The Madibaz men’s hockey team will be aiming to lift their overall level when they take part in the University Sport South Africa tournament in Bloemfontein from July 2 to 6.
The Nelson Mandela University side were silver medallists a year ago, but had a tough time in the Varsity Hockey event last month and coach Cheslyn Gie said they had been working hard since then.
“In Varsity Hockey we conceded goals late in our matches so we have improved our fitness levels,” said Gie.
“We have also worked on our set-pieces and have reviewed our defensive shape.”
He added that the team was vastly different compared to last year, with 14 first-year students in the 2018 squad.
“The majority of our players will be experiencing the USSA tournament for the first time.
“However, we are determined to improve on our Varsity Hockey results and have set ourselves the goal of making, at least, the semifinals.”
He added that players such as Ignatius Malgraff, who would lead the attacking line, Laython Coombs as a link and captain Alex Penhall in defence would have key roles to play.
The players are busy with a training camp, which ends this week, and Gie said they had also lined up a few matches to complete their preparations.
He added that the USSA week was a vital opportunity for them to showcase what Madibaz hockey had to offer.
“For us, this is the biggest tournament of the year as it provides a chance to see how we compete with our peers.
“In addition, it is a qualifying tournament for Varsity Hockey, which is a further opportunity for our players to showcase their talents on a wider stage.”