Wits Hockey Club gears up for Hockey World League Semi-Finals 2017

HOCKEY AT ITS BEST: Wits Hockey Club will play host to the Hockey World League Semi-Finals 2017 from 8 to 23 July. Photo: International Federation of Hockey (FIH)

 

Twenty of the world’s best men’s and women’s national hockey teams will grace the Wits Hockey Club in Braamfontein to engage in fierce battle in the Hockey World League Semi-Finals 2017 from 8 to 23 July.

The International Hockey Federation (FIH) announced the schedule for these Hockey World Cup 2018 qualifiers.

In the men’s 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.

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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 doorstep is sure not to be missed,” said Venter.

“We’d like to make an impression not only on the world 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.”

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 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 that with so much on the line, fans would 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.”

Details: To keep up to date with all the latest news relating to the Hockey World League semi-finals visit FIH.ch and updates will also be posted via FIH Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

 

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Tshepiso Mametela

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