Jor­dan ready to im­press

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - MOHAU RAMASHIDJA

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

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