Turf sisters

Sisters Eemaan, right, and Dhurraa Birch are at home on the astro turf.

The sisters had to go their separate ways as Dhurraa had to travel to George and when she got back, her older sister Eemaan went to Bloemfontein.

The two represented the South Zonal side at the inter-zonal hockey tournament, in the under-13 and 14 age groups, respectively.

Dhurraa and her side brought back the gold medal while her sister’s under-14 team finished the competition in sixth place.

Eemaan, a second year hafidth pupil at Madressa-tul-Munthiereen in Lentegeur, said her side could have done much better.

“Most of our games were played to draws. It was not good enough but every competition is a learning curve. The competition was intense as all the teams gave it their all. Next year we will do better,” she said.

The youngsters made their sides following trials that took place at Wynberg and Herschel Girls’ high schools, earlier this year.

Eemaan said the trials were not as easy as expected but was happy to be selected.

“It gets tougher and tougher every year which means you have to step up your game all the time. One should always remain positive and never give up,” she said.

Dhurraa agreed, saying that you should always bring your A-game if it’s trials or a major competition because there will always be that new team or person that stands out.

That was what Eemaan has been doing for the past three consecutive years as she did not make the side but refused to give up.

“My motivation for the trials was to believe that I can make the side because nothing is impossible. My motto in life is that one must be in it to win it,” she said.

Eemaan was introduced to the sport by Deonie Everts and Julie van Tonder in Grade 3 at Groote Schuur Primary School and then her sister followed in her footsteps.

“It was them that helped me with the basics and skills of the sport. Although I did well in water polo and netball as well, hockey was the one I loved the most,” she said.

On the academic front, Eemaan hopes to complete studying the Qur’an, and finish her matric. Once she finishes matric, she hopes to study Sports Science at the Stellenbosch University.

Dhurra said she was proud of her team’s unbeaten streak in the competition.

“We all gave it our best. Team work and communication played a major role in us doing well,” she said.

It may come as no surprise that the young players are doing well as their father Shahied and aunty Ahdielah were both provincial athletes while at school.

“My entire family are sports crazy and I grew up surrounded by different sports. My siblings all participate in different sporting codes whether it is rugby, soccer or hockey,” said Dhurra.

The Birch sisters credit their parents Shahied and Lameeze for the role they have played in helping them in sport but also with academics.

“They have always been supportive, encouraged me to only give my best and to never give up on my dreams.

“They have made me the strong, outspoken and responsible person I am today,” said Dhurraa.

Shahied said his daughters have developed into fierce and strong competitors on the playing field.

“They both give their best in every match. They are team players and respectful to their teammates, coaches and managers. They are “in it to win it”, he said.