The Cape Seals were too strong on home ground as they won ten and drew one of their matches to end as unbeaten champions in the PSI Under-11 Boys tournament held at UCT. Under the guidance of former SA Men’s Indoor Hockey star Greg Knott the Seals were simply a cut above the rest of the competition, securing a 2-0 victory over the West Coast. Barracudas in the final. Knott represented South Africa at the inaugural Indoor Hockey World Cup in Germany in 2003 and played outdoor hockey for many years.
His son Damian shared the PSI player of the tournament with teammate Imad Khan and Knott said that watching the team from the side lines had inspired him to get involved and share some of his considerable knowledge. “I was watching the team and felt that I had something to offer them given my experience so I got involved and showed the boys some basics so that they could really start enjoying the game and they have absolutely loved it,” he said.
Having imparted some technical wisdom and established set patterns for the team to play to, the boys flourished under Knott’s guidance and played some breath taking hockey at times. He explained that once the grounding had been set the boys were able to express themselves, scoring over 60 goals over the weekend and conceding just 18. “When we started training they were very raw and I would say that up to three quarters of our time was spent on technical stuff like basic indoor patterns and other indoor specifics and they have just grown from there,” Knott said. Although it was a controlled performance in the final against the Barracudas, the Seals had been pushed hard in their semi-finals against the PE Vipers.
The match went down to the wire as although the Seals were always ahead the Vipers came back strongly and were effectively beaten by the clock as they went down 3-2 having dominated the final stages of the match. The PE side had a formidable short corner routine which had earned them plenty of goals over the weekend, which is why discipline was so key for the Seals to progress to the final. The two players who shared the player of the tournament award – Damian Knott and Imad Khan – were the heart and soul of the side with Knott proving a rock on defence and Khan providing plenty of creative flair on attack.
The two complimented each other’s game perfectly, with Knott co-ordinating from the back and putting Imad in space to torment defenders with his speed and deft stick work, and this just a few weeks after having to mark each other in a school match. Although his side lost 2-0 in the final it could have been worse if not for the heroics of Barracudas goalkeeper of the tournament Andre Herman, whilst the tenacious Namibian Eagles were awarded the spirit prize for their never-say-die attitude.