Good advice from hockey legend

2012-09-11 00:00

THE Wykeham Collegiate won a prize at the Spar KwaZulu-Natal Shield Teens hockey tournament held at St Mary’s, Kloof, in July and the prize was a R15 000 cheque to go towards sports equipment, as well as a half-day coaching clinic with SA hockey captain Marsha Marescia.

“Unfortunately, Marsha was unavailable as she is playing overseas, so Spar KZN and Shield Teens went all out to organise another triple Olympian, South Africa’s world record international goalscorer Pietie Coetzee,” said TWC head of senior sport and well-known hockey personality Lyndal Robertson.

There certainly was great excitement when the world-renowned striker and hockey legend arrived at TWC on Friday afternoon to run three sessions with 70 TWC players.

“It was a wonderful opportunity for the young hockey players to meet someone who has spent many hours hitting a hockey ball into the back of the box, from any position in the circle, whether it be in practice, or in an international game, and then to share her experiences and stories with the girls,” said Robertson.

It was immediately apparent that Coetzee quickly broke the ice, especially with the star-struck younger girls, and she highlighted the Investec South Africa team’s ambitions to get into the world top six, pinpointing SA’s 7-0 rout of the then higher-ranked U.S. team at the London 2012 Olympics as a highlight of the tournament. Moving from world number 12 to world-ranked 10 after the event, South Africa are certainly on track to achieve that top-six goal.

Megan Smith, TWC’s U16A striker, told The Witness that she learnt how much work it takes to reach international level and expressed a determination to work even harder at her game, while TWC striker Sarah Dixon said she realised that scoring goals involves many skills that she could work on.

“It was an amazing prize from Spar KZN and Shield Teens,” said Robertson. “Each player was spoilt with a goodie pack and most of the products were used to get the internationally famous Pietie Coetzee number 15 autograph.”

At the end of the afternoon, after much storytelling, Coetzee, who trains daily, demonstrated her famous drag flick which TWC goalkeeper Alison Muller did her best to save. There was much excitement when Muller managed to get a glove to one of the many shots, which she deflected away from the box.

First-team player Sarah Yeats said, “Pietie is an inspiration and has worked so hard to get where she is today. The things she taught us were enlightening and I hope to be as determined as her in all aspects of my life.”

As TWC first-team captain Lara Rogers said to Pietie in part of her thank-you speech: “It was such an honour to have watched the SA ladies compete at the Olympics, and to admire what you [Pietie] have done for hockey in our country.”

The typically modest Coetzee downplayed her achievements. “Anyone of you can do what I do. I am not brilliant, I just work extremely hard,” she said.

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