The Western Cape is once again playing host to the Summer Series featuring both the South African Men and Women’s teams. The Men are taking on the Netherlands in 3 tests as well as Olympic Silver Medalists Belgium, while the Women are taking on China, Chile and Belgium. After the opening weekend of games (The ladies beat Chile 3-0 and lost to China 3-2, the men lost to Netherlands 6-2), five new names have added a South African Hockey cap.
Jessica O’Connor (Kwazulu Natal Coastals & Wineland Wings)
Jess is not exactly new to international hockey as she has already represented South Africa numerous times in Indoor Hockey including at the 2015 Indoor Hockey World Cup. Jessica has earned herself a reputation of being a solid last line of defense and after impressing thoroughly every time we see her on the indoor court, she took it to the outdoor court both with Varsity College and later with the Wineland Wings where she helped them make the Semi-Finals of the inaugural PHL. She is also a firm favourite of Sports 24 Seven so we are pleased to see her in the national squad!
Stick – Osaka
Mmatshepo Modipane (Northern Gauteng & Madikwe Rangers)
Mmatshepo was a massive driving force in the Tuks march to the Semi-Finals of the Varsity Cup in 2015, she was then the hero when she saved a showdown in sudden death of the IPT final in 2016 helping the Northern Gauteng Blues to their second title in three years. To round it off her form in goals for the Madikwe Rangers was a massive help in getting to the final. Its a call up that is incredibly well deserved.
Stick – Grays
Kate Koenig (KZN Coastals & St Lucia Lakers)
Kate is a shining example of the success of PHL last year. She was unfortunately not a name I had heard much of Kate but she shone in the St Lucia Lakers side. She finished the tournament as the top goalscorer and also scored one the best goals of the tournament. Kate will be an exciting addition to the SA team and will definitely produce goals.
Stick – Gryphon
Stephanie Baxter (South Gauteng & St Lucia Lakers)
We featured Stephanie in our PHL Team of the tournament last year and we also named her as our breakthrough player of the series after some incredibly impressive displays. I wrote back then the following: “I have no doubt that Sheldon Rostron and his selectors will have stood up and taken notice”. It appears they were listening!
Stick – Ritual
Dayaan Cassiem (Western Province)
I was fortunate enough to watch this talented 18 year old completely dominate at the Pro Series Indoor Nationals in December guiding his Barracudas to the final on the back of some ridiculous goal scoring ability. The prodigiously talented youngster has the potential to really become a force in South African hockey. The exposure to the national squad will do his development no harm and it will be great to see him getting some quality coaching at Varsity level. Oh yes, there is another Cassiem too, so the Paton brothers might have successors at last!
Stick – Woodworm
From all of us at Sports 24 Seven – All Things Jabu we congratulate you on your first caps and look forward to the next 100!