The Ladies hockey team wants to rewrite the history of the tournament it has never won 

The Wits Ladies hockey team plans to bring its A game to this year’s Varsity Hockey tournament that kicks off on Friday, May 3, at Hares Astroturf in Cape Town, and will finish on Monday, May 20.

Captain Nompilo Thenjwayo told Wits Vuvuzela that the team will do this by being “consistent”. “We want to improve with every game,” she said.

She added that playing in the Varsity Hockey tournament is very competitive. “Our biggest goal is to be able to play the best hockey that we can play,” Thenjwayo said.

Wits will go against hosts, UCT Hockey, in the team’s opening game. The first weekend is critical, said Wits head of hockey Sharmin Naidoo. “We need to start well.”

The last time the team played Varsity Hockey was in 2017 as the tournament is on a gender rotational basis. The team bowed out of the tournament in the semi-final rounds with a slim loss of 3-2 to UP Tuks Hockey, the team that went on to win the tournament. Tuks men also won in 2018.

Naidoo said he hoped the team would make it to the semi-final stages again this year and “play the tournament from there”.

“We are hoping to win the first ever ladies Varsity Hockey trophy for Wits University since the inception of the Varsity Hockey tournaments,” he said.

Thenjwayo said the most memorable part of the 2017 tournament was when the Witsies played the Madibaz (Nelson Mandela University). “We were down 3-0 in the first half but managed to win the game 7-3,” she said.

Wits goes into the tournament armed with Ashley Datnow and Nicky Veto who play for the national hockey team.

“Having strong individuals in the team is always amazing,” Thenjwayo said, but added that to achieve their goals, all team members would have play their best.

“We know what we are capable of and hope to perform consistently throughout the tournament,” she said.

The Wits Ladies team is led by Head Coach Pietie Coetzee-Turner, assistant coach Emmanuel Segale and Marcel Lamont, the strength and conditioning coach.

“The Ladies hockey team has grown from strength to strength with coach Pietie Coetzee-Turner at the helm of the team.” Naidoo said.

FEATURED IMAGE: Wits Ladies hockey captain Nompilo Thenjwayo takes over the ball at a 2018 Winter League game. Photo: Mary Sayegh