By Mark Etheridge
After stepping down as SA Hockey President after a total of 40 years service to the sport, Dave Carr is pretty well qualified to sound forth on our men’s and women’s chances at this year’s 2012 Olympics here in London.
Carr took time out to chat to Road to London 2012 on hockey happenings in previous years, curently and further down the line.
“Firstly I think both our teams have a chance of finishing in their highest ever positions and would actually not be surprised if they finished in the middle group, that of positions 5-8.”
Carr stepped down this month after becoming a member of the national executive in 1982 and been there ever since, as president from 2007.
Road to London 2012 fired a few questions at him and here are his answers:
What are your most memorable memories of SA hockey?
WHEN I WAS MANAGER OF THE NATIONAL MENS TEAM AT THE ATHENS OLYMPICS.
What do you think has been the highlight of our men’s and women’s hockey under your tenure?
THE MEN, QUALIFYING FOR LONDON IN JAPAN HAVING HAD TO ATTEND AN ADDITIONAL QUALIFYING EVENT ÔÇô AND EARNING A MEDAL AT THE RECENT CHAMPS CHALLENGE IN JOHANNESBURG. THE WOMEN, ALSO QUALIFYING IN INDIA AS AN ADDITIONAL EVENT. GETTING GILES BONNET TO BECOME THE COACH.
What is the best game of hockey you’ve ever seen, locally and internationally?
THE BEST GAME OF HOCKEY SEEN LOCALLY WAS THE MEN BEATING ARGENTINA IN SEPTEMBER 2011 WHEN WE SCORED THE WINNING GOAL ON FULL TIME FROM A SHORT CORNER. INTERNATIONALLY WOULD BE THE WORLD CUP FINAL IN GERMANY.
Who would you rate as our best men’s and women’s player yet to date and why?
BEST MEN’S PLAYER IN SA IS HARD TO SAY BUT TWO COME TO MIND GOALKEEPER BRIAN MYBURGH WHO DOMINATED THE GOALS FOR MANY YEARS AND THE FIELD PLAYER GREGG NICOL WHO COULD NOT ONLY SCORE GOALS FROM SHORT CORNERS BUT WAS ABLE TO SCORE FIELD GOALS FROM INCREDIBLE ANGLES.
FOR THE WOMEN PIETIE COETZEE WHO HOLDS THE WORLD RECORD FOR THE NUMBER OF INTERNATIONAL MATCHES AND GOALS SCORED HAD SHE NOT HAD A FEW YEARS BREAK FROM PLAYING INTERNATIONAL HOCKEY THIS RECORD WOULD HAVE BEEN EVEN GREATER, SHE FIRST PLAYED FOR SA AT AGE OF 17!
How has hockey progressed since you took over?
DIFFICULT QUESTION ÔÇô UNDER MY LEADERSHIP THE EX AND STAFF WORKED WITH ME AS A TEAM WE ESTABLISHED A NEW STRATEGIC PLAN TO TAKE HOCKEY FORWARD, GOT MORE PLAYERS PLAYING LEAGUE HOCKEY IN EUROPE THANKS TO THE TWO NATIONAL COACHES’ HELP. BETTER WORKING REALTIONS WITH SRSA AND SASCOC. BEEN ABLE TO GET SCHOOLS AND PROVINCIAL BODIES WORKING CLOSER TOGETHER FOR THE END RESULT TO IMPROVE HOCKEY IN SA.
And how can it get better going forward, which are the main areas where the sport must improve?
WE NEED TO FIND MORE SPONSORS FOR THE NATIONAL TEAMS, WE NEED TO ENCOURAGE HIGH PERFORNAMCE AT PROVINCIAL LEVELS AND THAT WE ALL FOLLOW THE SAME COACHING PLANE WHICH HAS BEEN DEVELOPED. GET MORE FULL TIME STAFF WORKING AT NATIONAL AND PROVINCIAL LEVELS, BETTER WORKING REALTIONS WITH THE LOCAL SPORTS COUNCILS, MUNICIPALITIES AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT.
Is the sport currently in good hands now and can we expect great things going forward ÔÇô the fact that our two sides have made the Games must be hugely inspirational etc?
I BELIEVE HOCKEY IS IN GOOD HANDS AND THE NEW PRESIDENT AND EXECUTIVE WILL HAVE IDEAS TO MOVE HOCKEY FORWARD AND CONFIDENT THEY WILL DO SO. HAVING BOTH SIDES AT THE OLYMPICS WILL DO HOCKEY A TREMENDOUS AMOUNT OF GOOD. NEW ROLE MODELS WILL BE ESTABLISHED AND I SEE A GROWTH IN THE NUMBERS PLAYING, ESPECIALLY AT SCHOOLS.