Allistar Fredericks became a hero for many when he became the first player of colour to represent South Africa’s Hockey Men. In a career that saw Fredericks feature at the 1996 Summer Olympics, the striker collected 57 goals in his 59 caps.
The Atlanta Olympics stood out for Ally as a special moment in his career as he also got to make the whole Olympic Team speech to Nelson Mandela at his Pretoria home before they departed for the Olympic Games. Since retiring in 1998 I asked Ally what has been keeping him busy?
“Since then I have coached at National and Provincial Level, been the assistant coach to SA men for about Five years, a selector for a few years and now I am the Convenor of selectors. I also run the Allistar Fredericks Hockey Development Trust fund, we fund hockey-playing kids in need of a good academic foundation and quality hockey school, Beaulieu College offers all of these, I also run my own PSi Franchise called PSi Gauteng Gryphons and an indoor business which has kept a lot of us busy”
Speaking of being the convenor of selectors Ally admits there is much difficulty due to there being very little contact time with the players. “We only really get to see them at certain main events and that is where we select our current crop from, we also rely on past performances and the experience of the player and if importantly if the player can still add value to our set up within the National team.” There is also a host of exciting youngsters being called upon and Ally shared that he was particularly excited by the emergence of Dayaan Cassiem (who’s dad played alongside Ally): “I think he is an incredible quality player and he will develop incredibly well if we look after him”. Fredericks was also particularly impressed with the development of Bili Ntuli and Melrick Maddocks who he backs for future success at the highest level.
Digging into the PSi side of things, the Gauteng Gryphons are the biggest Franchises in the sport and recently celebrated their tenth anniversary. The Gryphons were started by Reza Rosenberg (part of the 2018 Indoor World Cup Squad) and Ally Fredericks and have grown remarkably. Kids like Kamal Ramburuth Hurt, Keegan Kieck, Brandon James and now Rusten Abrahams have gone through the Gryphons process to play for South Africa. Sticking to hockey development Ally is also the man behind the Beaulieu Hockey Academy.
“Beaulieu Hockey Academy we started about 8 years ago and our club now boasts one of the best Junior setups and Senior teams. The College is also now ranked amongst the best Hockey schools at Boys and Girls levels and we boast a staff complement that includes National players.”
Ally is the father of three kids Keagan (24), Taylor (19) and Tristan (11). Naturally, I was interested if any of these have decided to follow their father’s legacy. “Tristan is the only one who has shown passion for the game and has become quite the little player, his destined to follow in his father’s footsteps”
And being actively involved in both indoor and outdoor hockey, I had to know which one has a fonder place in Ally’s heart. “Indoor is my first love, purely because of what it has done to the skills levels of our kids, parents enjoy it and all the kids prefer it.”
In closing, I asked Ally for his final message to share with the young hockey-playing children of South Africa. “My message is that no matter what circumstances you come from, nothing must deter you to achieve your dreams, as a boy from the dusty streets of Kimberley playing on sand will tell you, Hockey has allowed me to meet my Hero Mr. Nelson Mandela and travel the world”
The Breakaway is written for SA Hockey by Tyron “Jabu” Barnard