The sweetest of USSA victories for Steinhoff Maties Men : 2016-07-12


After letting themselves down at USSA tournaments the past few years, the Steinhoff Maties Hockey men finally overcame the title hurdle to win the first USSA men’s title for the club since 2009.

Dylan Swanepoel and his Maroon Platoon of merry men went to USSA in Johannesburg with the knowledge that for many of them it is now or never to win a title other than the local Western Province league title. In a thrilling final against Tuks – a repeat of the Varsity Hockey semi-earlier in the season – Maties took a 2-0 lead, but after two quick goals from Tuks it went to a shoot-out for the title. Maties held their nerve and lifted the trophy as victors.

“The USSA gold medal means a lot. We put in a lot of hard work this season; especially in our preparation camp leading up to the tournament. We have underperformed at USSA for the last few years, so to finally get a gold medal is a great feeling,” said Swanepoel, who was part of the team that finished third last year.

The Maties teams always have a great team spirit, but last week players and management felt that something special was happening within the ranks of the squad.

“The team spirit was a vital part of our success. We placed a huge emphasis on having fun at the tournament. We have always been a close team, but this week was different. Every member of the team – from management to players – put in a huge amount of effort to have a good time on and off the field. You have to enjoy what you are doing.”

Striker Keenan Horne was named player of the tournament. He has been an instrumental player for Maties for a few years now.

“We had four key words to help us remain focused and calm on the field. One of those keywords was trust. It’s simply about knowing that when your teammate is pushing you and instructing you their actions are purely for the benefit of the team. Getting individual recognition after winning the gold was a very overwhelming feeling. The focus for the week was purely on winning the title with the team and in a team sport you sacrifice for the team and rely on the team. It’s always special being recognised but it’s the team that gave me the opportunity to express myself and for that I will always be thankful.”

Maties will now continue their quest for a fourth consecutive WP league title when they take on Ikeys on Saturday 23 July in the next league fixture.



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