Published on 24th February 2022
In order to overcome the difficulties that some nations have with sending youth teams to this summer’s B category competition in Turkey, some countries are considering other alternatives. This is the case of South Africa, as the president of the South African underwater hockey federation Heine Engelbrecht explains.
Like France, as Dominique Ruaux announced in On Avoine, South Africa is planning to create its own international Young Age tournament. “We didn’t want to promote it before the entries for Turkey were released, so we wouldn’t look like we were boycotting it, but we needed a plan for the younger players to play.“
For Heine Engelbrecht, it was difficult to send South African youth teams for different reasons. “It’s a very long tournament to take our players overseas. We also looked at the cost that was being asked of us. It was very expensive, especially the accommodation.” The South African president has chosen to anticipate this by organising an international tournament in September or October 2022. “It will be a low-cost competition. We want people to have fun, we want them to experience South Africa, we want them to make friends.“
While the concrete format of the Young Age tournament is not yet known, the duration would be one week. Moreover, the South African president says that there will be no maximum number of teams. “We would like to invite three or four teams, but if there are more we will change and make a plan.“
Among the teams South Africa wants to invite, there are France, Great Britain and Spain. Heine Engelbrecht plans to have the teams compete in several different locations. “We would play in Cape Town, which is a very beautiful place, Gauteng, Victoria, Johannesburg where the Big Five is.“
In addition to the Young Age tournament, South Africa is considering inviting several Elite teams to the Interclubs scheduled for December. The Rainbow Nation could well become a training base for teams preparing for the upcoming world competitions.