To reply to Robert's comment about dropping school sports... Have to say this would be a HUGE mistake. Sport at school in the UK was dropped as teachers weren't paid or recognised for facilitating it. Also schools sold off fields to generate income, marks became a priority and a fully rounded 'education' was dropped in favour of better grades, etc, etc. In my opinion, British sport suffered drastically as a result, as did general society when suddenly more kids were hanging out on the streets bored and with plenty of energy to cause trouble. OK, I'm not suggesting that the problems they are suffering in the UK with juvenile delinquency is all because school sports (and all other extra-curricular activities) were dropped, but I believe it has had a big contribution to the problem. However, the main point I was driving at was that British sport suffered when schools dropped sport and is only now on the road to recovery driven largely by the 2012 Olympics. In South Africa I believe the impact to SA's international performance of dropping sport at school would be disastrous. In my experience, the only real drive for excellence is in school sport. There are exceptions, but I am talking in general. The competitiveness of inter-school competition drives funding for facilities and coaching staff, encourages the players to take it a lot more seriously and generally uplifts all aspects of the game. I find (again, I stress I am generalising!!!) that clubs do not strive for excellence and always have issues with funding. To sum up really, the focus at club level is social far more than the hockey itself. At clubs people seem to want to come down, play the game and then bugger off. So much effort is put into just keeping the club going that there is very little left over for anything else. As for the current issues in the sport in SA... Well, if Gauteng is anything to go by... there seems to be a whole generation of players missing who should be in their mid to late twenties now and be the driving force in the game. What I see at all levels of the game in Gauteng is the bunch of players I grew up with, now between 30 and 45 who are providing the experience and backbone to the current teams. We need the top 3 leagues to be filled with young, enthusiastic players and allow us oldies to "gracefully" drop to the lower leagues where we can play competitive hockey for fun. I know of 3 teams who have deliberately 'thrown' the last 4 games of a season in order to avoid promotion (or simply refused promotion) because they are too old to go into the league above.There is a small group of 20-30 year olds and then (the truly exciting part!!!) a huge group of young guys coming through from the schools. We're on the cusp of change within the sport (hopefully) where the youngsters coming through are going to start dominating the game locally and driving it in the direction they want to go. One thing we, as interested parties, need to do going forward is to stop making excuses and blaming the government, hockey associations, media, lack of funds, etc, etc and get on with changing the sport from the inside. I know that the HA's make some horrific choices and politics interferes more than we'd like it to but moaning about it is NOT going to change anything. We could all start by supporting & talking to the HA's more and they will slowly realise the players, umpires, etc actually DO care about the game they play every weekend. As an example, our umpire co-ordinator tried damn hard to arrange an end-of-season meal for the province's umpires last year but had to cancel due to lack of interest from his own umpires! Apathy like that will kill the game.