Former South African hockey star Tsoanelo Pholo has been appointed the new women’s hockey coach at the University of Johannesburg and is excited about the challenge which lies ahead.
The 35-year-old, who played 53 internationals before retiring in 2010, joined the management team late last year and has no doubt that UJ can make an impact on student hockey in the country.
“The UJ hockey set-up is on its way back to being as professional as the top teams in the world,” said Pholo.
She added it was still too early for her to provide an accurate assessment of the squad, but said there was some “exciting talent at UJ”.
Pholo said their main goals for the year were the Varsity Hockey tournament, in which the women play every alternate year, as well as the University Sport South Africa week and the Southern Gauteng premier league.
Despite being a player at the highest level, she said had managed to make the transition to coach without a hitch.
“I have been coaching for 19 years so it wasn’t an unnatural transition,” she said.
She has quickly made her mark as a coach. Besides taking charge of a number of representative teams, she guided the South African U18 team to the semifinals of the Youth Olympic Games last year.
Pholo has also qualified at the highest level (level 4) in the Federation of International Hockey structures, which she achieved in 2018.
“I am passionate about hockey and the development of the next generation of players,” she said.
“Coaching is about seeing the potential in every player and being the catalyst to bringing the best out of individual players. It is about being the glue that connects all that talent in a team.”