Madibaz hockey teams ready for massive push at USSAs

28 June 2024
Madibaz hockey teams ready for massive push at USSAs

Madibaz goalkeeper and national representative Kamva Dyakala will be key to the men’s team’s ambitions of returning to the A section of the USSA tournament next year.

The Madibaz men’s hockey team have one goal in mind and that is to win back a spot in the A section of the University Sports South Africa tournament when they travel to Johannesburg this weekend.


They came close to doing just that last year after being relegated two years ago but ended third after losing to UWC and drawing with UKZN.


Their entire focus this year had been on gaining promotion to the premier division and therefore to produce the goods from July 1 to 5, coach Cheslyn Gie said.


The men are coming off a successful Eastern Province premier league season in 2023. They were unbeaten throughout and have continued in much the same vein this year.


Thus far they have swept aside Old Grey (1-0), St Peter’s (2-0) and Crusaders (5-2) while drawing with the Lakeside Cavaliers (1-1).


“So we have been steady,” Gie said.


“We have prepped the entire season for the USSAs and have used the league matches to help us with various shape changes and presses in our tactical approach.”


He said they would be finalising their preparations with a training camp, which ends on Saturday.


Having fielded an inexperienced team in 2023, Gie was excited about the way the players had gelled this year.


With most of his charges now having USSA experience, the coach was hopeful that it would stand them in good stead for their “massive effort” to earn promotion.


The team include two national U21 players in Sachin Padayachee and Gerhard Rockman as well as experienced goalkeeper Kamva Dyakala, who was selected for the Africa Games in Ghana.


“We are hoping that they will lead the team well,” Gie said.


The Madibaz women’s team, mentored by Gerrard Noah, maintained their A section status last year and have circled a place in the top four in their diary.


The coach has placed a big emphasis on improving the players’ fundamental skills as they zeroed in on this objective.


He has also explored a number of options to prepare them physically for their tilt at the USSAs.


These included playing men’s teams to help his charges become accustomed to the pace they are expected to encounter next week.


With the team currently second on the log in the EP premier league, Noah was looking forward to their performance.


“The USSA week is a very important part of our calendar. It allows us to compete with the best students in the country and motivates our players to put in the extra effort to represent Mandela University well.”


Noah was grateful for the support the squad had received.


“It is not easy to accomplish all we have without a good management team. This is our biggest strength.”


He also singled out premier league assistant coach Shahil Valabh for his tireless work with the club.


“I am inspired by his dedication and commitment.”

Author: Coetzee Gouws, Full Stop Communication