MEN’S HOCKEY LIKE YOU’VE NEVER SEEN IT BEFORE

Dazzling Varsity Hockey matches to kick-start intervarsity challenge this weekend (WITS)

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This year’s thrilling Varsity Hockey men’s season will start at the University of the Witwatersrand from 3 to 5 May 2014. Don’t miss these top university teams in action as they take each other on in this highly competitive arena. Matches commence at 10h00 on Saturday 3 May, 11h00 on Sunday, 4 May and 13h30 on Monday, 5 May.

The Varsity Sports programme, now in its second successful year, has brought the excitement of USA college sports to an enthusiastic and receptive South African sporting public. What could be more exciting than a combination of smart outfits, toned bodies and enthusiastic teams competing for honours at the highest level? So, pack up the family and come and support your team. The pace is fast – this is university sport at its best, with non-stop action being the order of the day.

“Many promising young sportsmen and women are coming through the Varsity Sports Programme,” says Trent Key, Marketing and Sponsorship Executive for Varsity Sports. “Cole Zondagh, a product of Jeppe High School for Boys and now a student at the University of the Witwatersrand (WITS), will be helping to drive the WITS team to the 2014 finals. Zondagh represents the Southern Men’s Indoor Hockey team.” Zondagh will be joined by the WITS middle-fielder, Matthew Povall. With his brother on the team, this match will be made for teamwork. Not only do we have the Povall brothers, but the WITS team has sibling collaboration, in the form of the three Daniel brothers. It will be a privilege to see our future sporting heroes in action again,” says Trent. “One of the advantages of the Varsity Sports Programme is that it brings the excitement right to one’s doorstep.”

During last year’s ladies’ final, Maties managed to beat the team from NWU-Pukke by one goal, in what was a tightly contested final held at the University of Pretoria. The men take their turn on the battlefield this year. Rest assured, winning won’t come easy. With some of the country’s finest young players coming through the university ranks and fighting hard for their teams, this will be a hard-fought victory, with no quarter being given by any side.

After a very successful year in 2013, the participating universities in the Varsity Sports programme will once again compete across six sporting codes during 2014. The men’s hockey will be taking place at four venues from 3 May and ending off with the semi-finals and finals at the University of Johannesburg on 19 May. Venues at Wits University and Stellenbosch will also be used. The men’s hockey will be followed by the football programme from 21 July to 15 September; netball from 15 September to 20 October; and rugby sevens and beach volleyball from 28 to 30 November.

Participating universities across all six sporting codes are: The University of Limpopo (UL); Free State (Kovsies); Pretoria (Tuks); Stellenbosch (Maties); NMMU (Port Elizabeth); North-West University (Pukke); Rhodes University; University of Fort Hare (UFH); Tshwane University of Technology (TUT); Vaal University of Technology; The University of Cape Town (UCT); the University of the Western Cape (UWC); the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits); and the University of Johannesburg (UJ).

The Varsity Sports arena is the ideal place for up and coming athletes to show their mettle. “Whether this is a personal best, a national record or merely the honour of competing for your university against some of the best sportsmen in the country, this is the place to be and to be seen. Each event will be televised on SuperSport,” says Duitser Bosman, CEO of Varsity Sports. “We are also extremely grateful to our sponsors; FNB, Cell C, the Famous Brands Group, Samsung and the Edcon Group. Without their ongoing commitment to sport, our athletes would find it difficult to maintain the high performance standards required at this high level.” Varsity Sports is part of Advent Sport Entertainment & Media (Pty) Ltd (ASEM), which is headed by SA rugby legend Francois Pienaar.

“While the creation of an exciting platform from which our future sports heroes can aspire to even higher levels is our primary goal, we are also helping to integrate sportsmen at every level and from every background,” says Bosman. “The team spirit and spectator support that is clearly evident at our events is proof of this.” The crowd participation is always enthusiastic, the Varsity Sports events are different – they’re fast-paced and adrenalin-driven. “Don’t miss an event,” says Bosman. “The spirit shown by spectators and athletes alike is riveting – the events are always action-packed and fun for everyone.”

Hockey has always been an enjoyable sport for spectators of all ages. The game is easy to understand and the competitive spirit of the athletes, as they vie for team honour, shouldn’t be missed. This is happening right here and right now – so, come along and shout for your team; the louder the better!

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