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Back You are here: Home Sports Hockey Free State Hockey: 200+ for Oranje's Jana and Mika
Thursday, 11 August 2016 09:17

Hockey: 200+ for Oranje's Jana and Mika

“The playing kit with the number 200 on the back was a surprise from me. The girls didn't expect anything. It was a very emotional moment,” says Meisieskool Oranje head coach Morne Odendaal.

“I started coaching the girls at U13 level and have the utmost respect for them. When they walked out through the guard of honour with the numbers on their back … it is a moment I will never forget. They must be the first players to achieve 200 first team caps.”

Oranje captain Jana Greef and team-mate Minke van Heerden had the honour of playing their 200th first team match in June, so it is easy to see why coach would be so proud.

Jana says the match was the local derby against Eunice and Oranje’s 4-2 win is what capped it all.

“It was mostly overwhelming, says Jana. “The team and our coach, Morne, really went the extra mile in making this milestone so very special. We received personalised uniforms with the number 200 printed on at the back to play in. We also were spoiled with flowers, trophies and badges. Both teams stood a guard of honour before the game which gave us goosebumps.

“It is a well-known fact in Bloemfontein that regardless of who the better team is, it is always a tough battle as to who will be walking away with the win. It was a hard game but some great hockey was played. Fortunately we won the game 4-2. The game was played on Eunice’s home ground.”

Minke says, “I think I was so emotional that day because the thought of things coming to an end makes me very sad because I am so attached to each team member. It was also great scoring a goal and the amazing thing about the game was the very first time in grade 8 when Jana and I played our first Eunice derby, in 2012, the score was the same.

“Our coach Morne made it so special too by giving us playing shirts with a 200 on, sponsored by our sponsor Tayla Sportswear, and our team made us the most special trophies. And it was very special when the Eunice team and our team made an honour line for us to walk through. It was special to have everyone be a part of this special game.”

“They both are very talented hockey players who live for the big moments,” says Odendaal. “Minke will always score or create a goal when you need it the most. Jana is the most composed player on the field. She never misses a tackle and passes 60-metre passes on point regularly.

“Minke plays a drop centre forward roll and Jana plays centre back in a back three. It is going to be impossible to replace them. Minke scores goals at ease, she has scored 280 goals in 200 games. Jana is very solid and is the best schoolgirl passer. They are both team players and will do anything for their team-mates to succeed.”

Morne has worked with many good captain in his career as a coach. The three that are quite a distance better than the rest are, “2011 Oranje U13A captain Jana Greef, 2015 Oranje first team captain Jana Greef, and 2016 Oranje first team captain Jana Greef.”

That certainly sums up just how valuable a leader Jana is. “She is a leader among leaders, an excellent example for many, and Jana always puts others before herself.”

And he regards her playing abilities very, very highly too. “I can’t think of any time in 200 matches that a player got past Jana.

“Heroes fade but legends stay forever,” are Morne’s last words on his captain.

And the Oranje first team coach and director of hockey has equally high praise for Minke van Heerden.

“I coached Minke for the first time when she was 10 years old. In the first few minutes I could see that this young girl was special, 200 matches and 270 goals later she has become an Oranje hockey legend.

“Minke carries the Oranje first team close to her heart and whenever the team is in a difficult situation, she takes the responsibility and gets Oranje out of it.

“Minke is BMT, her ability to respond to what is needed for the Oranje first team in that particular moment, Minke will find a way.”

With players of the quality of Jana Greef and Minke van Heerden it is little wonder that the Oranje first team stand out as an example of a work of excellence in progress.

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