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Back You are here: Home Sports Hockey Free State Hockey: Oranje Meisies - Best Team in SA
Thursday, 12 December 2013 10:49

Hockey: Oranje Meisies - Best Team in SA

It is difficult to argue against the fact that www.saschoolsports.co.za ranked Christelike en Nasionale Meisieskool Oranje first team as the top school in the country. Some of their achievements are startling – and this from a school that only has a sand-based turf.

But you read this story – let the facts unwind and make up your own mind.

Here’s a teaser: Oranje played 31 matches in SA and Europe, won 31, scored 143 goals with just 11 against. That is scarcely believable it is so good.

Astonishingly, despite this incredible success, Odendaal says this is only the beginning.

Oranje was established in 1907 by President M.T. Steyn and little did he know what a powerhouse in schoolgirl hockey this government school would become.

And much of their success can be laid at the feet of Director of Coaches and first team mentor Morné Odendaal. “Yes, the girls worked so hard this year to get where they are today, being ranked first in SA is makes all the hard work worth it.”

‘At Oranje we don't just look at helping each girl with their hockey
but also helping them be all they can be as a person.’

“I started at Oranje last year as director of coaches and this year is my first year coaching the first team,” Odendaal told SA School Sports in a wide-ranging exclusive interview. “I'm in charge of all the hockey teams and coaches. It's my job to help all the teams with technical and tactical aspects of the game. The school wants me to get the best out of each player and help them reach their full potential. At Oranje we don't just look at helping each girl with their hockey, but also helping them be all they can be as a person.”

But there is much more to Odendaal than Oranje alone. “My mom and I also run a successful hockey school in Bloemfontein. We also travel all over SA for coaching.”

‘It is best to have outside coaches who have a passion for the game.’

Of course, a good base means just about everything: “We start off in our primary school, where I coach the U13A side. Our U14A and U16A were both unbeaten this year, which helps a lot with the depth we have.”

Odendaal says that the quality of O coaching at the A- team junior levels is top-notch. “We implement the same systems and game plans down the age-groups. All are outside [non-teacher] coaches. “It is best to have outside coaches who have a passion for the game. If you use your teachers, you have to send them for coaching courses to upgrade themselves. For U14A we have Jonelke Swanepoel, who has played for SA through the age-groups. She currently plays for Kovsies [University of the Free State] and the Free State Women’s side.  For U16A we have Justin Oelofse, who played provincial hockey at school. He also coached the Oranje first team for three years.”

Oranje played 31 matches in SA and Europe, won 31, scored 143 goals with just 11 against. That is scarcely believable it is so good.

“The Southern Free State schoolgirls’ hockey league is very strong; you can see it in how our teams did this year in the national tournaments (IPT’s). Our Southern Free State U14’s won their regional tournament, our U16's came third at their IPT and our U18's came second. Schools in our province are very competitive and professional nowadays, they all try to be one step ahead of the other.” 

‘It is a huge honour for the new girls to put on their first team jersey.’

The stellar performances of the Oranje first team? Check out these eye-popping stats – and then their first team squad and individual achievements:

Pre-Season Games:

Oranje beat Hudson Park 3-0
Oranje beat Diamantveld 5-1

European Tour:

Oranje beat Oxford 9-0 (England)
Oranje beat Redding 7-1 (England)
Oranje beat Koninglike Klub 8-1 (Belgium)
Oranje beat Almeerce HK 5-1 (Holland)
Oranje won a tournament in Holland (2-0, 2-0, 1-0)
 
All Girls Tournament:

Oranje beat Pretoria Girls High 3-1
Oranje beat Rhenish 4-0
Oranje beat La Rochelle 8-0
Oranje beat Parktown 7-0
Oranje beat Paarl Girls High 3-0 in the semis
Oranje beat Clarendon High 1-0 in the final
 
Southern Free State League:

Oranje beat Sentraal 5-1
Oranje beat Eunice 2nd 7-0
Oranje beat Fichardtpark 7-0
Oranje beat St. Michaels 7-0
Oranje beat Jim Fouche 3-2
Oranje beat Eunice 2-1
Oranje beat Oranje 2nd 5-0
Oranje beat Oranje 2nd 2-0 in the semi's
Oranje beat Eunice 4-0 in the final
 
Inter-Schools:

Oranje beat Affies 4-0
Oranje beat Collegiate 4-0
Oranje beat Bloemhof 4-0
Arranged extra game against Somerset and Oranje won 2-1
 
Free State Cup:

Oranje beat Goudveld 10-0
Oranje beat Sasolburg 7-1
Oranje beat Witteberg 2-0
 
Oranje First Team:

Elzane van Aswegen (gr.11)- Southern Free State U18C
Simone Gouws (gr.8) - SFS U14A
Jana Greeff (gr.9) - SFS U16A & SA U16 Squad
Este van Schalkwyk (gr.10) - SFS U16A
Arianna Botha (gr.9) - SFS U16A
Joalene Fouche (gr.12) - SFS U18B
Sonika van Heerden (gr.8) - SFS U14A
Jone Kros (gr.12) - SFS U18A Captain
Priscilla Esterhuyze (gr.11) - SFS U18A
Antonet Louw (gr.11) - SFS U18A, SA U18A, best forward at IPT, top goalscorer at IPT (13 goals), currently on 146 first team caps and 193 goals.
Pikkie van Zyl (gr.12) - SFS U18A, SA U18B
Marli van Deventer (gr.8) - SFS U14B
Charlise Hugo (gr.9) - SFS U16B
Minke van Heerden (gr.9) - SFS U16A, SA U16A
Mirie van Niekerk (gr.10) - SFS U16A

Astonishingly, despite this incredible success, Odendaal says this is only the beginning. Has the first team success been part of a two- or three-year plan?  “It is a five-year plan and this was the first year. We are in a rebuilding phase.”

‘If we can play our style of hockey, I don't care about the result.’


As coach, how does Odendaal instil discipline in his group and in the individuals in the team? “Our school’s Christian values make discipline easy. Our girls are well behaved and know what they need to do to reach their goals. In the end it's all about respecting yourself and your teammates, laying out individual and team goals before each match. The girls have a quote that they follow: ‘The Lord put you here for a reason, use the opportunity!’ The school has a rich history; we always want to play, it is a huge honour for the new girls to put on their first team jersey.”


What style or brand of hockey does Odendaal try and get the Oranje team to play?  “We play a very attacking and fast-paced game. We are always in counter-attack mode. We try to make the player next to us look as good as possible. We try and play complete hockey, attacking and defending with 11 players. If we can play our style of hockey, I don't care about the result. We do lots of work on our girls so that they are technically strong enough to be able to still play a game full of flair and self-confidence in a high-pressure situation.”

There was no particular victory this season that gave Odendaal the most satisfaction. “They all gave me satisfaction on different levels, but I think the ones that got me the most emotionally involved were the games where we were behind. Our very young team showed lots of character. Games like that were against Jim Fouche, Eunice and Somerset College. Jim Fouche, we were 2-1 down with four minutes left and we won 3-2; Eunice in the Bloemfontein derby we were 1-0 down and we won 2-1; against Somerset College we played in horrible weather conditions, were 1-0 down and we won 2-1.”

After such an incredible year, which must go down as one of the greatest of any SA schoolgirl first team in history, are there any challenges that lie ahead? “We don’t look back at the success we have achieved, we keep moving forward like Oranje's motto, which says, “Vooruit”


And the thing is, Odendaal can walk the talk, having played for Southern Free State his entire school career. He played SA 16, played for Kovsies first side for four years, played Free State U21A and for the Free State men's side.

But why coaching? “Growing up in a hockey family, I was bitten by the hockey bug at a young age. The biggest satisfaction for me is seeing players improve in their hockey and in themselves.”

Unsurprisingly, the greatest influence on his hockey career has been Mom. “My mother, Elsie Coetzer, taught me a love for the game from a very young age. I have learned a lot from her and all the successes she had in her coaching career. I really like to talk to hockey coaches to get new ideas and concepts. My motto in coaching is: ‘Next week I will be a better coach than this week.’ Another person I have really learned a lot from is [SA men’s assistant coach] Craig Fulton.”

At just 26, a product of Grey College and UFS (marketing), Odendaal says his hobbies “include hockey and hockey”, although he also likes to relax by spending time with his wife, Delia. 




ORANJE STATS

U14A to D teams, U16A to F teams, U18A to F teams (16 TEAMS IN ALL)

There are about 100 learners in the Oranje pre-primary, about 600 in Oranje primary and about 700 in the Oranje high school

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