It’s been a week since the end of the inaugural Roller Hockey All Star Tournament, which was a 6-week long tournament that sparked everyone’s inner roller hockey flame. Roller hockey is a sport played fiercely and passionately by few and loved by all that witness the sheer adrenalin, action packed and on-the-edge-of-your-seat moments that the sport brings. Well, that’s how we have experienced it on an international level, where South Africa participates and are currently holding the 12th spot in the world.
Where do we fair on the world’s stage?
Current SA Mens National squad:
Top Row (left to right): Fernando Maia (Coach), Sergio de Araujo, Marco van Tonder (gk), Ricardo Maia (gk), Ricardo Figueiredo (gk), Nelson Mendes (vice-captain), David de Sousa (Manager)
Bottom Row (left to right): Ricky de Sousa, Justin da Costa, Adilson Correia, Michael Guerra, Claudio de Araujo (Captain), Leandro de Araujo
Currently holding the 12th spot in the world is not a light achievement, as our sport is not played to earn a living from but rather for our love for the game. For a amateur team that fund their own way to the world cups, to be playing on the world stage of the sport, rubbing shoulders with the “Ronaldo’s” and “Messi’s” of our beautiful game, it is an achievement that you dream of as a kid.
The way we have experienced how amazing roller hockey is in countries that “live” for the sport, like in Argentina (San Juan) & Spain (Barcelona/Vic), we wish to have that same love and passion by players and spectators alike locally. This has not been the story though, with our local league being very lackluster and stale (for a lack of a better word), making it played by few and watched by even less.
Something had to change to spice things up, so the ALL STAR TOURNAMENT was born.
An idea was Born.
The idea of the tournament comes from small elements of various international sporting competitions, like the PEPSI IPL for one. We needed to get 8 franchises to buy into this idea and reignite the sport, which was maybe one of the toughest tasks. Step up the gentlemen, and lady, that made this tournament happen, putting their name down as believers in the sport and this new idea. We now had 8 teams, each representing a certain franchise, competing in a 6-week tournament, with a prize of R50 000.00 on the line.
The games were played at three of our clubs, ACPP (Pretoria) – UNIAO (Jhb) – APF (Vaal), who all came to the party and offered amazing food, friendly faces and a high spirited enthusiasm. Each club got two games in the tournament, with the opening being a great spectacle at Uniao and the Finals at ACPP, which was an amazing ending to an incredible tournament.
The structure of the this tournament made younger players (juniors) have to step up their game and also bringing back older players that have not played in years. The outcome outdid our expectations, with all the juniors doing very well in the respective teams and the ex-players and their supporters making it such an enjoyable experience.
All 8 Captains, who are the current 8 outfield players of the National team (Claudio de Araujo, Nelson Mendes, Ricky de Sousa, Leandro de Araujo, Sergio Araujo, Michael Guerra, Justin da Costa, Adilson Correia), lead their teams courageously and to the very end. They are the guys who we looked at to guide a bunch of players that have never played together, into a team that gels together and work as a unit. In the end, the team that prevailed was the one that did this the best. Pretoria Eagles was the most consistent team in the tournament, taking home the trophy in the end, and doing so undefeated!!
My final thought.
It took a creative idea, some really hard work, complete trust and support from all, to bring roller hockey back from its terminal state. This might be a project run by a few, but it could not have happened without all the people that were involved. We really hope that this will help the hard work being put in behind the scenes, like the various kids skating practices happening at most the clubs on weekends, to revive the sport and bring it back to its glory days, like when our parents played and we were those 8 year olds watching our idols play. Together we can do it!
Afrika Warriors – Viva Afrika sound & Light
Multiple Scoregasms – The Language Lady
Blades Of Steel – Ash Media
Pretoria Eagles – Bastos Engineering
Huge Rollers – Huge PC & Eurosure
Brazen Eagles – TMM
Titan Crusaders – JJ Pimentel Plastering & Tiling & H L Pardal & Son
Cool Runnings – NESSA & MARRU
THANK YOU TO ALL INVOLVED IN MAKING THIS AN AWESOME EXPERIENCE!!!!
Here are some more images taken by Mr E. Lopes of the Final between Pretoria Eagles & Multiple Scoregasms: