SuperSport Schools Plus

Northerns out to spring a surprise at SASHOC National Week

By Avuyile Sawula , in Hockey | Featured Hockey | News , at 2024-06-12 Tags: ,

The Northern Gauteng u18A team geared up for the u18 SASHOC National Week. Photo credits: Karl Seebach
The Northern Gauteng u18A team geared up for the u18 SASHOC National Week. Photo: Karl Seebach

Correcting the wrongs of 2023 will be the main item on the agenda for the Northern Gauteng u18A boys’ side when they kick off their 2024 SASHOC National Week campaign in Bloemfontein this coming weekend.

They’ve been drawn in Pool B and will face KZN Inland A in their opening match on Sunday, 16 June at 12:45.

The University of the Free State, St Andrew’s School, St Michael’s School for Girls, Grey College, and Eunice High School will serve as the venues for the National Week.

Last year, Northern Gauteng, despite fielding a fairly young squad punched above their weight and secured a seventh-place finish, ending above Border, Southern Free State A, Eastern Province, and KZN Coastal B.

In this year’s campaign, they are again coached by the experienced Kagiso Mathaba, who Stefan Coertzen assists, while Hoërskool Eldoraigne’s Chadwin Petersen, is the manager of the side.

The selectors have opted for a mixture of youth and experience, with five players from last year’s team returning. They include the St Alban’s College duo of Sukuma Shirata and Lungile Mzimba, Pretoria Boys High’s Ruard Chris Booysen and Marco Upton, and Kade Kalib Poonasamy, from Hoërskool Eldoraigne.

It is quite a difficult and rigorous process when it comes to selecting a team. We have over 150 boys come to trials,” coach Mathaba told SuperSport Schools Plus ahead of the tournament.

“Per SASHOC events, we have to follow certain requirements in terms of team compositions, which sometimes leaves players disappointed or hard done by at the end of the process.

“With that said, I still feel that we choose the best team to go and represent the province.

“We have a good mix of youngsters and experienced players and, without putting extra pressure on the returning players, I think the returning boys have a cool head on themselves to know what is expected of them. Their experience will be beneficial for everyone in the team.”

In picture is Sukuma Shirata, and his Northern Gauteng teammate. Shirata is one of the returning players in this year's squad. Photo credits: Karl Seebach
In picture is Sukuma Shirata, and his Northern Gauteng teammate. Shirata is one of the returning players in this year’s squad. Photo credits: Karl Seebach

The Northerns’ 2023 campaign was clouded by a series of draws and narrow defeats during the pool stages.

They drew 3-3 with both Border and Southern Free State A, narrowly lost 0-1 to KZN Inland A (1-0), and 2-3 to Western Province A. They pulled off a 2-1 win over KZN Coastal B in their final match of the tournament to end on a high.

Mathaba believes better game management in crucial times will be key if Northerns is to better their performance this year.

“We need to manage games a lot better going into this year’s tournament. We thought that we let ourselves down last year, losing and drawing games in the last few minutes of those games,” he admitted.

“We need to be better in how quickly we organize and set up our offensive and defensive shapes and just execute our plans better and more consistently.

“The plan is to focus on ourselves and not worry too much about what other teams are doing or saying.

“We are approaching this tournament by focusing on one game at a time. We not looking too far ahead.”

St Alban’s Zack Richardson will captain the side, while Ruard Booysen serves as vice-captain.

Northern Gauteng u18A

Ivan Lehlogonolo Ramushu (Die Hoërskool Menlopark), Lungile Mzimba (St Alban’s College), Hein Karl Seebach (Hoërskool Garsfontein), Luken Brunette (Hoërskool Garsfontein), Sukuma Shirata (St Alban’s College), Cameron Paul Davids (Pretoria Boys High), Ruard Chris Booysen (Pretoria Boys High), Josue Vuyolwethu Mukeba (Sutherland High School), Zack Thomas Richardson (St Alban’s College), Tyler Justin Trower (CBC Mount Edmund), Dalixolo Ndlovu (Curro Hazeldean), Marco Upton (Pretoria Boys High), David van Niekerk (Die Hoërskool Menlopark), Kade Kalib Poonasamy (Hoërskool Eldoriagne), Zandré Nel (Hoërskool Garsfontein), Kabo Takalani Mulaudzi (Pretoria Boys High).


Sunday, 16 June
12:45 – Northern Gauteng A vs KZN Inland A

Monday, 17 June
08:45 – Northern Gauteng A vs Eastern Province A
17:15 – Northern Gauteng A vs Southern Gauteng A

Tuesday, 18 June
12:45 – Northern Gauteng A vs Southern Free State A

Wednesday, 19 June
15:50 – Northern Gauteng A vs KZN Coastal A

Avuyile Sawula
error: Sorry ol' chap, those shenanigans are not permissible.