Nov 29, 2020

Coaches Corner with Sharmin Naidoo


High school attended: Northwood
Family: Wife (Amanda), Son (Reece 17 years old matric at KES), Son (Riley 15 months old)
Previous and current coaching positions held: Most recent Coaching and Managing – KZN Raiders, KZN Mynahs, KZN U18 and SA U18 Hockey Teams and the KZN U19 Cricket Team, Westville Boys 1st Hockey, Westville Boys Director of Sport, Current – Wits University Head of Cricket and Hockey.
Favourite provincial rugby team: The Sharks
Hobbies and Interests: Golf, Movies and Braaing
Favourite holiday destination: Cape Town
Favourite meal: Nandos  
Quote that you try to live by: Work Hard, Think Deep and Keep Faith (Chelsea Drive Senior Primary School Motto)

1.  Who is Sharmin Naidoo?

I am a Father, Husband, Friend and Coach. I enjoying spending time with people especially around the pitch.

2.  Where did your passion for sport begin?

I grew up in a small suburb called Greenwood Park in Durban. Sport for me started in my neighbour’s yard and the streets from around 7/8 years old. You couldn’t keep me away from playing cricket and football all day long. I absolutely hated hearing my parents calling me home when it got dark. My parents moved me to Chelsea Drive Senior Primary in Standard 4 where I was privileged to be able to play organised sport and be coached by some really good teachers and coaches. My passion for sport continued into high school at Northwood and it has never ended since. Again at Northwood I was blessed to able to play on some of the best school sporting facilities in SA and coached by some amazing teachers and coaches. I had the best time playing sport at school and I will forever be grateful for all the opportunities I got from my parents and coaches.

3.  Most people know you for your time at WBHS. How did you end up there and what position were you originally employed for and what position did you leave as?

After completing a Bcom Degree at the University of Natal, I was offered a teaching and coaching opportunity by Maryna Hobel at Durban North College. I spent 4 amazing years coaching sport and teaching Accounting there before I moved to Westville Boys High as the Head of Cricket and Sports Academy. The sports office at Westville Boys was growing fast and I worked with and was mentored by the best in the business. A few years in, I eventually took on the responsibility as the Director of Sport at Westville after Grant Bell. I was extremely fortunate to work with great leaders in Trevor Hall, Nestor Pieredes, Alan Miller, Trevor Cowie and Leslie Chain who guided me and supported my every goal. Trevor Hall and Nestor Pieredes were by far the greatest leaders I have ever worked with. Trevor Hall is one of the greatest headmasters in the history of this country. Nestor was my mentor and my sports compass. He taught me how to respect the game and what it was to be a human being. I miss him so much. Along the way I worked with some of the best sports coaches in SA. Together we built a factory for student athletes and more importantly developed amazing young men who would easily find their place in their communities after school.

4.  What are some of your fondest memories of schoolboy sports?

There have been so many which include Alex Whitelaw top edging a last ball of the game bouncer from Lungi Ngidi over the wicketkeeper for four runs to win the CSA T20 Provincial Final at Kingsmead vs Hilton College, beating Maritzburg College 1st XI Cricket on Bowdens, then their 1st XV Rugby 50-10 on Goldstones and then their 1st XI Hockey 2-0 on Papes. For me the best moment and the one I enjoyed the most was my U14a hockey right half, Randal Govender, dribbling the ball from deep inside his own half to the top of the Kearsney College circle and cracking a backhand shot into the top right corner of the goal to draw the game 2-2 in the last second at The Westville Astro.

5.  You have been involved in numerous provincial and international teams, tell us more about that?

I have been very fortunate to work with some representative teams which included the KZN Raiders, KZN Mynahs, KZN U18 and SA U18 Hockey Teams and the KZN U19 Cricket Team. As a coach and a manager, I got a chance to work with some amazing human beings. I learnt more from these relationships and experiences than I could have ever learnt from my degree at University. Its important to note that you still need a university degree. An athlete with a good education will always have a competitive advantage on the sports field and in the boardroom. I spent the last 2 years at Westville Boys coaching U14A Hockey. Coaching U14A Hockey at Westville Boys within such a successful program was by far the greatest privilege.     

6.  Who are/were your mentors or people that you look up to?

My father (Nathan Naidoo – Hardest working human being alive), Loui Arde (My PE Teacher and Cross Country Coach at Chelsea Drive Senior Primary), Keith Hosken (Physics Teacher and 1st Team Cricket Coach at Northwood), Grant Bashford (Former Sharks Coach, PE Teacher at Northwood), Nestor Pieredes (Deputy Headmaster Westville Boys), Mike Bechet (Director of Sport Maritzburg College), Wayne Marsden (KZN Boys and SA Schools Boys Hockey Chairman) and Currently – Adrian Carter (Former Director of Sport Wits University) and Michael Dick (Current Director of Sport Wits University).

7.  You are the co-founder of the J- League. What is it all about? And what is your vision for this league?

We set out to create an out of season world class franchise hockey competition for all stakeholders. The J league will hopefully bridge the gap between school hockey and club hockey and encourage more young hockey players to join clubs through the new relationships they forge during this event. We want the JHL environment to be exciting and attractive. Ultimately we want to grow the pipleline and encourage continuity.

8.  How important is recruiting in sports?

The recruitment of quality personnel (Staff and Athletes) is a fundamental pillar for any sports organisation. The game is about human beings and will always be this way. A good sports coach/administrator spends a few hours every day working on recruitment.

9.  How does varsity sport compare to school sport?

The top sports schools operate in a very similar way to the top sporting universities. Recruitment (Players and Staff), a strong sporting culture, quality high performance services, depth and the best competition separate the best from the rest. Schools and universities that focus on the student athlete definitely find it easier to enjoy sustainable success. Both systems will have student athletes that enter at a certain age and then leave at a certain age. The Varsity Cup and Varsity Sports Competitions make varsity sport that much more attractive with matches being televised on Supersport. The reality is that the South African sporting environment relies heavily on school and university sporting structures. Most of our professional athletes come out these systems.

10.  Do you believe that people must play more than one sport or do you believe in specializing?

An athlete that plays as many sports for as long as possible will have a competitive advantage in life and in professional sports environment over any young athlete that specialises too early. The topic is well documented academically. I think playing a summer and winter code all through high school is a the way to go. There is enough time between the ages of 18-35 to specialise and play the game professionally.

11.  Do you follow Pegasus Publishing on their social media platforms and if so, what do you find sets us apart from all the others?

Yes I do. I enjoy the articles and community engagement. South African Sport needs buy in from people that come from all walks of life and from all our communities. The closer the game gets to the community the faster it will grow.

12.  Pegasus Publishing has been producing your GLRU Fixture Programmes for a number of years now. What affect and role do you feel this has played with the schools – parents, players and coaching staff in general?

School boy rugby has become a brand on its own is SA. All stakeholders want to stay informed and in the know. A media publication like Pegasus Publishing does a great job in the marketing the brand that is school boy rugby. Long may that continue!!