School sports star of the week

2013-08-20 00:00

PIETERMARITZBURG Girls’ High School’s Buhle Zondi has not always been a goalkeeper.

The 17-year-old schoolgirl’s first introduction into hockey was as a striker.

She told The Witness yesterday that she first started playing hockey in Grade 1, but had to drop it in Grade 4 as her school did not offer it beyond that level.

“In Grade 8, when I came to Girls’ High, I was interested in picking it up again, and I started as a striker, making the U14C team.

“I also played soccer, and was a goalkeeper,” she said.

It was when she was playing soccer that first team hockey coach Taryn de Winnaar convinced her to switch to goalkeeper.

“The following year, I went from the C team to the U16A side. I also made the KZN and SA U16 sides that year,” said Buhle, who originally hails from Centocow near Underberg.

Last year, in Grade 10, and aged just 16, she made the first team, and again made the provincial side.

After this year’s IPT in July in which she represented KwaZulu-Natal, Buhle was selected for the South Africa U18 squad.

“In previous years, they usually selected two goalkeepers. This year they selected just one. Our coaches, Lyndal Robertson and Keith Fairweather, worked well with us and they believed in us,” she said, praising the impact Fairweather had on her game.

“We were beaten 7-0 in one game and I was starting to doubt myself.

“But, the assistant coach believed in me and he kept on telling me I was a good player.”

Even after all she has achieved on the hockey field, Buhle said she still loved soccer.

“I still play soccer, but hockey has taken most of my time. It’s taken over.”

Surprisingly, she said she didn’t see herself playing the sport professionally after completing her education.

“After school, I’d really love to play in varsity, but I want to study occupational therapy. Whether I play on after that will depend on what effect it has on my family. Whenever I think about my dreams, I consider my family first,” she said, adding that maybe one day she could even go into coaching.

Buhle’s mother, Thulisile Zondi, told The Witness she was proud of her daughter getting national colours for hockey.

“I hope that she can do well, and carry on. I’ve never seen her play. But, I’m going to make sure I watch her next year,” she said.

Girls’ High School principal Val Fowler said the school was proud of Buhle’s achievements, especially as she wasn’t a goalkeeper when she arrived at the school.

“She was nurtured by her coach, who was also a goalkeeper in her day. Buhle has had the right teacher,” she said.

School sports star of the week

NAME: Buhle Zondi

SCHOOL: PMB Girls’ High School

AGE: 17

HeighT: 1,60 METRES

SPORTS CODES: Hockey

Honours: 1st Hockey XI, KZN U18, South Africa U18

AMBITION: To study

occupational therapy after school

Position: Goalkeeper

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