As you would have previously read, I am at the PSI Nationals covering the action which is outstanding. As part of competition I got the chance to watch our National Indoor Hockey men take on the International All Stars led by the extravagant superstar Robert Tigges. Tigges was the captain of the Dutch Indoor side at the 2015 FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup, where they caused the most sensational shock by stunning Germany in the Semi-Final before scoring in the final against Austria to lead his team to glory. Tigges came out to South Africa for PSI last year and was back at the first opportunity to represent the all-stars in the Denbeys series. I had a chat with Tigges about all things indoor hockey.
Jabu: How was the experience being back in South Africa, after your previous visit?
Tigges: It was really good. It surprised me again. I am constantly surprised by how much hockey love there is here in South Africa and how it has spread. The kids are going crazy for indoor hockey and have been so great in the stands as well. Outside of the hockey, Durban is a fantastic city and was a great host for us. I love PSI.
Jabu: Should we be planning to see you again next year?
Tigges: I think there are some plans in place to come back next year in December, but maybe there is an event in June or July next year that we could attend. We are not sure yet, but we will talk to Simon Martin and see if he is happy about the series.
Tigges: It’s really good. We played with Ryan who I spotted on my first time in Cape Town in July. He is a really good player with pace, strength and speed. I asked them to arrange Ryan into our team and he played in our first two games. Brandon played in the fourth test and he scored a fantastic goal out of the turn and it was fantastic. Tactically they can improve, but they are young and they will improve.
Jabu: What do you think South Africa have to do to close the gap?
Tigges: It’s very very tough to close the gap. It will take a lot of investment and time, but if you want to be taken seriously you have to follow that approach. I was told that SA train for two weeks before qualifying at the African Cup. That is not good enough. There needs to be more games, more training programs and more money spent to help grow the game. The competition in Africa has to grow for the better of SA.
Tigges: It was not bad. There is some tactical improvement that they can work and we were happy to share some advice and guidance that we could this week. We really hope it helps and they can use it to improve. We also had some good fun in the games and we hope the crowd did too!
Jabu: How much Field Hockey do you play?
Tigges: We play a lot of field hockey, I play for Amsterdam. We train 3-5 times a week and play games on the weekend. Then in the winter months we move indoors and keep playing.
Jabu: If you have one piece of advice for the kids at PSI this week, what would that be?
Tigges: Keep on going and never stop believing!
We thank Tigges and his team of International All Stars for sharing their love of hockey with the future of South African Indoor hockey and look forward to seeing them again. Thanks to PSI for making this happen!