Hockey: Hockey World League
The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has announced that the men’s and women’s Hockey World League Semi-Finals will take place at the Wits Hockey Club in Johannesburg, between 8-23 July, much to the delight of the South African Hockey Association (SAHA).
Local fans can look forward to welcoming teams from as far afield as Ireland, Japan, France and Egypt for the men’s event. Our National men, as winners of the 2015 African Hockey Championship, will be up against reigning Hockey World Cup, World League and Champions Trophy winners Australia, Olympic silver medallists Belgium, Olympic bronze medallists Germany, New Zealand, and Spain.
Very few nations have had the opportunity to host both men and women at the same venue at the same time. This event at Wits Hockey Club again demonstrates SAHA’s objective to amplify the gender amazing aspect of our sport amongst some of the other objectives of accessibility, professionalism and event experience. Hosting events on home soil also plays into our cost management strategy due to the funding challenges of national teams traveling abroad.
For the women’s Semi-Final, the South African team will play host to India, Chile, Ireland and Poland. These teams will play reigning Hockey Champions Trophy and Hockey World League champions Argentina, England – who will include many of the Rio 2016 gold medallist athletes who represented Great Britain, Rio 2016 bronze medallists Germany, Japan, and reigning Pan American champions USA.
In exciting news for the sport of hockey, all 132 matches from the Hockey World League Semi-Finals in South Africa will be broadcast live on SuperSport.
Whilst preparation will be in full swing for our event, London and Brussels will be playing hosts to the first of the men’s and women’s Semi-Finals, all of which are qualification events for the 2018 Hockey World Cups in London, England (women) and Bhubaneswar, India (men).
The top teams from Brussels, London and Johannesburg will also be aiming to qualify for two of hockey’s showcase events – the Women’s Hockey World League Final 2017 in Auckland, New Zealand and the Men’s Odisha Hockey World League Final 2017 in Bhubaneswar, India.
South African hockey players will have the opportunity to test themselves against the very best in the world of hockey, on home soil. With FIH Hero World Ranking points on offer, it becomes a pivotal event on the hockey calendar for teams wanting to qualify for the 2018 Hockey World Cups and the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.