University of Johannesburg hockey prodigy Keegan Kieck will prove talent knows no age boundaries when he joins the South African men’s indoor hockey teamin Leipzig, Germany, on January 28 to participate in the 2015 Indoor World Cup.

The second-year corporate communications student was selected to represent SA in March last year and will be the youngest player at the Indoor World Cup, which takes place from February 3 to 8.

He joined the team for the three-Test Africa Qualifier tournament in Windhoek, Namibia, from April 9 to 13 last year where the visitors claimed a 3-0 series win.

“Once we realised we had qualified for the World Cup it was quite overwhelming,” said Kieck. “To be 19 and being able to go to the World Cup, it was breathtaking.

“It’s a moment that is going to stay with me for the rest of my life.”

His team have been preparing fiercely for the international competition, with intense training camps to enhance skills and practise formations.

Besides these technical sessions, the side also took on the African All Stars team during the Nolands Pro Series Indoor Nationals in Cape Town in December.

“It was a life-changing experience for me; I don’t think many people on the local hockey circuit can say that there has ever been hype like that around a hockey game,” said Kieck.

The national team defeated the All Stars 8-4 in the final game of the nine-day competition, winning the four-match series 4-0.

“Knowing we are an inspiration to so many kids and that they will be supporting us and believe that we can win is such a confidence booster going into the World Cup,” said Kieck.

The team have just completed a high-intensity three-day training camp at Maris Stella Girl’s School in Durban, which marked the last time they will play together before the World Cup.

“We concentrated mainly on our objectives and strategies for the World Cup and I think we played our best hockey,” he said.

“We are more than just team mates; we are all friends, which I believe is really important to the success of a team.”

Kieck said most of their nerves were overshadowed by the excitement of experiencing a World Cup.

“I have never been overseas so being able to experience a different place is going to be a whole new adventure.”

Despite facing competition from top-ranking teams such as Germany, Russia and Poland, Kieck said he believed this year’s team would be one of the strongest the country had ever sent.

“In terms of the preparation and build-up, it has been the most organised and one of the best.”

He said although they ultimately hoped to win, their main goal would be to finish in the top eight.

“If we implement our strategies and play well as a team, with everything we have, I think we will do incredibly well.”

Although Kieck has made the SA outdoor sides from U16 to U21 level, the 2015 Indoor World Cup marks his first senior selection.

The striker, who spends most of his time on the West Rand and in Sandton, hopes to make the U21 qualifiers for the Junior Hockey World Cup next year as well as trying to break into the international club circuit.

“Playing for UJ prepared me for the world stage by teaching me all about camaraderie, which is one of the most important things in team sports.”

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The University of Johannesburg’s Keegan Kieck will join the South African men’s indoor hockey team at the Indoor World Cup next month. Photo: Kent Lock

Issued by:

Coetzee Gouws
082 575 7991
041 368 4992

On behalf of:

University of Johannesburg Sport