Northerns’ splendid performance in the group stages meant that they were a team to watch out for and were potential tournament winners. Northerns progressed to the semis where they faced a competitive North-West side. The young Northerns team put on a thrilling performance to defeat North-West 3-0 and book a final berth with Western Province. Western Province was a tough team, not only because they reached the finals, but because they had a number of the national players in their squad. However, this did not phase Northerns who forced a penalty shootout after the teams were deadlocked at 1-1 at full time. The teams were still tied after the penalty shootout, which meant that they had to play a sudden death shootout. Tuks 1 ladies keeper Phumelela Mbande produced a brilliant save to ensure her team won 5-4 on penalties and they were crowned the winners of the tournament.

Mbande’s performance earned her a call-up to the national squad. Earning further call-ups to the national squad were fellow Tuks hockey teammates Nicolene Terblanche and recipient of the most promising player award Jacinta Jubb. Inky Zondi, Tuks 1 ladies coach and part of the Northerns coaching staff, and the 11 Tuks players in the Northerns squad made history as the first ever Northerns team to win the tournament.

Zondi was impressed by the senior players’ performance as well as the young players who showed potential. He added, “Now the focus shifts to the off-season programme to focus on conditioning and preparation for a busy year as the possibility of Varsity Hockey is real as well as the USSA competition.”

 

Image: up.ac.za

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