Triumph for Bloemfontein’s Sekondêre Meisieskool Oranje at Fairtree Super 12 Hockey Tournament 2022

The 1st hockey team from Sekondêre Meisieskool Oranje in Bloemfontein has given Coach Morné Odendaal the send-off he deserves, winning the Fairtree Super 12 Hockey Tournament 2022 with a resounding victory against 2nd placed Eunice High School – also from Bloemfontein – during the final match on Sunday 7th August. The Oranje team fought a mighty battle to win with a score of 3 goals to 1. 1st placed Oranje has held the title since 2014 – winning the tournament each year since its inception in 2014, barring 2018.

Proving once again why their team is regarded as the powerhouse team of South African girls’ school hockey, Oranje pulled out all the stops during the final match – with 18-year-old captain Ané Janse van Vuuren leading her team to triumph during a nail-biting display of skill and sheer determination, that had spectators on their feet and cheering wildly when the final whistle blew. She also walked away with the Player of the Tournament award for her outstanding accomplishments on the field.

The school bids a sad farewell to the man who has led their hockey teams to victory for almost a decade. Odendaal will be pursuing an opportunity in the USA, and he leaves a legacy of excellence and an indomitable fighting spirit that sets a strong foundation for the future. During his tenure, the school has won just about every major regional and national hockey league, match and tournament, including winning the St. Mary’s hockey festival from 2014 to 2017 and again in 2019 and 2022; being named Tops Schools winners in 2021; All Girls’ Festival winners (2013-2019); Free State Cup winners (2013-2019); Bloemfontein League winners (2013-2019 and 2022); and of Super 12 winners (2014-2017 and 2022).

“This was my last dance,” says Odendaal. “Looking back over almost 10 years – some of the best years of my life – I attribute the success we have had on the hockey field to the team at Oranje, who believed in me from the start. Then there are the players themselves. Oranje girls are incredible. They are passionate, hard-working and committed, and I think that we have been able to synergize my own personal goals with their goals, and that has led to the success we’ve had over the past couple of years. We have worked hard together to get to a place where we’ve cultivated a culture of excellence – and once you have that, anything is possible.”

Oranje finished top of their pool after victories over Pearson (3-1), Collegiate (3-0), Paarl Gymnasium (2-0) and St Mary’s Waverley (3-0). Oranje lost their encounter on Friday against Durban Girls’ College (2-4) but won against Herschel in the play-offs on Sunday (4-0).

12 Teams from South Africa’s top all-girl and co-ed schools participated in the Fairtree Super 12 Hockey Tournament this year: Paarl Gymnasium (Western Cape), Voortrekker High School (Bethlehem), Herschel (Cape Town), St. Mary’s Waverley (Gauteng), Collegiate Girls’ High (Gqeberha), Durban Girls’ College (KwaZulu Natal), Beaulieu College (Midrand), Rhenish Girls’ High (Stellenbosch), Pearson High (Gqeberha), Menlo Park High (Tshwane), Eunice High School (Bloemfontein) and of course, Sekondêre Meisieskool Oranje (Bloemfontein). This is the first year in the tournament’s history that three Free State schools made it into the top 12 teams.

This is the first year that Fairtree is on board as title sponsor of the tournament. “Congratulations to all the teams for showcasing South Africa’s top school hockey talent over the three days of the Fairtree Super 12 Hockey Tournament. We are very proud of all the players for exhibiting great sportsmanship. The tournament provides an opportunity for skills to be honed and friendships to flourish, in the spirit of healthy competition. The Oranje players again demonstrated sporting excellence through commitment and dedication, successfully holding on to their winners’ title,” says Kobus Nel, Group CEO of Fairtree. “We couldn’t be more proud to be part of this event and look forward to continuing to grow the Fairtree Super 12 Hockey Tournament alongside our partners and to supporting women’s sports,” he added.

The tournament, which went into an involuntary hiatus in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic, made a spectacular comeback this year, with the school stadium packed to capacity during the final matches – proving that schools’ hockey has just as much drawing power as the big leagues.

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