Long-time friends excited about playing for SA

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Jacques van Tonder PHOTO: MARNUS VAN WYK

The two long-time friends, Jacques van Tonder and Trevor de Lora, are excited about their journey in the coming weeks as they will both stake a claim at one of just 18 spots available in the South Africa U21 men’s hockey squad for the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations in Ghana.

Bloemfontein Courant recently reported about the duo making the 24-man squad which will attended the final training camp in Pretoria towards the end of February.

The two played together at Grey College until they matriculated in 2018. From there, their paths separated with Van Tonder heading to the Winelands to attend the University of Stellenbosch, while De Lora went to the capitol city to attend the University of Pretoria.

Van Tonder told Bloemfontein Courant that they have been dreaming about representing South Africa for a long time.

“Being able to represent our country is something that Trevor and I have been dreaming of since the day we walked into Grey, and it’s something that we have been working really hard toward achieving.

“While this is only at U21 level, I just know that this is just be beginning of the journey. I’m really excited about the preparation that lies ahead of the AFCON and the Junior World Cup at the end of the year. With the current global circumstances, I just hope that we will be able to get the opportunity to pull the green-and-gold jersey over our heads.”

De Lora, in his turn, shared the same sentiments and is excited about the make-up of the squad thus far.

“I am truly excited for the next phase, which is our camp towards the back end of February. After that camp, the final 18-man AFCON squad will be announced.

“Of course it will be great to share the experience with my long-time friend, Jacques Van Tonder. The squad is looking good with a lot of top quality players from different universities and clubs.”

At the final training camp, which will be held at Tuks in Pretoria, six players will be cut from the squad which will head to Ghana in March. – MORGAN PIEK