Madibaz target semis at USSA hockey tournament

2017-06-28 06:01
The skills of Madibaz star, Chad Cairncross will play an important role for them when they compete in the hockey tournament this week.Photo:SUPPLIED

The skills of Madibaz star, Chad Cairncross will play an important role for them when they compete in the hockey tournament this week.Photo:SUPPLIED

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DESPITE losing several senior players, the NMMU-Madibaz men’s hockey team will be striving to repeat last year’s effort at the University Sport South Africa (USSA) tournament in Johannesburg this week.

Hockey manager Cheslyn Gie said they were eager to emulate their 2016 achievement of third when they compete at the University of Johannesburg and Wits from today until Sunday.

Although not looking too far ahead, he said they would target a position in the semi-finals.

“We know it will be a tough week and the favourites will be Maties, who are the defending champions.

“Tuks and UJ will be up there as they have recruited top players, while Wits will also be looking to do well after investing heavily in their playing resources.”

He added that although the team has lost some senior players through injuries and some have graduated, that will not deter them from aiming for a spot in the top four.

Gie also explained how the Hockey World League tournament, which followed the USSA week, could have an impact in the team’s fortunes.

“Players selected for the national squad will not be allowed to play at the USSA tournament and this could make things very interesting.”

The team has undergone a two-week training camp in preparation of the USSA week and several friendly games have been lined up to complete their preparations.

Madibaz coach Michael van Rensburg said he wanted the women’s team to show some improvement on their seventh place of last year, with the top six their initial goal.

After competing in the Varsity Hockey competition this year, he said they had been working on a number of areas.

“In terms of our conditioning, the squad have had a four-week fitness programme and the results have been pleasing so far. We still have a way to go, but we are in a better space now than prior to Varsity Hockey.”

Van Rensburg added that on-field training had been held three times a week, culminating in a training camp last weekend.

From a mental perspective Van Rensburg said several sport psychology sessions with Port Elizabeth-based clinical psychologist Wesley Kew had made a big difference.

“This has been of tremendous value as we look to move into a new era we are creating for NMMU women’s hockey,” he said.

“We look forward to the Eastern Cape getting behind us as we strive to establish ourselves during a rebuilding phase with a young side that will aim to make the region proud.”

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