Delighted with the progress they have shown this year, NMMU-Madibaz women’s hockey coach Michael van Rensburg has set his team twin objectives when the local competitions resume this week.
Having continued their improvement by finishing fifth in the University Sport South Africa tournament in Johannesburg this month, Van Rensburg said they would now be targeting the Eastern Province women’s premier league and the EP Knockout Cup titles.
“As it stands we are unbeaten in the league, having conceded only one goal so far,” he said. “We have our sights on the title, which we haven’t won for a number of years.
“We are in the final of the Knockout Cup after having beaten Gelvandale 2-0 in the semifinals and our focus is on that as well.”
Madibaz resume their premier league programme against St Peters on Friday and Van Rensburg said they would be looking to build on the momentum they gained from the USSA tournament last month.
“There has been a good energy in the camp post-USSA and I do believe that this is only the start for this group of ladies,” he said.
Having set themselves the goal of finishing in the top six at the university championships, Madibaz ended in fifth position after a significant win over Free State University.
“Beating Kovsies 4-2 in our final play-off was a big moment for us,” said Van Rensburg. “They are a traditional powerhouse in university hockey and have produced many national players.”
He said there had been a significant improvement if one analysed their results from Varsity Hockey in May until now.
“This year we will continue to focus on the process over outcome. We are making big strides and I am chuffed with where we are at this stage.”
Van Rensburg said goalkeeper Kerryn Frost had been outstanding during the USSA week.
“I must, however, pay tribute to all the ladies for the hard work and character that was shown during the tournament.”
He added that they had placed much emphasis on conditioning and commended Storm Clarke from the Madibaz High Performance Complex for his role in the process.
“Credit must also go to Wes Kew (a local clinical psychologist) who gave up his time to assist the team in their mental preparation.”
Madibaz Sport hockey manager Cheslyn Gie congratulated the team on their efforts.
“They performed extremely well to finish fifth, considering that we operate with smaller budgets compared to most of the A section teams,” he said.
“We had eight first-year players in the squad and that bodes well for the future of hockey at NMMU.”
Caption: NMMU-Madibaz player Zimasa Dunywa, in action here against UCT, will have an important role to play as the team chase the title in the Eastern Province women’s premier hockey league, which resumes on Friday. Photo: Saspa