Three GC/GP Saints Selected for SA Women's Hockey5s


Reabetswe Phume, Sylvia van Jaarsveldt, Mmatshepo Modipane

We are so proud of not one but THREE of our Saints who have been selected for the first ever SA Women’s Hockey5s squad:

  • Reabetswe Phume (Grade 10 student)
  • Sylvia van Jaarsveldt (GC teacher)
  • Mmatshepo Modipane (GP teacher)

What is Hockey5s?

Hockey 5s was created for the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China and has been growing in popularity internationally. The concept is similar to Rugby 7s; however, Hockey5s features two teams consisting of five players each – as opposed to the standard 11 – over a 20-minute period (2 halves of 10 minutes with a 2-minute break). It is a fast small-sided game that uses specially designed boards that surround the perimeter of the field to keep the ball in play, similar to Indoor Hockey. With just five players per team on the field, they expect players to have more ball-time and more touches than in an 11-a-side game. More ball time gives an opportunity for players to showcase their one-on-one skills and discover innovative ways to find the back of the net.

Team selection

All three describe it as an honour and privilege to be selected for this team, represent their country in green and gold, and showcase South African hockey talent to the world.

Rea’s performance in the U21 Southerns team at the interprovincial tournament (IPT) caught the eye of scouts. “It’s always great know that someone out there is always watching your hard work and progress, creating that sense of fulfilment and achievement,” notes Sylvia. She and Mmatshepo are seasoned national players, having been part of the SA Women’s Hockey Team since 2017. After the IPT in October last year (where Mmatshepo was named Goalkeeper of the Tournament), they went on to the South African World Cup Camp at the end of April, from which some players were selected.

Mmatshepo explains how she was heartbroken that she was not selected for the SA World Cup team, which was even more devastating after not being chosen for the Olympic team. Things took a turn, however, when Coach Pholo called her to invite her to be part of the Hockey5s team. Sylvia says she has also disappointed quite a few times in her hockey career, but sometimes in life you just need that one person to believe in you and give you an opportunity. She also fully believes that God's plans are always better than our own – a sentiment echoed by Mmatshepo.

First Tournament

The team recently took part in the inaugural senior Hockey5s event in Lausanne, Switzerland on 4 and 5 June. This was the first step on the road to the debut International Hockey Federation (FIH) Hockey5s World Cup in 2024.

They played four matches against Switzerland, Poland, Uruguay and India. In their last match, they drew to India, which meant they missed a place in the finals. Nonetheless, the team ended in third place (“a pleasing outcome”, says Rea, who was the youngest player at the tournament).

Switzerland Trip

"The experience was breathtaking and definitely one I will never forget," said Rea. “Travelling from continent to continent was very tiring, but as soon as we arrived the more excited I got.” She said it was the first time meeting some of the teammates, and so it was helpful to kick off the days with a training session and activation.

Switzerland can be cold, warm and hot in one day! The team had the opportunity of visiting and seeing various sites around Lausanne, such as the Olympic Museum and swimming in Lake Geneva.

The team were not exempt from travel’s little surprises. Their kit did not arrive on the connecting flight from Doha until the day before the tournament, but the FIH kindly lent them kit for their training sessions. They also discovered that laundry costs would have been 12 Swiss Francs (about R190) per item of clothing, so in true South African style, the players washed their kit in the bath! 


We wish these three talented hockey players all the best in their Hockey5s career and beyond! In the words of Rea,

“Just always keep working hard to what you want because it isn’t about the reward at the end but the work you put in.”

Photos: Marcel Siggs - Run Ride Dive