A Bright(y) hockey future at MHS!

“MHS” is not only an abbreviation for Hoërskool Middelburg, but many (and justifiably so) also feel that it stands for “Middie Hockey Stars”. Now these stars will shine more brightly - if you will excuse the pun - thanks to their new hockey guru.

Brighty Mashaba has been appointed as the school’s head of hockey and he will definitely aim to add more horsepower to an already smooth-running machine. And the 25-year-old’s hockey CV makes for impressive reading.

After basically representing every Mpumalanga provincial side there is (he is a former pupil of Hoërskool Generaal Hertzog), he packed his bags and goalkeeping kit for the Potchefstroom Campus of the University of the North West, where he played for Pukke I and the senior provincial team.

As a goalkeeper, he has always been close to the action and he still remembers his best goal-saving effort.

“There was a penalty stroke against me and the game was balanced on a knife’s edge: if they scored, they would have won. But luckily I pulled off a nice stick save in the corner. I remember I saw the ball like it was coming in slow motion - almost as if it was as big as a watermelon!”

Advances in technology mean that players can now hit a ball harder than ever, meaning that a keeper’s reflexes need to be sharper than before. A turn of events that Mashaba is very much aware of.

“Ja, as a goalkeeper you do see the ball. But at times you see it a bit too late!”

Of late his playing days have taken a backseat and he has decided to concentrate on the coaching aspect of the game. Since 2014 he has been involved at the Hockey Farm on the Old Witbank road and he has completed his Level III coaching accreditation.

“I came back to Mpumalanga with the goal of making a difference and to boost the province’s hockey status in the country. I want the province to make an impact on a national level.”

And he is well on his way to achieving his goals. He has taken the provincial women to the top tier of the national competition after earlier winning the B-section and he has coached various Mpumalanga school sides.

He will also be in charge of the National Women’s Indoor Team during their tri-nation campaign against Namibia and Zimbabwe. The winner of the tournament will qualify for next year’s World Cup in Germany.

But at the moment he is super excited about his future at Middies.

“The amount of talent that these kids have is just amazing. At this current stage, Hoërskool Middelburg is one of the best hockey schools in the province and they are well on their way to becoming one of the elite schools in the country. It is very exciting to be part of the Middie family at this particular time!”

His closing remark sums up his appreciation of the players’ talent: “It is just insane the amount of skill they possess!”

And with Mashaba and the other coaches in their ranks, Middies’s hockey future certainly looks very bright.

  • Mashaba was also a talented cricketer and played for the Mpumalanga age-group teams. He was a nippy fast bowler - his deliveries reaching speeds of up to 139 km/h. At the national weeks, he rubbed shoulders with the likes of Quinton de Kock and even had the opportunity to face Makhaya Ntini in the nets. However, his bowling action placed a huge amount of strain on his back and he decided to concentrate solely on hockey.
  • His take on fitness:
    “As a hockey player, you will know whether you are fit or not within the first five minutes of the game. Hockey is all about explosive pace.”
  • He ran a high-performance programme at the Hockey Farm where he helped players to prepare for big tournaments.