The Wanderer’s bring the Elite Club Challenge title back to Johannesburg
The Wanderer’s Hockey Club from Johannesburg showed up big this past weekend at the Riverside Hockey Club in Durban for the annual Belgotex Elite Club Challenge. This challenge consists of a three day tournament where the top teams from across South Africa battle it out for the National Title.
The Wanderer’s teams were underdogs, both the men and women, yet both ended up bringing home the titles. Just imagine the club pride this week!
Instagram Interview: Meet & learn from South Africa Men’s National Keeper
We are very proud of our Uru business strategist, Rassie Pieterse, for his clean sheet in the ECC finals. From his post-game summary, it sounds like it was a nail bitter and the Wanderers ‘defended for our lives!’
Pieterse is a pretty cool guy with a decent humor and has his own extensive field hockey journey from playing and coaching overseas both club and internationally.
So we thought it was appropriate for you to get to know Rassie and hear what he has to say about the Belogate ECC and about club hockey in South Africa. We did an Instagram pull to find out what our followers wanted to know if they could ask Pieterse anything they wanted.
The content was so fun and informative that we want to share it here with you.
Who knows, it may even make you want to explore playing a club hockey season in South Africa!
Who are you?
I have many identities- sometimes I’m known as ‘The Man Behind the Mask’, ‘South Africa Men’s National Team Goal Keeper’, ‘Mr. TK junior’, Uru Sports Biz Strategist, Father to two beautiful girls.
What is the ECC like?
It’s awesome! It’s includes all the elite field hockey clubs in South Africa. Most of the South African players that play in Europe fly back for this challenge. I recommend it to any player… Maybe join my club next year! The mighty Wanderers from Johannesburg!
What was your favorite par of the ECC this year?
Definitely winning the final! Especially against the home team, Riverside. We actually lost against them last year so it was nice to get one up against them again!
CHAMPION!! what’d you do to celebrate?
We had a couple cold ones in the changing room, while singing some old club songs. Then the party and celebrations carried to the clubhouse!
Who gets to play in the Elite Club Competition?
It’s all the traditional top hockey clubs in South Africa, from Cape Town, Johannesburg, Pretoria and Durban… no universities. There is a lot of experience on the pitch with high intensity matches.
Any fun traditions your team did at the ECC?
Our away kit is always crazy! Teams look out for it every year. The fines meetings and festivities with our fans are also special!
What is the structure of the ECC tournament?
It starts on the Thursday and finishes on the Saturday night. Typically you fly in the morning and play your first game in the evening. Friday you have two matches; one in the morning and then one later at night. Whoever ends at the top of the two pools, plays in the epic final on the Saturday night… Hectic on the legs but awesome hockey and great vibe!
What’s your’re favorite part about club hockey in South Africa?
Definitely the traditions, friendships and the vibe between all our club members! It’s a true family feeling at our club!
What are the dates of club hockey in South Africa?
Leagues start end of March, beginning April and then usually finishes in September. But we also have a provincial tournament and franchise league called the PHL (Premier Hockey League). This is our national tournament. So the hockey schedule is jammed packed throughout the season!
In season do you play other clubs from all over South Africa?
No, throughout season you only play club hockey in your province or region. The universities play hockey across all of South Africa though… But the Belgotex ECC gives clubs a chance to challenge themselves against other top clubs around South Africa.
What provenience is typically the strongest for hockey?
Mine :p Johannesburg (Southern Gauteng). Cape Town (Western Cape) also has a great league!
What areas do you recommend playing club hockey in?
Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town and Durban… but Joburg is my favorite!
Play Field Hockey in South Africa
If this does not make you want to play field hockey in South Africa, then I don’t know what would! You got a glimpse at South Africa’s natural beauty, the fun down-to-earth people, and the great field hockey competition you’d experience while automatically having a new team of 20+ friends across the world.
Check out Uru Sports today to learn more about field hockey in different locations and at different clubs/universities around the world.
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