Interview with goalkeeper for St John’s DSG, Amanda Khumalo

SPAR KZN School Girls Hockey Challenge
“When someone is charging towards me, my heart instantly does a little jump, but then I remind myself that I can do this.”
And do this she can! Matric pupil, St John’s DSG’s Amanda Khumalo is completely composed and confident as the last line of defence for her first team. In the recent Grand Finals of the SPAR KZN School Girl’s Hockey Challenge, she kept a clean scoresheet on the first day, and let in a handful of goals against St Mary’s DSG and St Anne’s DSG.
“I hadn’t planned on being a keeper, I actually gave up hockey in Grade 6 but then a season later I somehow found myself at selections and when the coach asked who wanted to be the keeper, no one put their hand up but everyone turned to look at me. So, it was a bit random as to how I landed up in the goals.”
St John’s finished fourth overall in their first appearance at the crème-de-la-crème tournament of KZN school girls’ hockey, narrowly losing out to St Anne’s DSG in a penalty shootout that had Khumalo in action. A disappointing conclusion, especially after having beaten St Anne’s earlier in the season.
This was Khumalos first full year in the first year, where previously she has just filled in. Asked who is her role model in hockey is, she replies, “I wouldn’t necessarily say I have a role model, but more cherished memories. My school organised former GHS Keeper, Zimisele Shange to coach all of the school’s keepers and I learnt an enormous amount from her. Zimi is a phenomenal player, a player I hugely admire and respect.”
Khumalo, described as a confident and determined young lady, is currently tackling her next big challenge, that of trials. “I have three exams this week, overall I would say they are going as I had hoped and I am preparing well for them.”
Next year this inspiring young leader is hoping to go to varsity at either TUKS or WITS where she is wanting to pursue a BA concentrating on International Relations, “International politics fascinates me! I love that the course offers a bit of everything and it requires you to be good with people, and I believe I am!”
Speaking about her star keeper, Head of Sports, Lyndall Robertson said, “Keepers are special. They are hard to find! And Amanda is certainly special and is going to be irreplaceable as the core member of the team!”
Continuing, the coach stated, “At the beginning of the season she was incredibly dedicated. As a coach, we often forget the importance of a goal keeper’s role, so we don’t really pay that much attention to them during the season. Her pre-season preparation was fantastic! She has got such a bubbly personality, always on time and always encouraging of her mates. She prioritises her time right, she just gives it her all in the time that she does have.”
Coming from a sports mad family, with two older brothers, the active individual participates competitively as the shooting guard in her school’s basketball team. “I love Basketball, but hockey is my passion. I will always have time to play a bit of ball, but I certainly will continue playing hockey competitively. I hope to grow and develop my skills to the best of my abilities at varsity next year.”
Off the field, her other passion is drama and art. “I love painting. I find that I am an extremely messy but expressive artist. I adore the home-grown talent of Gcina Mhlope, her work resonates with me. I have had the honour of attending the Hilton Arts Festival on numerous occasions, and in the near future, I hope to experience first-hand, the National Arts Festival as well, and perhaps I will have the pleasure of seeing Gcina live on stage.”
The well balanced, well-spoken athlete grew from strength to strength this year, starting off with a cap for the uMgungundlovu hockey team, doing well there and then advancing to the KZN U18C team this season. With her impressive record, she was pulled up into the B side and shone.
Most recently, she captained her basketball team to a third place in the recent Val Fowler Tournament earlier this month. But for now, her sole focus is that of Matric exams.

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