Jordan ready to impress
DR ELSJE JORDAN laughed yesterday when one of her colleagues at the Spar Netball National Championships, currently ongoing here in Durban, addressed her as “head of the head coaches” following her appointment as the new Proteas Netball head coach.
And that’s because the former senior national netball captain will continue working alongside both Norma Plummer and her assistant, Nicole Cusack, as consultant coaches until both of their contracts run out in 2019.
Jordan, who’ll officially takeover from Plummer at the beginning of next year until her contract expires in 2019 as well, said the arrival of the pair back in 2015 opened her eyes to what coaching at the highest level was all about.
The netball legend is now looking forward to implementing what she has learnt from the two.
“I went with them to the World Cup in 2015,” Jordan said. “When they first arrived, I got this new burst of energy because I just love learning new things. They gave me that. I got along well with them from the get go. I just loved the way they thought and how they did things. I started picking up on the systems and structures they used, and that had a massive impact on me as coach.
“I’ll continue learning from the two, as it is important for me not to reinvent the wheel (following her new appointment).”
Meanwhile Netball South Africa president Mimi Mthethwa-Zulu is confident Jordan will do superbly in her new role when she takes over as head coach next year.
“We brought in consultant coaches (back in 2015) because we wanted them to work with our national squads. We wanted them to mentor our national coaches as well,” Mthethwa-Zulu said. “We wanted to expose our local coaches to the actual discussions which take place between Norma and her technical staff during live matches. We wanted them to learn how decisions were made before a substitute was made, for example.
“We now believe the coaches who have been working with Norma, from 2015 up until now, should be able to show us if they’ve been learning anything from her. I believe appointing Jordan was a good decision.”
Mthethwa-Zulu explained that the extension of the contracts of both Plummer and Cusack after 2019, would depend on whether Jordan can prove she can handle the pressure of the top job.
“Both Dr Jordan and the consultant coaches’ contracts will come to an end in 2019,” Mthethwa-Zulu said. “The extension of their contracts will depend on how they will work together as a team. Once we are satisfied and confident that Dr Jordan has learnt everything from the two, it is only then that she’ll take full command of the netball squad. We also want her to be in a position where she’ll be able to pass on the required knowledge to our other national coaches. We want to first evaluate how she’ll cope in her new role, before we can start thinking about extending either of their contracts.
“If we still feel that we need both Norma and Nicole after 2019, then we’ll continue working with them.”
Not everything that Ackermann touched turned to gold, as my colleague Jacques van der Westhuizen mentions in his comment piece on the thorny issue of transformation, but he put in a lot of hard work for a franchise and union that was dead and almost buried to make them a formidable force again.
Ackermann’s love for his players was obvious in the manner in which the players respected and adored him. And before their employer, all of the Lions players swore allegiance to Ackermann.
It is understandable that the players would do so as it was Ackermann who converted most of them from rejects into world class players who can hold their own against the best that world rugby has to throw at them.
As good a coach as Ackermann has been, which was evident with the expansive and