FNB Varsity Hockey Player of the Tournament Onthatile Zulu wants to use the accolade to propel herself to the highest echelons of South African hockey.
Considering Tuks were the defending Varsity Hockey women’s champions, missing this year’s final would have been a disappointment. However, they can take pride from the fact that their star striker Onthatile Zulu was chosen as the tournament’s best player.
“To be honest I’m really shocked to win the FNB Player of the Tournament. I really didn’t expect it, me out of all people,” Zulu told varsitysportssa.com.
‘Tati’, a BCom Business Management student, was a vital part of her team’s run to the semi-finals – which they agonisingly lost 7-5 to Maties. In that semi-final she won the MTN Connector Award, while the day before against Wits she won the FNB Player of the Match. During the Cape Town leg of this year’s tournament, she scored her only goal against UJ and was nominated as the best player against NWU.
“I’ve been working really hard to try improve little things and I guess this is a sense of reassurance to me, that what I’m doing is working and I should keep going. It’s keeps me motivated and I’m so delighted and grateful for this award. I can only get better from now.”
A standing ovation goes out to UP-Tuks player Onthatile Zulu whose exceptional performance during the Varisty Hockey 2019 season has earned her the @fnbsa Player of the Tournament Award 👏🏼👏🏼🎉 #HardHittingAction 🏑🔥 pic.twitter.com/JISeqULV6e
— Varsity Sports (@varsitysportsSA) May 24, 2019
After excelling in Varsity Hockey, Zulu believes it would be an honour to represent South Africa but is also very serious about her academics.
“I am looking at pursuing a professional career in hockey and playing for my country would be an honour. On the other hand, it’s also important for me to finish my degree and find a job in order for me to be financially independent.”
Zulu heaped praise on the competitiveness of Varsity Hockey.
“This is my first year of Varsity Hockey, and I can say that this tournament has been one of the most challenging and most competitive tournaments I’ve ever been to in my life. A lot of tournaments I participated in, were not on the same calibre as Varsity Hockey.
“The rules make the games even more spicy and exciting. Now I know how it feels like and what it takes to compete with the best of the best.”
Meanwhile, the tournament’s other award winners were UCT goalkeeper Nepo Serage (Mugg & Bean Star Saver of the Tournament) and Tuks attacker Natalie Esteves (MTN Connector of the Tournament)