UP’s men’s team recently came very close to claiming their first Varsity Hockey title when they took on UJ in a thrilling final in 2016, but were unfortunate towards the closing stages, and eventually lost the game 4-2.

UP’s women will be looking to emulate the men’s team’s performance from 2016. The first leg of the tournament got underway on Friday at the Maties Astro in Stellenbosch, and the second weekend of fixtures is set to occur at the North- West University Astro in Potchefstroom from 12- 15 May. Following the elimination rounds of the tournament, the two qualifying teams will battle it out for the Varsity Women’s Hockey title on 22 May. The venue has yet to be confirmed.

Out of the eight teams competing in the tournament, UP is the only side this year that will feature two South African senior players, Marlise van Tonder and Izelle Verster. The University of Witwatersrand (Wits) have a Namibian national player and three SA Under 18 players.

UP will be looking to take advantage of the current two-weekend format of the competition, as to date it has worked well for teams in providing the opportunity to test the performance structures as well as the mindset and psyche of the players. . The Varsity Hockey tournament brings with it a unique element, in that all matches are played over four quarters of 15 minutes each, making for exciting contests.

Perdeby spoke to the Head of Programme & Head Coach for Women’s Hockey at UP, Mr Inky Zondi, who gave his thoughts ahead of the opening weekends fixtures:

He said that they came into the tournament feeling ambitious and confident and that the objective for the first week is to “establish a good rhythm and put as many points on the board as possible before heading into the second weekend.” Speaking about the teams preparations leading up to the tournament he said that it has been going well and that they have blessed with“ talent, youth and balance “ and that “the focus has been on allowing players effective recovery time as well as appropriate conditioning”.


Image provided. 

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