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SA teams show positive signs in Malaysia

By Avuyile Sawula , in Hockey | News , at 2023-11-22

The u17 international Mirnawan Cup, being played in Malaysia, has reached its halfway mark and, so far, the South African national hockey teams have put on an impressive showing against some of the world’s best on the turf.

The girls’ and boys’ teams landed in Southeast Asia with intentions of making an impact, and to rule out any idea that they were there to make up the numbers.

Led by Northwood’s Justin Collins (boys), and Waterkloof’s Omari Pienaar-Geyer respectively, the squads appeared to be strong and competitive.

However, they were also not naïve, knowing well the size of the challenge that awaited them in the form of some of the world’s leading international teams.

In their opening match on Sunday, the girls tasted defeat, going down 1-4 to Japan, in a match in which they could have achieved more, considering the many opportunities that they created.

Tara Pakendorf, from Durban Girls College, scored the solitary goal for South Africa, while her fellow schoolmate, Emily Macquet, scooped the Player of the Match accolade after turning in an impressive showing.

Geyer’s side was soon back in action on Monday, this time around against Malaysia B. From the opening whistle, South Africa rocketed out of the blocks, playing commanding hockey, maintaining ball possession, and capitalising on their opportunities.

They slammed home a mammoth eight goals, while a superb defensive effort, which was applauded by the management, saw them keep a clean sheet.

Thabelani Metu, who hails from Lilyfontein High School in East London, stole the show, netting four times. Unsurprisingly, she took home the Player of the Match award.

South Africa will be satisfied with the outcome of their third match, after playing to a goalless draw against powerhouses, Australia. Hoerskool Monument’s Hannah Quinton was picked as one of the influential players in that match.

The side will have a day’s rest on Wednesday, before resuming their campaign with fixtures against Malaysia A and India, on Thursday and Friday, respectively.

The boys’ team, on the other hand, will enter their final pool matches high in confidence, despite losing their opening match 2-3 against Australia.

In that match, Australia started on the front foot, scoring two goals in the first two quarters to leave the South Africans trailing at the halfway point.

The second half was tightly contested with Collins’ team playing most of the hockey and creating opportunities.

South Africa struck twice, with Selborne College’s Tre’ Gilbert netting the first from a penalty corner. SACS’s stalwart, Litha Kraai, also struck to make it close, but Australia held on for the win.

An impressive showing from Durban High School’s Lethabo Bogacwi earned him the Man of the Match award.

South Africa u17 coach Justin Collins congratulates Lethabo Bogacwi of DHS on his man of the match-winning performance.
South Africa u17 coach Justin Collins congratulates Lethabo Bogacwi of DHS on his man of the match-winning performance against Australia.

The South Africans quickly moved on from that one-goal defeat and, when they faced Malaysia B, they demonstrated their potential to its fullest.

The visitors outplayed the hosts from the first quarter, and scored a whopping 11 goals, while conceding only one, to get their campaign back on track.

The goal-scoring festival was led by skipper, Rubel Sendzul, who netted two penalty corners, and a field goal.

The ever-present Litha Kraai got himself on the scoresheet again, contributing two of his own, while the remainder of the goals were spread around, with Joshua Smit, Joshua Mettler, Grant Bridgeford, Lethabo Bogacwi, Ethan Lee, and Reece Theunis all finding their way onto the scoresheet. James Grieve was named the Man of the Match.

Collins’ side will, after taking a well-deserved day’s break, return to action against Malaysia A and the highly rated India, on Thursday and Friday, respectively.

Forthcoming Fixtures

Boys

Thursday, 23 November: 04:00 (SAST)- South Africa vs Malaysia A

Friday, 24 November: 04:00 (SAST)- South Africa vs India

Girls

Thursday, 23 November: 11:00 (SAST)- South Africa vs Malaysia A

Friday, 24 November: 09:00 (SAST) – South Africa vs India

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