Kovsies’ hockey players shine

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Hann-Ru van Wyk representing the senior Free State men's hockey team during the 2019 IPT in Bloemfontein. Van Wyk was still at school when he was called up to the senior team. PHOTO: MORGAN PIEK

The University of the Free State boasts six hockey players who have been included in the South African U21 squads for the respective FIH Junior World Cups in 2023.
The men, in particular, impressed with a total of five selected for the training camps that will get underway next month.

These players are Hann-Ru van Wyk, Thamsanqa Mdubeki, Michael Davids, Willie Pretorius and Hayden Bartlett. Van Wyk will also captain the Kovsies during the upcoming men’s USSA week in Cape Town.

Izaiah April has been named in the SA U21 women’s squad.

While the final squads for the World Cups are far from being selected, it still remains a big achievement for the University to deliver a total of six players.

The UFS’s High-Performance Head Coach and coach of the men’s team, Braam van Wyk, told Bloemfontein Courant that it is an achievement.

“It’s the first time that Kovsies have managed to have so many men selected for the squad,” said Van Wyk.

“That by itself is an achievement and we are happy with that. In terms of them being in the team for the World Cup, it’s not final yet.”

The head coach of the women’s team at the University, Luke Makeleni, pointed out that even more Free State representatives were called up to the squad.

“There are six school girls who were selected. There is one from Eunice, which is Taheera Augousti, and then there are also five from Oranje who made the squad. So, it’s actually seven girls who made the squad, and five boys.”

The five girls from Orange named in the squad are Leane McLaren, Naudene Prinsloo, Germanie Spershott and Ané Janse van Vuuren. Ntshopa Mokoena is from Hoërskool Voortrekker in Bethlehem.

Makaleni served as an assistant coach for the U21 Proteas during the 2022 FIH Junior World Cup, which was staged in Potchefstroom.

The men’s World Cup is set to be played in Kuala Lampur, Malaysia. The women, in turn, will head to Santiago, Chile. – MORGAN PIEK