Former Ramblers and women’s national hockey team star Anke Erdmannsky is currently turning out for Namibia’s Masters team.
Born and raised in Windhoek, Erdmannsky started playing hockey in primary school, and eventually played for the star-studded Ramblers outfit in the women’s top league.
“I joined SKW while schooling at Delta in 1984. Then I moved to Windhoek High School in 1985. DTS recruited me shortly afterwards, before I eventually settled down at Ramblers.
“But as fate would have it, I am now the chairperson of Wanderers Hockey Club.
“I had a fantastic hockey career, and I was a team player on and off the field. The Erdmannskys stood out as defenders, and I also played goalkeeper, sweeper, rightback and leftback, as well as forward and link.”
She says although she was a star player, she was also a team player.
“We played as a team. All it required from you is to be fit, and combinations needed to be practised for cohesion. I had a good mixture of endurance and tactics, but I was much more of a team player.
“The name of the game is: If you can give, you must take as well. I am now referring to hard play.
“As a coach, the knowledge of each player’s weakness and strength is essential, and to work out how the players can complement each other on the pitch.”
Reminiscing about her most memorable match, she notes the Namibian Masters’ win over a much-younger Western Province Invitation team during the Masters Tournament, played during heavy rain in Cape Town.
Erdmannsky also represented the national hockey team in Botswana, Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa, and she describes the Club Championships matches with Ramblers in Zimbabwe under coach Marc Nel as standouts.
The retired hockey player, who played as a shot-stopper and catcher for the national softball team, was also a very competitive swimmer during her youth.
“My hockey career went full circle. I played for the senior women’s national team, and I have coached the boys’ junior national teams at the under-16, under-18 and under-21 age levels.
“I have also officiated various hockey matches. I got the Africa grading for judging and umpiring,” she says.
The married mother of two says that she does not have any regrets as a hockey player or in life in general, “because you make a choice and live with it”.
Both her children play and coach at the Wanderers development programme, where they too are hel
Erdmannsky works at a fibreglass repairs and canopy company, and also owns her own property agency.
“We do fibreglass repairs, as well as anything built from fibreglass. We fit canopies and accessories to all bakkies and rubberise them.
“I am an estate agent as well, and own Branjoas Properties. If you need to sell or buy a farm, erf or house, I am your go-to person,” she says.
Her advice to aspiting young players is to stay focused and positive and not to sweat the small stuff.
“You must constantly be on top of new products and provide a superb service to your clients. and you must not be afraid to learn something new.
“I am happy with my hockey career, but more with the coaching achievements, because a coach can change a child’s life.”
Erdmannsky says her late father had the biggest influence on her hockey career, while her mother and sisters were also a source of support.
Her toughest opponents, she says, are those with “no vision, only thinking of themselves and their offspring, and wanting their children to live their dream”.
Despite her very busy work schedule, Erdmannsky makes time to support her children and fulfil her duties as chairperson of Wanderers Hockey Club.
Although she was considered one of the best players of her time because of her involvement with the national team, Erdmannsky says she became the player she did because of her teammates.
“As a sportsperson, you reap what you sow, but there is definitely no ‘I’ in a team. You win as a team, and you lose as a team.”
She certainly doesn’t miss the gruelling training regimen of those days though, she says.
“I do miss the friendships and the times spent with my former teammates. The biggest thing I miss, however, is mom and dad driving us to the venues and supporting us all the way.”
Erdmannsky advises young and aspirant hockey players to follow their dreams and train hard, but to enjoy every moment.
“Go out and make friends,” she says.
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