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SA u18A squad announced after a bumper hockey week in Bloemfontein

By Avuyile Sawula , in Hockey | Featured Hockey | News , at 2024-06-21 Tags: ,

The SA u18 squad for 2024. Photo credits: TeamPhotoSA
The SA u18 squad for 2024. Photo credits: TeamPhotoSA

The South African Schools Hockey Association (SASHOC) on Friday announced a strong-looking SA u18 boys’ squad at the conclusion of the SASHOC National Week in Bloemfontein.

The tournament ran from 16 June and culminated in an epic all-Western Cape final in the boys’ A Section between Western Province A and Boland A.

Province won the title for a fourth time in succession. In a hard-fought final, they edged out their neighbours and arch-rivals 3-2 in a closely contested clash.

They also finished the week as the only unbeaten side, scoring a whopping 30 times in their seven matches.

As a result of their excellence, the side from Cape Town has the largest representation in the national team with eight players.

Dayle Gertson, who couldn’t play in the final after suffering a serious injury in the semi-finals against KZN Coastal A, did just enough during the week to make the cut. He’s joined by his Wynberg Boys’ High schoolmate, Jordan Paulsen in the national team.

Bishops Diocesan College also has a healthy representation in the side, with Joshua Mettler, James Grieve, and Robert Veldtman all cracking the nod.

Litha Kraai, who was in top form in front of goal, and ended the tournament with 10 goals, was included with his SACS’ teammates, Reece Theunis and Noah Venter, who was named the Goalkeeper of the Tournament.

KZN Coastal A’s head coach, Cameron Mackay will be pleased after four of his players made it into the national side.

Lumi Matwele and Lethabo Bogacwi, who represented the SA u17 side at the Mirnawan Cup late last year, were included. Last year, Matwele was in the SA u17 squad, while Bogacwi made SA Schools.

They were joined by their Coastal skipper, Matthew Mendes de Oliveira, who made SA Schools for a second year in succession, and goalkeeper Harlee Jagga.

Reuben Sendzul and Joshua Smit were the only two players selected from Boland’s team, while Eastern Province’s Kian Cambier made the team after a stellar campaign for his side.

Sendzul, who also made the SA Schools side in 2023, was influential throughout the week, scoring 12 goals to finish as the event’s top goal scorer. He also scooped the accolades of Striker of the Tournament and Player of the Tournament.

Southern Gauteng A and Northern Gauteng A also had players named in the national side.

From coach Anthony Woodhouse’s Southerns’ side, home-schooled skipper Tyler Reed-Napier, and Juan Martin will don the green and gold, while Ruard Booysen, from Northerns, completes the lineup.

The team will undergo a four-day camp in Bloemfontein, starting on Saturday and running through until Tuesday, 25 June.

On Saturday, they’ll play a training match against the SA u17 squad, before taking on the University of the Free State on Sunday and Monday. Those matches will take place at 18:30.

Director of Hockey at Kearsney College, Keegan Pearce, was named the head coach of the South African Schools side. He’ll be assisted by St Alban’s head coach, Robin Jones, while Colin Fielding will be the goalkeeper trainer.

Albertus Van Heerden will assume the role of strength and conditioning, while Daiyaan Solomons and Liam Naidoo will be in charge of the physio and analyst’s duties.

SA u18A Squad

Lethabo Bogacwi (KZN Coastal A), Ruard Booysen (Northern Gauteng A), Kian Cambier (Eastern Province), Dayle Gertson (Western Province), James Grieve (Western Province), Harlee Jagga (KZN Coastal A), Litha Kraai (Western Province), Juan Martin (Southern Gauteng A), Lumi Matwele (KZN Coastal A), Matthew Mendes de Oliveira (KZN Coastal A), Joshua Mettler (Western Province), Jordan Paulsen (Western Province), Tyler Reed-Napier (Southern Gauteng A), Reuben Sendzul (Boland), Joshua Smit (Boland), Reece Theunis (Western Province), Robert Veldtman (Western Province), Noah Venter (Western Province).

Avuyile Sawula