on improving on their sixth-place finish of last year. They were third in 2022.

The Damian Kimfley-coached outfit is in Pool B, along with Southern Gauteng A, KZN Coastal A, Northern Gauteng A, Southern Free State A and Eastern Province A. That’s a tough lineup.

They begin their campaign with a contest against Northern Gauteng A on Sunday afternoon. The KZN team defeated the highveld side 1-0 last year, on their way to an overall record of four wins, two losses and a single draw.

Their campaign was held together by the goal-scoring abilities of Nicholas Chantler and captain, Wian Liebenberg, who scored seven goals between them. Chantler, with four, was the team’s leading scorer. Overall, KZN Inland finished with a total of 13 goals scored and nine conceded.

Kimfley hopes that Grant Bridgeford will use his experience to direct the defence. The Hilton College learner was a part of the KZN Inland u18 team last year and represented the SA U17 team in Malaysia in late 2023.

“The selection is a tough process with us having a small pool of players to pick from. But the selectors and I were very deliberate in how we picked the team, with boys having tactical and technical proficiency,” Kimfley said.

KZN Inland’s last line of defence will be filled by another experienced young man. Like Bridgeford, goalkeeper Nicholas Holmes was part of the KZN Inland u18 team last year and a member of the SA u17 team that finished as the runners-up at the Mirnawan Cup.

Kimfley is known for building teams that play attacking and entertaining hockey. This year, the KZN Inland coach is blessed with the talents of his Hilton College captain, Jared Kitto. Skilled and experienced, he shares the same range of experience as Bridgeford and Holmes. His spatial awareness and creative gameplay in the midfield will be a boon for the KZN side.

The KZN Inland captain will form a middle-of-the-astro partnership with Ipeleng Mosupye, who is enjoying a good season with Maritzburg College.

“We also made sure that we have a good penalty corner team in terms of injectors, two or more flickers and stoppers. That left us short at last year’s IPT,” Kimfley explained.

Uyanda Dlamini will spearhead the KZN Inland attack. The 17-year-old scored a solitary goal when he turned out for the provincial side last year. Kimfley hopes that the teenager will be in good form and that he’ll be able to use his experience up front.

While positive in perspective, Kimfley is quick to point out that his team has a bit of a mountain to climb. “We are aware it’s going to be extremely tough, seeing as we are in the Group of Death, where there are just A teams. This is a challenge on its own.

“Everybody in the tournament wants to leave with a medal. So, we will try to compete and play entertaining hockey,” he concluded.

Cohesion should not be an issue for the KZN Inland u18A team. The squad features eight players from Hilton College, seven players from Maritzburg College and one from Michaelhouse. There will be a lot of familiar combinations in the side.

KZN Inland U18 team: Nicholas Holmes (Maritzburg College), Dane Jackson (Maritzburg College), Murray Loughor-Clark (Hilton College), Grant Bridgeford (Hilton College), Jayden Roux (Hilton College), Joshua Julius (Hilton College), Kadin Jenkins (Maritzburg College), Uyanda Dlamini (Maritzburg College), Reagan Madua (Hilton College), Ipeleng Mosupye (Maritzburg College), Jarred Kitto (Hilton College), Banele Dlamini (Maritzburg College), Tinotendo Hove (Hilton College), Masud Dakile (Hilton College), Julian Konigkramer (Maritzburg College), Gordon Deutscher (Michaelhouse)

CS Chiwanza