Published in Vuvuzela, September 14
By Jay Caboz
WITS hockey player Demi du Toit has been chosen to represent South Africa in the Under 21 Junior World Cup Qualifier Tournament to be held at the Kaspersky Randburg Astro in October.
Should the team win the tournament, they will automatically qualify for the Junior World Cup, to be held in Canada in June next year. But Du Toit will be unable to play in this as she turns 21 this year.
“Last October I was told I had been called up into the Junior World Cup squad to join them at camp. However turning 21 in 2012 meant that I was ineligible to participate in the Junior World Cup, meaning that I would only be able to play in the qualifiers should I be selected for the team.”
Du Toit is not the only one. A further five players in the squad also exceed the age limit. Kaila Flemming, Christine Roos, Lisa Hawker and Nicole Kemp will not be able to go.
Du Toit (the only Witsie), Flemming and Roos are among the five players who were selected from Southern Gauteng. Four were chosen from Western Province, three from the Free State and Northern Gauteng, two from Amathole (formally Border) and one from Eastern Province.
She is disappointed at not being eligible, but Du Toit still hopes to make the women’s senior side in the future. The eligible players were included in the squad to help strengthen it specifically for the qualifying tournament.
U21 SA are firm favourites to win at Randburg and have been scheduled to take on the likes of Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Namibia and Zimbabwe.
“In order to make the SA woman’s squad, it’s going to take a lot more hard work, focus and determination. I believe I have what it takes to be in that team one day and I will put in the work to get there,” said Du Toit.
Du Toit most recently represented U21 SA in the Senior Interprovincial Tournament (IPT) held in August at the Randburg Astro. They finished in fourth position overall after losing to Northern Gauteng. The Witsie contributed significantly to the side as one of the top defenders as well as a penalty corner specialist.
“I first played in green and gold when I was 17. I made the U18 South African team. We played a series against Australia and Zimbabwe later that year. The same team then took part in the U21 IPT the following year.”
For Du Toit, every moment on the field is about being accurate, composed and patient. She accepts that balancing her university work and her hockey schedule is her greatest challenge.