Madibaz hockey coach Cheslyn Gie is part of the management team for the South African hockey squad to compete in the FIH Hockey Series Finals in India this week.
South Africa will compete with seven other countries in Bhubaneswar from June 6-15 for the right to play in the Olympic qualifying competition.
Despite having performed the role of assistant coach previously, Gie said it was always an honour to represent your country.
“It is a good feeling to know that your coaching abilities are recognised at international level,” he said.
“Being exposed to international hockey means you get to see some of the best players and coaches in action.”
He said he would be concentrating on various tactical strategies and video analysis of their matches.
One of the characteristics of a good coach, he added, was an ability to create the best environment possible for the players.
“You have to come to terms with the fact that you can only assist the players to be the best they can be. They are the ones who have to go out there and perform.
“International sport is a tough environment and I enjoy it to the utmost as you never know when this wonderful ride will come to an end.”
South Africa have appointed a new coach in Garreth Ewing and Gie said he was looking forward to renewing an old partnership.
“I have worked with Garreth before as we were involved in the SA U21 team. We have always connected well together and I am excited about this opportunity.”
South Africa, ranked 16 in the world, are in a pool with the United States, Mexico and Japan (world No 18), while India (world No 5), Poland, Russia and Uzbekistan are in the other pool. SA, Japan and India are the only teams in this tournament ranked in the top 20.