Komani-born hockey player eyes world stage

IN THE TUSSLE: Marvin Simons (in black) facing off against the SA Olympic team at the SA U21 selection camp in June in Potchefstroom Picture: SUPPLIED

Komani-born hockey player Marvin Simons has set his sights on becoming a Protea hockey player and representing the country on the world stage.

Simons, based in Johannesburg, is in contention for a place in the SA U21 team that will compete in the senior men’s hockey inter-provincial tournament (IPT) later this year.

He is no stranger to the big stage having been capped in the SA U18A team in 2018 against Australia. He has also made his mark in the indoor game, playing for the SA men’s side in a series against Switzerland in 2019 and has already selected been for the World Cup squad.

The astro is where his mindset is now and the first step will be selection into the final 18 man squad for the IPT, cut down from the current 24.

“I want to make the senior men’s team because I want to go to the next Olympics in 2024 and World Cups. I want to experience the international stage. It is a lot of pressure, but I am excited and honoured to be selected for the U21 team – the stage is much bigger now. The goal is to work harder than anyone else in the team,” said Simons.

There will be a lot to look forward to later this year as the junior world cup is around the corner, to be held in November, and a series against Namibia is also in the pipeline.

The 19-year-old is keen to secure his position after the disappointment of not going to the junior Africa Cup which was cancelled last year because of Covid-19 even though he had made the squad.

“It has been a long journey for the U21 team. I made the Afcon team and its cancellation really shattered my heart. Being in the junior World Cup is a lot of pressure and being in the 18-man squad will be physically and mentally demanding.

“I am excited to do the work. I love working hard and testing myself. Next will be the senior men’s team and World Cups. I am honoured and humbled that I have got this far,” he said.