NMMU-Madibaz hockey star Ignatius Malgraff displayed his prowess as a striker by heading the goal-scoring list in the inaugural Premier Hockey League, which ended in Johannesburg on Sunday.
Playing for the Addo Elephants, the 23-year-old human movement sciences student slotted seven goals during the month-long tournament, ahead of Lloyd Norris-Jones and Ricky West, who had five each.
He paid tribute to his team-mates for their support, saying he would not have won the award without their assistance.
“Honestly speaking, all I did was take my chances in front of the goals and, in the end, I was the top goal-scorer,” said Malgraff.
Three other NMMU players – Devon Clarke, Chad Durrheim and Joshua August – competed alongside Malgraff in the Addo Elephants team.
They contested the final where they lost 2-0 to the Maropeng Cavemen, who had Madibaz player Dillan Langeveld (as well as Michael Abrahams of PE’s Lakeside Cavaliers) in their ranks.
Madibaz star Lauren Nina was included in the Blyde River Bunters side, who beat Madikwe Rangers 3-1 in the women’s final.
Madibaz premier league mentor Cheslyn Gie and Malgraff were both excited about the PHL concept.
“It is a huge step in the right direction for SA hockey,” said Gie. “It gave players from smaller regions the opportunity to compete at the highest domestic level possible and to be exposed to different coaches.”
Malgraff said the PHL was just what domestic hockey needed.
“It was the perfect platform to showcase the talent the country has to offer.”
He said they now had something to play for and, with a player draft system in place, they could be spotted at any level.
While the PHL essentially consisted of franchise squads, each team was allocated four marquee players who turned out for the region in which they were born.
Thirteen Madibaz players – 10 men and three women – were chosen for the PHL, which saw five men’s and women’s teams playing in the month-long competition.
The Madibaz players were:
Men: Chad Durrheim, Muzimmal Sheik, Grant Kapp, Devon Clarke, Dillan Langeveld, Joshua August, Chad Cairncross, Kirwin Christoffels, Ignatius Malgraff, Cerezo Comeresamy; Women: Kiona Sequeira, Lauren Nina, Zimasa Dunywa