The other day I ran a story here on All Things Jabu about the new appointment of Charlie Pereira as South African Hockey coach. Charlie made an immediate impression on the National team as he guided them to the World League Semi-Finals. I sat with the new National coach and chatted to him about all things hockey.
Jabu: Charlie, firstly, congratulations on your appointment. Is this the proudest moment of your career so far?
Charlie: Certainly is an honour to be Head Coach of the National Team and ranks up there with playing for my Country
Jabu: And what are your goals for the team over the next 12 months?
Charlie: Our first goal would be to break into positions 5-8 in the World rankings. Qualification for the World Cup to be held in Holland in June 2014 is very important.
Jabu: Having sponsors Mugg and Bean on board, must be a huge help. Will this facilitate more opportunities to have training camps?
Charlie: The Mugg and Bean sponsorship is terrific news; it has created great energy and will certainly help with more training camps. To run a decent men’s program for a year will however require more sponsorship and sourcing further revenue streams.
Jabu: Will you be trying to involve all our overseas based players?
Charlie: The overseas players form the core of our team and they will always be involved. These players are exposed to excellent coaching and of course to a high level of competition which is the only way to improve one’s skill set.
Jabu: There was a lot of drama with the captaincy issue in Argentina, which blew up out of proportion in the end. Have you got thoughts on who the SA Captain will be?
Charlie: Yes, we were naïve with the announcement of the team in Cape Town and learnt a valuable PR lesson. For me it was an opportunity to expand our leadership base, the more leaders we have the more responsibility the team can take and this will eventually reflect on the field. The position was that Austin was only joining us late in the campaign and we felt that given the big changes in SA Hockey Coaching structures that someone was required to pull the lads together. Rhett did a fantastic job in this regard, and his leadership skills came to the fore. Austin is still the captain of the National Team and the selectors will debate the captaincy position as part of the final selection process of the team.
Jabu: Moving from playing staff to management, you now have a large management team, how important are they to your plans?
Charlie: Since we are still an amateur body and we all hold down jobs outside of the work we do as coaches, trainers, management, video analysts; we need a big team from which we can draw resources to meet the demands of the various competitions. Specialist skills are required to improve the technical and tactical skills of our players and one coach or trainer is not able to provide specialist goalkeeping, defending, attacking or drag flicking training.
Jabu: In terms of selection, will you be encouraging the selectors to pick some of the youngsters coming through?
Charlie: As a country we continue to produce talented sportsmen and women and we are always on the lookout to bring in young players. It is obviously a fine balancing act in blending experience with youth.
Jabu: A few of the players that played at the Olympic Games are no longer playing for SA, would you lay down the challenge for them?
Charlie: Yes we already have. Lloyd Madsen, Wade Paton and Andrew Cronje are back training intensively .I have met with Marvin Harper regarding his future plans and he is committed to still play for SA. Am in contact with Ian Haley who is living in the UK and my next call will be to Thornton Mcdade.
Jabu: Hockey is not a sport with a huge financial backing, so how else do you keep yourself busy?
Charlie: Busy is an understatement. I am a Chartered Accountant by profession and run an audit and accounting practice from my base in the Midlands.
Jabu: Great minds… All Things Jabu is about all sport, so what other sport have you participated in for your life?
Charlie: Football was my great love, at school I also played cricket and now am into golf and mountain-biking.
Jabu: And which teams do you support?
Charlie: Only one team of course – Liverpool.
Jabu: Lastly, if you could leave young hockey players in South Africa with one message, what would it be?
Charlie: Hard work is also a talent.
Jabu: Thanks so much Charlie and good luck!
Keep up with all that the SA Men are up to in World Hockey by following their twitter account, @TheLads_Hockey