Adele chats to South African Women’s Indoor Hockey Captain, Cindy Hack. Cindy currently has 105 indoor caps for South Africa where she has also scored 100 goals. She has appeared 38 times for the South African Women’s Outdoor Team. Cindy has competed in 2 Indoor World Cups and an Outdoor World Cup. She is the first South African player to reach 100 caps for Indoor Hockey which is testimony to the commitment that she trains and plays with.
Adele: Who are you currently playing for in KZN (Indoor Hockey)?
Cindy: I am currently playing for Raiders women and have been for the past 15 years or so. I play for Riverside Club, Indoor and Outdoor.
Adele: You fortunately played in the IPT in February and captained Spar KZN Raiders to the title. What would you say was a big difference between your team and the next team?
Cindy: I would have to say firstly experience. Our KZN Raiders indoor team has a lot of players that have been exposed to the National level and National representation. We have also played together for a very long time. Secondly, our youngsters really stood up. This counts a lot as when substitutions are made they are able to keep the level and pace of the game right up there.
Adele: What is your next large international event for Indoor?
Cindy: Next up is supposed to be a camp, and then African Qualifiers for The World Cup 2021, however due to Covid we are unsure when this will be taking place.
Adele: How do you think the Covid 19 Virus has effected World Hockey?
Cindy: I think it’s been very difficult as the top players and teams have managed to keep up their/our training regime, however the longer it takes to resume competition the tougher it will be for us all. With tournaments and competitions being canceled has been a huge knock to World Hockey and teams as teams have prepped and based their trainings around tournaments. Now there is so much uncertainty it is difficult to re plan.
Adele: You are a double South African Women’s player having represented the SA Outdoor and Indoor Teams. You currently just focus on Indoor. What made you decide this?
Cindy: Yes, I have been honoured to have represented my country in Indoor and Outdoor. Indoor has always been my passion, it’s incredibly technical, fast paced, lots of goals (sometimes for and against) and it’s always really exciting to play in and watch. When time started to become a factor for me I naturally gravitated towards indoor and now although still super busy, I am able to juggle work, my kids and national indoor.
Adele: Your Dad, Lennie Botha, has been the South African Ladies indoor Coach for many years. How do you manage being the captain of the team with him as the coach?
Cindy: My Dad has always been involved in coaching even though it wasn’t with the women to start. I have had many coaches before him. Now that he has moved across to the ladies I respect his knowledge and experience and passion for the game. He respects me as a player, and what I contribute to the team. When I was younger and he coached me provincially I used to get very upset when people made comments about my selection and took it very personally, however now I know my value and worth. I have learnt not to take criticism personally from people I would not ask for advice! There will always be critics and when you are successful, and doing well there will always be those people who have negative comments, and I have had to learn to rise above it and you know whose comments count.
Adele: What has been your career highlight so far?
Cindy: Definitely my 100th cap! It was an absolutely incredible day and to be able to share it with all of those who love me and who have been a part of my journey was amazing and truly special. As unbelievable as my 100th was to me it’s truly about the 99 games and how I got there which meant the most. Another big highlight for me would be the fact that through my career I have made some of my very best friends whom I have literally grown up with, we still play together and now our even kids play together. My career has given me so many incredible moments and memories both good and bad yet I have been able to go through it all with some of my close and very best friends!
Adele: What/Who got you in to hockey?
Cindy: My dad was a springbok hockey player and I have always been exposed to it and often played on the side of the field when he played. I suppose it’s in my blood. I actually nearly chose swimming as I used to swim at a highly competitive level, but then my love for the game took over.
Adele: What is the best piece of advice that you can give to young players?
Cindy: To always put in the hard work, never give up and to always believe in yourself! There is no doubt that there will be injuries and hard times throughout your career, it’s how you come back and how much you truly want it.
Adele: What have you seen are the main differences of styles of play in Indoor with our South African Team and the top international teams in the world?
Cindy: Our South African style of play has always been one of flare and attacking hockey, which in attack was always pretty exciting to watch when we get it right, but defensively because of that attacking mindset we definitely left ourselves exposed, and ultimately used to lose games because we conceded soft goals. More recently probably over the past 3/4 years we really have focused more on our defensive structures and still kept that attacking flare which as definitely improved our results. So our style of play now is closer to a European defensive structure mixed with our South African attacking flare.
Adele: How do you think we are going to improve our world ranking and get closer to the higher ranked Indoor international teams?
Cindy: Exposure, Exposure, exposure! Thanks to our sponsor Spar we have been able to go on International tours and have international teams come to us for competition. The more teams we are exposed to and play against, the better we will become, and that is evident from our results. It’s amazing how much our National team has learnt from the exposure from other top teams. Our growth as a team and individuals is so evident from the first test to the last in a series.
Adele: Who is one of the finest players that you have played against a) Indoor Hockey b) Outdoor Hockey
Indoor- I don’t have one specific player but more a style of play. The Dutch are just incredible, and yes individually they excel HOWEVER what I love is their one touch hockey and how they play and connect as a team, it’s incredible to watch (and not so nice to play against)
Outdoor – I would have to say Luciana Aymar she was just in an absolute league of her own!
Adele: Share an unknown fact about yourself.
Cindy: I am scared of cockroaches and I am an insomniac.
Adele: You are also an accomplished school’s coach having coached at Fatima the school that you attended. Describe what motivates you to coach and what age group do you prefer coaching?
Cindy: I love to share my passion of the game with the youngsters and thoroughly enjoy seeing their development through coaching. I enjoy coaching all ages, as the little ones are just so excited and enthusiastic, yet the older players thrive on how much they can learn and constantly amaze me at the incredible talent coming through. If I had to pick a specific age group it would be U13.
Adele: You attended the Madsen Hockey Academy as a Coach for our UHA (Ultimate Hockey Acceleration) Course. What did you enjoy most about the sessions and what was the level of hockey of the players that you took?
Cindy: I have always thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the Madsen academy no matter what I did. I wish I had this when I was younger! The kids don’t realise how truly lucky they are to be exposed to coaches of all levels and experience.
If I had to pick out one thing I enjoyed the most, it would have to be sharing in the love for the game that everyone there has! You can just feel when you are there that it is more than just about the hockey, but more about bringing out the best in each and every child. Hockey is such a family sport, and the Madsen Hockey Academy epitomises this through and through!