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Wits Hockey gears up for hosting duties

- Tshepiso Mamatela

Wits Hockey braces itself for hosting duties in the form of the 2017 Men’s and Women’s Hockey World League Semi-Finals from 8 to 23 July.

With excitement ahead of the 2017 Hockey World League Finals and the 2018 Hockey World Cups at fever pitch, Wits Hockey braces itself for hosting duties in the form of the 2017 Men’s and Women’s Hockey World League Semi-Finals from 8 to 23 July.

 BRAAMFONTEIN – Twenty of the world’s best men’s and women’s national teams will grace the Wits Hockey Club to engage in fierce battle as part of the Hockey World Cup 2018 qualifiers. Current Hockey Champions Trophy, Hockey World League and Hockey World Cup title holders, Australia will be pitted alongside transoceanic rivals New Zealand as well as Spain, Japan and France in Pool A.

 Pool B sees reigning African champions South Africa take on Ireland, Rio 2016 bronze medalists Germany and compatriots Egypt before booking a date with Rio 2016 silver medalists Belgium in their last pool match.  In the women’s competition, England will play Rio bronze medalists Germany, Japan, Ireland and Poland in Pool A, while reigning Hockey Champions Trophy and Hockey World League champions Argentina will be up against reigning Pan American champions USA, African champions South Africa, India and Chile in Pool B.

 Speaking ahead of the tournament, Wits Hockey Sports Officer, Erika Venter said the excitement of hosting a tournament of this kind was palpable. “We are extremely excited to host an event of this caliber. The quality of hockey that will be showcased on our door step is sure not to be missed,” said Venter, who added that the Wits Hockey Club would use the opportunity to make a strong impression. “We’d like to make an impression not only on the , but also network with hockey stakeholders while providing a platform which will uplift the SA Hockey system as a whole and raise awareness on university hockey clubs in South Africa.”

“There is absolutely no limit to what hard working hockey clubs can accomplish if they’re given the opportunity and encouragement to deliver their best. The Hockey Club is looking forward to celebrating and welcoming world-class hockey at the Home of Wits Hockey.”

According to organisers of the Hockey World League – composed of four rounds and played over two years – the tournament shines a spotlight on the sport around the world and gives participating teams an opportunity to make a name for themselves. “Even the smallest hockey-playing nations have the opportunity to write their own chapter in hockey’s history books,” said International Hockey Federation (FIH) Communications Manager, Danny Parker.

“Johannesburg provides the perfect stage for their dreams to become reality in what is a crucial event in hockey’s international calendar. The top teams from Johannesburg will qualify for two of hockey’s showpiece events, and teams will also be awarded FIH Hero World Ranking points, which could prove crucial in relation to qualification for future events.”  Parker added, “With so much on the line, fans will no doubt witness some action-packed matches full of excitement and drama this July. And with 16 days of non-stop world-class hockey, there’s a number of hugely exciting matches for fans to take in.”

To keep up to date with all the latest news relating to the Hockey World League Semi-Finals visit whilst updates will also be posted via FIH Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.