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Smith relishing first K-Day battle as Kingswood coach

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

The 2024 Kingswood College side. Photo credits: Kingswood College
The 2024 Kingswood College side. Photo credits: Kingswood College

“Keeping the main thing, the main thing,” will be the message echoed in the changing room by Kingswood College head coach, José Smith when his side makes a short trip to take on St Andrew’s College in the annual K-Day showdown in Makhanda on Thursday night.

Kingswood enters the match seeking revenge after they were beaten 1-0 in last year’s encounter.

The big game kicks off at 18:30 and will be played on the Webster AstroTurf at St Andrew’s.

Catch all the action LIVE on SuperSport Schools.

When Smith assumed responsibility as head coach of the first team earlier this year, one of his goals was to change the team’s style of play and introduce his philosophy.

In his first-ever coaching role, he took over the reins from Director of Hockey and current first team girls’ coach, Jason Maclachlan, who had an impressive run with the side, which recorded some eye-catching results in 2023.

Coach Smith’s first order of business was joining forces with his assistant coach, Asithi Nama. Together, they have worked hard to put out a strong side that’s given a good account of itself this season.

They opened their campaign at the Belgotex Tony Godding Festival in East London in March. There, the team from Makhanda won three out of their four matches, beating Merrifield College 4-0, Linden 4-0 and Witteberg High School 1-0. They also drew 2-2 with Komani’s Queen’s College.

Soon after, they headed to the Belgotex Sport Easter Hockey Festival in Cape Town, where they placed an impressive 10th out of 40 schools.

In April, Kingswood hosted a Co-Ed Festival, where they recorded a 3-0 win over Glenwood House and beat Oakhill School 4-0. They were, however, handed a 0-3 loss by a tough Somerset College team.

Since that tournament, Kingswood has been in prolific form. They’ve won their last five matches, scoring 17 goals while conceding only three in those games. Just last Friday, they defeated Dale College 1-0 in Qonce.

“With it being my first year of coaching, I am beyond content with the performance and success of the team,” Smith told SuperSport Schools Plus ahead of K-Day.

“In all, we’ve played 25 games so far and we have lost only five.

“Not many coaches can build a team that can produce stats like the ones Ms. Nama and I have in only five months at the school.”

Photo credits: Kingswood College
Photo credits: Kingswood College

In St Andrew’s, the visitors will face a side that started the season like a house on fire, then lost a little momentum, but have again found their best form.

Their last three fixtures have all been against tough Eastern Cape opponents.

In late May, they hosted the dangerous Grey High, clearly one of the best teams in South Africa in 2024 and went down 1-2 in that clash.

Coach Dean Ferreira‘s troops then travelled to face Selborne College, another of 2024’s leading teams, in East London and played to a 1-1 draw.

They’ll enter the clash confident after recording a hard-fought 2-1 win over Queen’s College in Komani last Friday.

Smith says they’re wary of the threats posed by their rivals. “It is a known fact that St Andrew’s College is a hockey school,” he said.

“They play a structured game. To say their basics are good is an understatement.

“However, these are all things that I’ve known over the years. We have not played a fixture against St Andrew’s before our game this week, and I have not had a chance to watch them play this year.

“With that said, we are approaching this game with the same mindset and intensity as every other game.”

The Kingswood side is led by Joshua Hufkie, who is set to represent the Eastern Province u18A side at the SASHOC National Week in Bloemfontein.

Gary Woods serves as the side’s vice-captain. Meanwhile, Andrew Woods, Josh Loon, Jack Collett, and Ethan Alt have been earmarked as Kingswood players to keep an eye on.

Smith says those four have not only improved this season, but they continue to win the mental game and show up consistently for their teammates.

They will need to do that and then some on Thursday as they go in search of a victory.

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