Well what an adventure that was! I'd never been to South Africa before so didn’t really know what to expect, but I quickly fell in love with the place and the people. I went there to coach with superstars Phil Burrows, Tim Drummond & Eva De Goede. This was the first set-up of it’s kind in SA. All thanks goes to entrepreneur and hockey fanatic Moabi Malaybe!
All of us hit the pitch in Johannesburg coaching 8 hours a day to kids of all levels. The kids absolutely loved what we had to offer - fun, exciting exercises and games! It’s not every day you will have a combined 12 Olympics on the pitch between 5 coaches. As you can imagine the selfies and autographs were up there.
It was good to see Ritual Hockey Africa there, spreading the name and selling top quality gear :-)
With the coaching being an absolute success we also had some holiday time. We spent a couple of days on Safari which was an experience and a half. Seeing animals in their natural habitat was something to behold. My favourite was seeing an Elephant 4 metres away chowing down on a tree. It was so surreal and amazing! What a majestic animal.
Phil Burrows and I also got to spend a good few days in Cape Town. I definitely think we left our mark! We walked up to the top of Table Mountain and Lions Head (the views are stunning). We also went to a concert which featured Matthew Mole, a famous South African musician, so as Kiwi’s do, when he was finished we cracked out a “Haka” for him!
We also went to Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was held captive all those years. What made that experience pull on the heartstrings was our tour guide was an ex-inmate. What they got subjected to was inhumane, so the fact he was willing to return every day to share his story made it an experience I will never forget.
By Shea McAleese