Lotto and Co banking on top spot

SHIFAAN RYKLIEF

A former Peak View High School pupil, Kyle “Lotto “used his experience gained at the SA national championships to help his side surge to third spot on the men’s Grand Challenge log

He was part of the men’s Peninsula hockey side that won gold at the national championships, in Johannesburg, last month.

Coming off the bench in their match against Pinelands, Lotto, from Bridgetown, assisted in his side’s third goal, which took them to a comfortable 5-0 lead at half-time.

The attacking player was closely marked by the Pinelands defence, which meant his teammates up front had more breathing room.

Central eventually hammered Pinelands 7-0 and are on a four match winning run.

Recently promoted to the Cape Cobras cricket squad, Zubayr Hamza, 20, showed his skills with the stick in hand and scored a hat-trick. Raaghib Fredericks scored two goals; Michael Mulder and Mickael Mannel rounded the game off with one goal a piece.

“The game went well and we really starting to gel well as a team.

“We had a difficult start to the season, and our first victory was a 3-2 win against Pinelands during the first round of games,” said Lotto.

“We are getting more confident with each game, and every player is evolving in their respective roles.

“The team’s overall performance was good, but I feel that I wasn’t at my best on the day. I prefer to start from the bench because it gives me the chance to analyse the game and the players we are up against. I’ve been playing this way in our last three matches, and it’s been working for me,” he said.

Western Province Cricket Club (WPCC) lead the pack and are at the top of the table, with Maties in second position.

Lotto said the team had been competitive, despite it being their first season back in the top flight – they were relegated to the Reserve League in 2014.

“WPCC have been our toughest opponents so far. I remember we played a good first half against them, but they stepped up a gear and beat us 7-2, in the first round of fixtures.

“We play them again in our next league match and will look for a turnaround result.

“Last week, we beat Maties 3-1. Prior to that, we beat Langa 4-1 and Vics 4-3.

“Last year, we were unbeaten in the Reserve League which won us promotion back to the Grand Challenge. We’ve always been in the top league and just had a bad season in 2014,” he said.

Lotto said he was introduced to hockey while at Cypress Primary School, and that one of his teachers suggested he join Central – where he’s been ever since.

He’s won various individual awards at the club, donned the South African national colours as a junior, and won the SA national championships with the men’s senior team.

“I tried playing other sports but it wasn’t for me. I always enjoyed hockey but took a break from provincial duty, and this was my first time back playing for the WP in three years,” said Lotto.

“It was great playing at that level again and the tournament wasn’t an easy one. And, I scored in the 4-1 win against KZN in the final.

“The first time I won gold at nationals was in 2007, when I played in the senior team, in East London.

“I received my first national call-up for the under-16 team, and was also part of the under-17 and 18 squad.

“Being part of the national under-18 team is one that stands out for me because we played qualifiers for the junior world cup, in Egypt.

“We qualified, but I couldn’t play at the world cup because it was my last year under-18,” he said.