After more than 10 years former national player Steve Evans is back with the South African national men’s hockey team as part of the management.
SA Hockey sat down and asked the legend a few questions.
When was your last game for South Africa?
I retired after the Athens Olympics in 2004 having been involved in the squad since 1994. My first match was in 1996 and I played 96 games for SA.
When was your last involvement with the national setup before the 2017 Summer Series?
I haven't been involved in the National Set-up subsequent to my retirement, so is fantastic to be able to add value and share my experiences of competing internationally, and having spent five years living abroad and playing in various leagues and competitions in Australia, England, Germany and Egypt.
What is your current role?
I've been appointed as an assistant coach and have been tasked by Fabian Gregory (head coach) to focus on developing our defensive connections and understanding of various defensive structures, and in particular giving real time input during matches. This is of course not in isolation, and I’m working closely with Jason Mulder and Cheslin Gie who are also focused on various specific aspects of the teams play.
What are your impressions thus far of the team's performances?
We have made significant progress as a unit, understanding what we are trying to achieve offensively and defensively in terms of developing a game style that best suits us as South Africans, rather than trying to play like another (aspirational) country.
What about South African hockey makes you excited for the future?
With out doubt, the appointment of a commercial entity to help SA Hockey package and sell sponsorships, and the introduction of government support for the launch of the Premier Hockey League has given us as South African hockey players and fans a future vision to 2022 Commonwealth Games that is both exciting and compelling! I look forward to adding value in whichever small way that I can to help our players and aspiring future superstars achieve their dreams of competing internationally, and for SA Hockey to reclaim its ranking within the Top 10 nations in the world.