The winners of the annual SPAR KZN School Girls’ Hockey Challenge are about to be crowned, and 18-year-old umpire from Wartburg, Kevin Engelbrecht, prepares to blow the whistle at the Grand Finals taking place in Kloof later this month.
The tournament is in its seventh year and kicked off in Pongola in February this year, travelling to 10 regions around KZN and seeing almost 80 high school girls’ first teams battle it out on the turf. At each of the regionals an up-and-coming young umpire was selected, and Engelbrecht was one of the “Most Promising Umpires” to be invited to referee at the Grand Finals, where he represents the Umvoti, uThukela and Umzinyathi Region.
Engelbrecht comes from a long lineage of hockey players and many of his relatives belong to the Wartburg first team and have played in the tournament’s finals for a number of years. Engelbrecht has been umpiring for 4 years and likes hockey for its “necessity of skill and hand-eye coordination as opposed to physical strength required in rugby or athletics.” He attributes his umpiring talents to the numerous leadership positions held throughout his schooling career together with his calm demeanour on the field.
Engelbrecht is studying a BCom through Unisa and plans to join his family retailing business on completion of his studies. Items on his bucket list include umpiring a Tuks / Maties hockey match at Stellenbosch, travelling throughout South Africa as well as visiting his favourite football team, Liverpool, at their home stadium - Anfield.
Engelbrecht attended Wartburg Kirchdorf School and says the best thing about living in Wartburg is the peacefulness; “Everything is just very relaxed with no bustling traffic, and most people know each other so there are good community relationships.” If he could meet anybody in the world, dead or alive, Engelbrecht says he would like to meet his great-great-great-grandfather who came to South Africa as a missionary from Germany.
The SPAR KZN School Girls’ Hockey Grand Finals take place at St Mary’s DSG on the 29 and 30 July 2017.