“after we lost in the final last year I really wanted to win”

Three players from the Wits Hockey ladies’ team won gold in the CTM Premier Hockey League (PHL), which took place from July 18 to August 4 at Randburg Astro.

Nomnikelo Veto and Mandisa Sigudla, third-year bachelor of arts students, and Ashleigh Datnow, a physiotherapy honours student, represented the Madikwe Rangers, who won the league for the first time with a final score of 3-2 in a nail-biting match against the Wineland Wings.

The Rangers became the first team to make it to three finals in the league and made their debut on the hockey scene in 2016.

Veto told Wits Vuvuzela they worked hard on the turf and had to trust each other, because they “went into the tournament hoping to win”.

The team did not have much time to prepare for the tournament. They had only one training session and trained as a team for the first time when they met on the day before the tournament.

Sigudla, who played in the PHL for the first time said, “There was just a Whatsapp group where communication was sent through, because we all come from different provinces and we play for different clubs, so there was no time.”

The Rangers had a tough first weekend, suffering a 3-2 loss against the Namaqualand Daisies.

According to Veto, the team won because they worked together to win all their games and they played as a unit.

“I enjoyed playing with the Rangers, and after we lost in the final last year I really wanted to win [this time],” said Veto.

“It is also so great playing with a great bunch of girls because we are friends on and off the field and that makes things easier,” she said.

The players said the PHL was a learning experience because they got to play with “some of South Africa’s finest players and this was a challenging tournament because there are no weak teams or easy games”.

FEATURED IMAGE: Nomnikelo Veto from the Rangers hockey team weaves the ball through opposition at the CTM Premier Hockey League. Photo: Provided