Madibaz - Kamva Dyakala

Goalkeeper Kamva Dyakala’s skills on the hockey pitch will come under intense scrutiny when he makes his debut for South Africa this month.

The 22-year-old Madibaz star, who has played for the SA U21s in the past, learnt of his inclusion in the senior team last month.

His selection is the realisation of a dream, to put it mildly.

“Ten-thousand per cent,” was Dyakala response when prompted.

“I think any young aspiring hockey player has dreams of playing for their country in the biggest of competitions,” the Mandela University student, who will compete at the African Games in Ghana starting on March 8, said.

As a member of the national hockey talent squad, he heard rumours that he was in the running.

“I didn’t want to believe it at first, so I just continued training and working on my game because things can change quickly and I didn’t want to get my hopes up.

“Then, when the squad were released, to see my name among the top players in the country was unbelievable. It’s a feeling I can’t explain, to be honest.”

Madibaz - Kamva Dyakala

Madibaz goalkeeper Kamva Dyakala has achieved a cherished goal by being selected for the South African hockey team to compete in the African Games in Ghana from March 8 to 23. Photo: Full Stop Communications

The third-year inventory management student, who grew up in Despatch before moving to Gqeberha, said his and his mom’s joy knew no limits when he arrived home that evening.

“We were both so happy. As soon as I got home, I was jumping around and she was just laughing.”

Dyakala’s development as a shot stopper has not come without lifting a hand.

“At the end of each season, I evaluate myself and look at parts of my game that I can improve,” he explained.

“Since 2022, I’ve tried to remain consistent with my fitness and now I’m also working on my core and plyometrics (short, intense activity).”

Naturally, plenty of work is also being done between the posts. In a departure from previous campaigns, he started working with his coach on the technical aspects of goalkeeping before the season had even started.

Dyakala believed that his hockey IQ, hence his ability to control his area, had developed over the years. Even so, he acknowledged that there was scope for growth.

Consistency proved to be defining for the Madibaz goalie during his ascent of the ranks.

“I say this because not every game is the same. Some are tough and in others you’ll find yourself having the game of your life.

“Having a ‘keeper who is consistent throughout the season is better than one who is hot and cold.

“It’s a lot easier said than done.”

Contrary to what one might expect in a position where it is all about the waiting game, fitness is crucial.

“Your fitness needs to be at an optimum level. The ability to switch on when you’ve been doing nothing for quite a while takes a lot of concentration,” Dyakala said.

“The fitter you are, the longer you are able to concentrate and stay in the game when nothing is happening.”