One on One with Bili Ntuli

Tue, 19/08/2014 - 08:11

We chat to SA U18 hockey player Bili Ntuli on his achievements thus far, his short term and long term goals in hockey, and what he thinks of the standard of hockey in SA.

Weight 72kg
Height 172
DOB 15 Jan 96'
Most goals in a match 4
1st XI caps 57
1st team debut 2012 vs Northwwood
Primary School Attended Thomas More College
High School Attended Kearsney College
Sports Played Cricket, Hockey, Soccer

Achievements and Awards:

2010 Natal U14 hockey team
2011 Natal U16 B hockey team
2012 Natal U16 and SA u16 hockey teams
2012 U16 IPT Hockey Top Goal Scorer and Striker of the tournament
2013 SA U18 A hockey team and Top Goal Scorer at Kearsney
2014 SA U18 A Team and SA U18 Youth Olympic team
2014 Top Goal Scorer at Kearsney

The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary.

Well done on making the SA hockey a side for the second year running, how did that make you feel and what have you been doing to keep yourself playing at that level?
Well I been extremely proud of myself and I’ve had a lot of congratulations and well done’s. But I think the most important thing for me is to keep moving forward and keep getting better and not to stop no matter what I achieve.

Jacques Bleeker from Westville, he won an award from SA Schools, James Dellis, Andile Phehlukwayo.  

What do you think of the standard of hockey in KZN in comparison to the rest of the country like Cape Town and Boland and the other provinces? Where do we stand?
I think the standard here is quite high and we've made the final two years in a row now. We made the final in U16 as well, unfortunately we lost those 3 finals but ja the standard is very high.

Why do you think that is? Do you think its part of the coaching or the players, what do you think is getting KZN hockey to that level?
Beside the natural talent we have in KZN, I think the coaching is extremely good in the schools. There’s about 4 or 5 schools in the top 10 in KZN, and the sytems we have here are very good.

Which players that you’ve played with or against, possibly in your own team, can you point out as talented or good players?
Quite a lot of them are my mates but there’s players such as Jacques Bleeker from Westville, he won an award from SA Schools, James Dellis, Andile Phehlukwayo.  

This has been my best year of hockey

How has your season at Kearsney been this year? Can you describe some of your highlights or any low lights if you have any?
To be honest we haven’t had the greatest season at Kearsney this year but there has been some highlights for me. Obviously I'm in matric, it's my last year at Kearsney and my last season. Highlights such as me scoring the most goals for the team and the fact that I enjoyed my season with the school, and some of the low-lights probably some of our results against the local schools, those haven’t been too good.

In terms of you personally, what has been the highlight of your own junior hockey career?
This has been my best year of hockey. I’ve achieved quite a lot this year I’m proud of my coaches, my family who’ve helped me through it, obviously making the SA A side again and playing our series against Australia was a highlight. Winning the youth Olympic qualifiers and captaining that team and also scoring a couple of goals there, and obviously in a couple of days time we're going to China for the youth games so that will be a highlight itself.

their men's side is ranked 1st in the world and I mean it’s a different level that they play

How was the series against Australia can you tell us a bit about that?
Obviously their men's side is ranked 1st in the world and I mean it’s a different level that they play, but there's nothing we couldn’t cope with.

Do you perform any rituals before a big match?
I’m quite a superstitious guy, I put my right shoe before my left shoe and right sock before my left sock.

What’s your motto in life?
The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary.

What are your short term and long term goals for hockey and in your life?
Short term I'm hoping to finish off the year on a good note in my hockey season, and looking to next year, I’m trying to get into Stellenbosch University and play my hockey down there and study down there, and if not there TUKS. But ja long long long term possibly looking to go overseas in a couple of years time and try play my hockey down there.

What would you say to young athletes who are trying to make a success out of hockey but are not too sure how to go about it? 
Keep working hard. There’s nothing more rewarding than working hard for something however how long it takes you and eventually getting there. And also once you’ve achieved something you never stop. There’s no way you can rest you just got to keep improving it doesn’t matter what you achieve how high you go, you got to keep going.

Do you plan on playing for the SA national team if so how do you plan on achieving that goal?
Well like I said I'm proud of what I have achieved so far but obviously there's greater heights and one of those is making it to the SA men's side one day. However long it takes I’ll keep on pushing and hopefully get there one day. But ja that’s basically how I plan on doing it.

I think I can improve more on my speed and fitness, and defensive work as well.

What role do your friends and family play in your life?
My family is extremely important to me, especially in my hockey career I have certain coaching lessons at home on what I did wrong and what I should do next time. Especially from my mom and my brother, there's nobody who’s helped me through my hockey more than them.

Who do you look up to? Do you have any mentors?
Well I play at a club with some of the senior guys who played in the SA men's squad before and that's helped me through my hockey especially next year. Jeff Abbott and my brother (Sihle Ntuli).

What areas of your game would you like to improve on?
There’s a lot that everyone can improve on. And personally I think I can improve more on my speed and fitness and defensive work as well.

Have you been offered any bursaries so to speak by varsities?
Well not any bursaries but I have been spoken to by 1 or 2 varsities.

Do you think our SA hockey is developing and what do you think we can do to catch up to the likes of Netherlands?
I think SA hockey is definitely improving at the moment, it could be better, but in all honesty we must give it credit on how far we’ve come. We're getting in big sponsors such as Mugg and Bean and Adidas to the women’s side and there’s speculation of there being a national hockey league in a couple of years time. But I think SA hockey is definitely going forward with our men's going to the Olympics every year the commonwealth games, the world cup, and all of that.


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