Passion at heart of hockey goalie’s success

ANOTHER one of Eastern Cape’s hidden gems is feisty national hockey player Vuyisanani Mangisa, who hails from Mthatha.

The South African goalkeeper says she has had a wonderful experience in hockey having played at national level from an early age.

She started playing at national level just after leaving high school in 2006.

“Growing up I have always played sport, and I love the outdoors. I guess I excelled more at hockey, and ultimately, that’s what I stuck with,” she says.

The spectacular goalkeeper has not just relied on her successful sporting achievements, but is also backed by a BCom degree in financial management which she obtained from the University of Pretoria in 2010.

“It’s not easy being a sportswoman in South Africa. You cannot relax and just play. You need an education. You need another job to support yourself,” she said.

Affectionally known as “Sanani”, Mangisa elaborated on the challenges she has experienced as a sportswoman in this country.

“Women in sport in this country play because they are passionate about the game, because we are not awarded that much, unlike our male counterparts,” she said.

“When I was among other women at the World Cup recently, I realised that South Africa is a bit behind,” she said, while admitting that she believes hockey is “probably the most balanced sport among all sport codes”.

The hockey World Cup took place in June where both men and women tournaments took place simultaneously.

“Since 2010 we have had Investec sponsor us. This has really helped us and we have tournaments in and around the country so we really have it good,” she said.

Sanani, 27, said the biggest challenge is dealing with being stereotyped, or being undermined.

“People always have something to say. The remarks can be annoying, when people believe just because you’re a women you’re not supposed to swing the way you do, or just because you can be an aggressive player, you’re lesbian or a tomboy,” she said.

“When we play hockey nothing changes just because women are playing. The rules and duration remain the same,” she said.

This sports researcher at Repucom in Pretoria said she was also trying to give back to the community by encouraging black girls to play the sport.

“I am currently coaching young black girls from the local township, because I want to introduce the sport and encourage the game at developmental level, and young girls are so much more eager to learn,” she said.

“If women can support women and encourage girl children to engage in any sport, then we are going somewhere,” she said. —