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Ken Borland


Hosting U21 World Cup very important news for SA hockey

Posted on December 21, 2021 by Ken

In a very important development for South African hockey, the FIH Women’s Junior World Cup will be hosted by the North-West University in Potchefstroom from December 5-16.

But this is not just an historic landmark for South Africa but Africa as a whole, because it is the first hockey world cup at any level to played on the continent.

As hosts, South Africa’s U21 team gets to play in the tournament, joining 15 other countries in the biennial event that brings together sides from every continent.

Sheldon Rostron, the former head coach of the South African senior women’s side, is the chairman of the local organising committee in his capacity as the director of sport at North-West University.

“This is a very important honour for South African hockey,” Rostron said. “It will have several spinoffs like establishing that we can host more events like this in South Africa.

“We can build a foundation of trust with the FIH and hopefully they will see us as a prime destination for future events. The country is hungry for hockey and hopefully corporates will see this global event, identify it as being exciting and invest more in hockey.

“It also gives our South African hockey players more international exposure, which is always great, and because we are in as hosts, it means Zimbabwe will be a second African team in the competition, which is also a first,” Rostron said.

North-West University is known for its world-class sporting facilities and leading teams and athletes from all over the world have held camps in Potchefstroom. Rostron said they are well-equipped to host such an important event.

“The good thing about Potchefstroom for sportspeople is that you are in close proximity to all the resources you need. It has always been the focus of the university to assist athletes and federations, and they come from across the world to come train here.

“With our high-performance institute and local businesses all being accustomed to events like this, it’s really easy to host tournaments in Potchefstroom,” Rostron said.

It is going to be tough though for the South African team to make it through to the quarterfinals from their pool: Germany, Spain and the United States are their opponents and all of them are women’s hockey powerhouses.

Australia and New Zealand were not able to play due to Covid travel restrictions in their countries.

Pools

Pool A – Ireland, Korea, Netherlands, Zimbabwe.

Pool B – Belgium, Canada, England, Uruguay.

Pool C – Argentina, India, Japan, Russia.

Pool D – Germany, South Africa, Spain, United States.

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