TENDAI MAREDZA, who is expected to lead the Zimbabwe Under-21 women team in their Hockey Junior World Cup qualifiers, says nothing beats helping young players achieve their goals.
The qualifiers are set for Ghana.
He has worked with national junior teams over the years and, in 2018, led the Under-18 girls at the Youth Olympic Games in Argentina.
He was the assistant coach of the Under-21 women in 2016 when they participated at the World Cup in Chile.
“The experience has been great. I love working with these young players and together we have achieved a lot.
“Nothing beats helping young athletes achieve their dreams.”
Maredza admits there is a lot of groundwork to be covered as they have been limited on their activities because of the prevailing situation.
“Already, we have lost a lot of time due to Covid-19.
“Hopefully, we can get the greenlight soon to resume hockey training.
“Basically, we are working on structures and then different styles of play because having gone to the Olympics, I have picked up a couple of things on how we can actually compete against teams like South Africa.
“Once we get onto the turf, it’s going to be more focus on the structure. I am not worried about the basics a lot, so it’s more small-sided games, preparing them for the actual tournament rather than just working on the basics,” said Maredza.
For the previous edition when they graced the event in Chile, Trish Davies, as member of the Golden Girls team was the head coach then. Maredza, who is also the national senior men player, says working with Davies was a learning curve and, coupled with the experience from the Youth Olympics, it has prepared for the task ahead.
“I learnt a lot at that time and I was still young. Trish is one of the best coaches in Zimbabwe and working with her was an awesome experience.
“The feeling is great because last time I was the assistant coach and now being the head coach it’s a pleasure coaching these youngsters.
“Also, having worked with most of them in the Zimbabwe Under-18, and then the Under-17 teams that went to the Youth Olympics, I think it’s nothing new because all the players I have worked with.
“I am actually optimistic that we are going to do well because most of these players have already qualified for the Olympics, they have played in the Zimbabwe Under-18.
‘’So, it’s not been a challenge for me, in terms of coaching them, because I have worked with them over the past three years,” Maredza said.