Cape Town – National women’s hockey
coach Sheldon Rostron has hailed the Premier Hockey League as an important part
of the bigger picture of the country’s hockey set-up and said the standard of
this year’s tournament was a big step up from 2016.
Speaking as the curtain came down on the 2017
event, Rostron was also enthusiastic about the growth opportunities for such a
The unheralded Orange River Rafters were
crowned women’s champions and the Crossroads Maropeng Cavemen lifted the men’s
trophy for a second consecutive year as the tournament came to an end on
“From last year’s PHL, I think we’ve seen a big
improvement in the quality of hockey this year. I think it’s been part of our
processes to make sure, from high performance, that we’ve really looked at the
top players that are here, how those teams get put together,” said Rostron.
“We also tried to integrate all the under-21s
that are in the system as well to make sure that they were all here to perform
and we were very happy with the quality in general,” added the coach.
“Within Africa this is definitely one of the
strongest leagues and we need to look at how we grow ourselves from this –
potentially latching on to international players that could maybe come and add
value in a process like this, and hopefully being able to professionalise in
the long-term. I think that way we could really add a lot of value to the
With two major tournaments on the horizon for
the national sides, the PHL provided selectors with one last chance to have a
look at potential team members – with Rostron hinting there may even be a few
surprises when his Commonwealth Games team is announced in January.
“In terms of players that we’ve seen, there’ve
certainly been one or two that we’ve been happy to have a look at. I definitely
think there are some players here that have put up their hands quite nicely,”
Meanwhile, CEO of SA Hockey
Marissa Langeni was also full of praise for the tournament.
pleased with how the tournament has gone. I think there’s been some really
exciting hockey for fans out there and I think the Premier Hockey League is
obviously an event that everybody has been looking forward to.
“There were a few challenges with
the rain but then again, over 8255 hockey fans have come through the gates to
enjoy the spectacular display of hockey over the last three weekends – I
think that it’s been a phenomenal event all round.”