The Old Diocesan Issue5 Mar2020 - Page 74

Dayaan in action against
the US, a series in which
the brothers scored five
goals between them.
Inset: Dayaan (left)
and Mustapha.
Brothers Dayaan and Mustapha
Cassiem have the same goal for 2020:
to represent the South African men’s
hockey team at the Olympics in Tokyo
hen I was 17 years
old, I went to
Stadium to watch South Africa
play hockey against Germany,”
says 21-year-old Dayaan Cassiem
(2017W). “After that, my brother
and I both said we’d like to play
for South Africa one day. A year
later, when I was 18, I got a call
from the South African senior
hockey coach – he asked whether
I’d like to come to a training camp.
And the dream became a reality.”
Since then, Dayaan has
represented South Africa on
many occasions, while his brother
Mustapha (still in matric) has
become something of a fixture
in the men’s indoor side. The two
played together in a series against
the US in February, with Mustapha
scoring on debut. That series was
an official trial for the soon-tobe-announced Olympic squad.
When asked how he handles
failure, Mustapha shows a level of
maturity well beyond his 18 years.
“If I do fail at something, I think to
myself, ‘How can I improve? How
can I do better next time? What is
it that I want to achieve?’” he says.
“I reflect and write things down –
this helps me get my mind right.”
Mustapha has played for the
Central Hockey Club in Belgravia
since he was eight years old. At 16,
he was already competing in the
top men’s league in the Western
Cape. The average age of his fellow
players is 26. He enjoys playing at
a higher level, and the challenge
of pitting his skills against the
“best of the best”. Learning from
the older, more capped players is
key to performing well, he says.
The brothers, who hail from
Mitchell’s Plain, were both awarded
Bishops scholarships, and the
transition into this totally different
environment was daunting.
“Getting a scholarship with
the help of Mr Warren Wallace
[Deputy Head of Sport] enabled
me to move to the College, but
settling into Bishops was not
easy,” says Dayaan. “I came
from a government school,
so it was a big change in many ways.
You could say that Mr Wallace was
my other dad. He was always there
for me, always offering help. At my
previous school I had no mentor, so
he played a huge role in my life.”
Visiting the College and watching
his older brother play hockey before
joining the school helped Mustapha
choose Bishops and settle in faster.
“I was able to see what Dayaan had
gone through; it made my decision
easier,” he says. “I look up to him
quite a bit; I wanted to follow
in his footsteps.”
Their relationship is rooted
in their shared love of hockey –
and in the potential each sees in
the other. While both are highly
competitive, they do not see each
other as a threat to the number of
plane tickets available for Tokyo.
“We have a strong relationship,”
says Dayaan. “We help each other;
we never push each other down. At
the end of the day we both have the
same goal – to go to the Olympics.”
Both have put in a great deal
of extra work, much of it during
the December break. Their father
Casa believes their dream is down
to how hard they continue to work
and how badly they want to achieve
their goal. “They already have all
the talent in the world,” he says.
Back in 2004, a coach from the
Netherlands wrote Future of SA
hockey on a picture of young Dayaan.
This has had a profound effect on
Casa, and things seem to be coming
full circle. “That prediction actually
materialised,” he says. “Someone
saw something before I even took
notice of it. It’s so crazy, and
overwhelming at times – but I’m
happy to know both my boys are
doing well in the set-up. It is new
ground for them, and for me.”
He describes the day his sons both
ran out for South Africa against the
US as one of the happiest of his life.
Come July, they may be running
out as Olympians in Japan.

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