In December of 2017, the Pro Series Indoor Hockey Nationals featured a novel series called the showdowns between South Africa, the World All-Stars and the International All-Stars. It was an epic four nights of hockey that kept an action-packed crowd consumed by the entertainment, but it was also the introduction of the SA Indoor Hockey fraternity to just how good Anton van Loggerenberg is.
At that time Loggies was not one of the three keepers in Pierre le Roux’s picture. Yet that opening night a delay in Laurens Goedegebeure’s kit getting to South Africa meant that the back-up got call-up. If that was the door opening for Loggies, he shoved his Mercian Hockey gear straight through the door and didn’t give it an opportunity to close.
At the 2018 IPT he established himself as the Western Province number one but was not one of the four goalkeepers selected by the SA Selectors. However, he raised the bar again the 2019 tournament when he was a key component in a victory march. Western Province broke a long-time drought with Anton the goalkeeper of the tournament in the process. The tournament saw Loggies conceded only 20 goals and meant he earned a call up as one of three keepers in the South African Men’s Indoor Hockey squad alongside Sizwe Mtembu and Cameron Goodwin.
An injury to Mtembu meant that Goodwin and van Loggerenberg shared the spot and the shot stopper earned himself five test caps for his country against Switzerland. It was a remarkable series which the South Africans won 5-0 over six games. With 2020 offering more test match opportunity for the South Africans (a re-arranged series against Namibia and the African Cup of Nations will take place at some point in the year), Loggies knew he would have to step up to keep himself in coach David Joshua’s plans.
And so, we arrived at the 2020 Indoor Hockey IPT at Ashton College in Ballito with van Loggerenberg the only goalkeeper for the defending champions. Having got through the group stage only conceding 10 goals, Loggies had a tough semi-final as the champions beat their “B” team 5-3 but in the process the keeper dislocated his shoulder. I had been well informed that it was unlikely he would play in the final.
But he did summon memories of a broken handed Graeme Smith walking to the crease at SCG, Cesc Fabregas scoring a penalty against Barcelona with a broken leg and Derek Redmond finishing his 400m at the Olympics despite having a torn hamstring. Loggies may well have surpassed these performances because not only did he play, he starred for Western Province. Playing against the superb KZN Raiders he denied the likes of Jarryd Jones, Jethro Eustice, Justin Domleo, Keegan Hezlett and Keagan Robinson no matter what they threw at him. Playing with an injured arm, his man of the match performance kept the score level at 2-2 at full time before he denied all four shootouts to lift the title. He was obviously awarded goalkeeper of the tournament again, but there were more than a few people in the crowd who would have given him player of the tournament
Ross Willis, Anton’s double title winning Western Province coach, shared a wonderful sentiment about his keeper. “Realistically I urge anyone in South Africa to find a greater team player than Anton – he plays for the badge on his chest and the men by his side. He will be an absolute sensation for South Africa at the Indoor Hockey World Cup next year!”
In the space of three years Anton has emerged from the shadows. He is no longer the back up to the All-Stars, he is the All-Star. As a South African fan, I’m incredibly grateful of that!