Madibaz Sport hockey manager Cheslyn Gie received recognition at the highest level when he was asked to assist the South African men’s team in the World League semi-finals in Johannesburg last month.
Gie, who was born and bred in Port Elizabeth, has been coaching hockey, mainly at Nelson Mandela University, for nearly two decades and was delighted to be part of the national management team.
“National coach Fabian Gregory has been impressed with how we have developed the game at Mandela University in the past five years,” said Gie, who had his first taste with the SA side in the Summer Series early this year.
“After those tests he asked me if I would be available for the World League semi-finals in Johannesburg and I was obviously more than willing to be involved.
“I have always wanted to be involved at a national senior level and this was fantastic for my development as a coach.”
After representing SA Schools in 1992, Gie linked up with the Cavaliers in the premier league where he was coached by Gary Dolley.
“Gary encouraged me to take up coaching and gave me my first job as a development coach for juniors at the Dyke fields in Schauderville.”
Gie’s coaching career moved up a notch when he took on the job for the PE Technikon A side in 2003 and, after the technikon and the university merged in 2005, he eventually took over the men’s premier team in 2006.
Gie said he had a simple philosophy on coaching.
“The best form of defence is attack,” he said.
However, he added that there were key elements to coaching to ensure players reached their potential.
“We need to concentrate more in developing players’ technical skills at a junior level. I also feel, as coaches, we can contribute to their holistic development.”
Having been involved at a national U21 level as a video analyst and trainer, he said this taste of international hockey had given him motivation to improve even more as a coach.