By John Tuerijama
ONE of Namibia’s foremost hockey players and current coach of the Namibian senior women’s hockey team Erwin Handura has taken the bull by its horns and established the country’s first ever hockey academy. Known as the Hockey School of Excellence, the academy targets youngsters from all age groups and is available to do coaching across the country, depending on demand.Confidente Sport caught up with the Coach Handura, to shed more light on the academy.
Confidente: Tell us a bit about the coaching clinics offered by the Academy?
ERWIN HANDURA (EH): The 2017 coaching clinics will kick-off on Saturday 04 February from 08:00 – 10:00 at UNAM. The coaching clinics will be conducted at various venues in Windhoek. Our focus from February to April is indoor then from May to October we move over to field hockey. Currently we are conducting two coaching clinics per month from 08h00 to 10h00.
Any person willing to take up hockey as a sport can join the Academy (The Hockey School of Excellence). The age groups we are working with are from Under-16 to 18-year-olds but it is not limited to those age groups only. We also do one-on-one’s with senior players to improve their skills or areas of concern.
Confidente: Please explain the importance of coaching clinics?
EH: From an early age kids need to be taught the correct basics in any sport in order for them to become top and world class players. Our motto is ‘Practice makes Permanent’, meaning what we teach the kids at an early age stays with them forever.
Confidente: How is your academy faring?
EH: Although we don’t have an official sponsor for the academy, we manage to generate funds through registration and coaching fees to fund most of our activities.
Confidente: How much is the registration fee and what does the training clinic entail?
EH: The registration fee for 2017 is only N$50. Players are also required to pay a monthly of N$150 covering two training sessions of two Saturdays per month.
Confidente: Does the academy take its programmes to various towns, especially the remotest areas of the country?
EH: Yes, upon request from schools and individuals, the academy conducts coaching clinics in the regions and trains coaches as well.
Confidente: Could you highlight some of the 2017 programmes that the academy will undertake?
EH: Our programme for 2017 is quite hectic as the following are lined up for the duration of the year: Indoor Coaching Clinics Feb – April, Indoor Festival April, Outdoor Coaching Clinics May – Oct, Participation Mini World Cup July and Outdoor Festival in October.
Confidente: Since most kids are school going how does the academy ensure that hockey is exposed at school level?
EH: The Hockey School of Excellence, also known as Hockey cc, has been running a junior hockey league for primary schools in Katutura and Khomasdal since 2003, and most of the Academy graduates end up playing for local clubs in Windhoek. UNAM hockey club and NUST hockey clubs are the primary beneficiaries while other clubs such as DTS and Windhoek Old Boys benefit as well.
The Hockey School of Excellence has been involved in coaching schools such as WHS, Eros girls, Eros Primary, Jan Mohr, A.Shipena and 10 other primary schools in Katutura and Khomasdal.
Confidente: Many argue that hockey is an expensive sport, especially the equipment that you need to play the sport. Your take on that?
EH: Hockey in not expensive at all. There are two types of hockey sticks, wooden and composite (fiberglass). The composite sticks are more expensive and vary from N$ 200 to N$ 3000 a stick. It all depends on the stick the player can afford or wants to play with. This is exactly the same when soccer players want to buy certain soccer boots that he or she prefers.
Confidente: Where is the academy located, and could you give background on its establishment?
EH: We don’t have our own grounds yet. Currently we are renting various facilities in Windhoek. The Hockey cc was establish in 2003, and is registered with the Ministry of Trade and Industry as a close corporation. Yearly we conduct between 20-30 coaching clinics to teams, clubs, individuals and groups. Last year we had about 87 registered members.
Confidente: Where do you see Namibian hockey regionally, continentally and globally?
EH: On the women’s side when talking of Indoor Hockey we are ranked 2nd on the continent and 14th in the world. With regular exposure at the highest level we can surpass South Africa in the next year or so and then push to be a top 10 ranked team in the world. Field hockey or outdoor wise, we are ranked 4th on the continent and 49th in the world. This means we still have some work to do and most importantly we must attend continental competitions in order to improve our African and world rankings. On the men’s side, we are ranked 2nd in Africa on the indoor game and 15th in the world. Our major obstacle is South Africa but with regular competition we can certainly close the gap and subsequently improve our ranking. With field hockey, the men’s competition is very stiff with South Africa, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Zimbabwe in the top five while we are ranked 6th on the continent and 56th on the world ranking. The key here is regular competition in order to improve our continental and world rankings.
Confidente: What is your message to parents whose children want to take up hockey as a sport?
EH: All the parents are stakeholders in the education of their children be it academic, sport or social life. Therefore, it is imperative for parents to support their children when doing sport. Giving money alone is not satisfactory, you need to be present at games and even at training sessions to support and motivate our future leaders and stars. Some kids have been with the academy for three years but you don’t see the parents, as a result the academy has to pick up and drop off the kids in their respective suburbs, and this is time consuming and a waste of money on fuel.
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