The South African women’s team will head into the rest of 2017 without the calming, stabilising presence of one of their greatest goalkeepers, as Sanani Mangisa announced her retirement from international hockey on Tuesday, 24th January 2017.
The 29-year-old Mangisa is into her 10th year of representing South Africa and has decided the time is right for her to concentrate on her career in the sports industry and helping to create opportunities, similar to the ones she enjoyed, for the next generation.
“I always love the freshness and optimism that comes with a new year and it is with that same freshness and optimism that I have decided to retire from international hockey. On 30th December 2006, I made my debut in Stellenbosch as a young 19-year-old and 10 years on it has been an immense honour to represent South Africa at the highest level.
“However, it’s time for me to focus on some passion projects, making sure other young players have the same opportunities I did and a job that I am enjoying. Hockey chose me and I will forever be grateful,” Mangisa said.
Mangisa thanked the South African Hockey Association (SAHA) and all other stakeholders in the game who have supported her in the last decade.
“Thank you to SAHA for all the opportunities they allowed me to represent my country and wear the Green and Gold. Thank you to the different team-mates I have played with over the years - we shared a common goal and always worked hard towards achieving it. Also, thank you to the coaches and trainers who always challenged me to be better.
“Thanks too to all the different sponsors, you believed in a girl, long before I believed in myself, and to the media - journalists and broadcasters - that feature hockey, I have to thank you specifically for working endlessly to highlight our sport. I hope everyone keeps supporting women’s sport not just because it’s women’s sport, but because we are breaking moulds and doing some really exciting stuff.
“Furthermore to my family, you have always been the grounding factor. Your support has been immense. Enkosi,” Mangisa said.
The Umtata-born Mangisa leaves the game with rich memories as one of South Africa’s most decorated goalkeepers, having earned 112 international caps and appearing in both the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games, as well as the 2014 World Cup and the 2010 Commonwealth Games. She also represented South Africa at the 2007 Indoor World Cup and played locally for the KZN Midlands Schools, the University of Pretoria and Northerns, before moving to the Wanderers Hockey Club and her current provincial home being Southern Gauteng.
Marissa Langeni, the CEO of SAHA, paid tribute to Mangisa. “We have followed Sanani’s progress over the years and she has truly been a remarkable player, doing an amazing job in goal for South Africa. She enjoyed so many highlights on the field, but she was also a great ambassador for South African hockey. As Sanani likes to say, “I’m just a girl from Mthatha”, I’d like to add she’s just a girl from Mthatha with 112 caps for South Africa who through her own story inspired a new generation of fans for the game. We wish her all the best,” Langeni said.