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Home / Personality of the week - Zaylee’s passion for hockey knows no bounds

Personality of the week - Zaylee’s passion for hockey knows no bounds

2024-05-23  Maurice Kambukwe

Personality of the week - Zaylee’s passion for hockey knows no bounds

Career achievements  Being part of the team that represented Namibia at the previous Indoor World Cup in Pretoria, as well as currently competing in the Indoor Africa Cup qualifiers for the 2025 Indoor World Cup.


Favourite hockey player, locally or internationally? My favourite hockey player is Kiana Cormack.


Most memorable match?When we played and won the finals of the Nkosi Cup against South Africa in December 2023.


Biggest disappointment?It was at the previous Indoor World Cup when we had the opportunity to place in the top eight, but we unfortunately did not make it, resulting in a lower ranking instead.


The biggest influence on your career? That would be my teammates. We have become family, forming a great bond, and supporting one another both on and off the field.


If not hockey, which other sport would you have played? I would have played tennis.


Describe Namibian hockey in three words.  Resilient, inspiring and passionate.


Could you share with us how you first got involved in hockey, and what inspired you to pursue it as a career? When I was seven years old, a friend encouraged me to pick up an indoor stick for the first time. She introduced me to their amazing hockey programme, and I have loved it ever since. Additionally, Shayne Cormack inspired me to explore my passion for the game and has been with me on my journey ever since, supporting me up to where we are now.

Did you have any siblings who played hockey in your family? My mom played hockey in high school, and my two older sisters did as well. However, right now, it is just my brother and I who still play hockey competitively.


What are some of the significant challenges you have faced while navigating your hockey career, and how have you overcome them? It was after my first Indoor World Cup in 2023, when we had an extended break without training, which made it difficult to stay motivated for the next event. I overcame this by getting involved in the K5 coaching programme, and learning from a coach’s perspective. Trevor Cormack and Shayne Cormack taught me so much during this time.


How instrumental are your parents in your hockey career? My parents have always supported my hockey journey. From a young age, they attended my hockey tours, even though it was financially challenging. They have consistently shown great love and dedication. After a win, they would congratulate me, and even on tough days, they would provide love and comfort. My dear parents play a massive role in my character building and holding me accountable countless times.


Can you tell us about the preparation process for the Indoor Hockey World Cup qualifiers? What has training been like, and how have you and your team been getting ready for this competition?

We had a few tournaments prior to the Indoor World Cup qualifiers. In November 2023, we travelled to Malaysia with only one month to prepare. Then, in December, we competed in the Nkosi Cup in Cape Town, where we won gold. These experiences are invaluable, and we learned a great deal from them. With four months left before the qualifiers, we engaged in training camps, team-building activities, and fitness sessions. Our focus was on continuous improvement and growth, and we dedicated ourselves to intense training to reach our current level.


What are some of your routines leading up to such an important competition? How do you ensure you are physically and mentally prepared? Our team has undergone significant growth over the past several months. Training and fitness sessions were often challenging, but we consistently encouraged and motivated each other, keeping our end-goal in sight. The unity between the men and women in our team has made this process truly memorable.


As you head into the
qualifiers today, how confident are you in the abilities of your team, and what strengths do you believe you bring to the table? 

With the qualifiers starting today, I have full confidence in our team’s ability, passion, and resilience to make it into the final. After all the hours of hard work we’ve dedicated, we’re ready to come together this weekend and give it our all. Becoming African champions once again would be an incredible achievement.


How would you describe the camaraderie and dynamics within your team? What are your thoughts on your teammates’ readiness and their roles in the qualifiers?

We are a family. We all support each other, show great love, and hold one another accountable on and off the court. We have grown so close during the past several months, and have learnt so much about each other. We all bring our own unique abilities, talents and values to the team, which contribute to the team’s success at the end of the day. With that, I can truly say our team is ready and excited for the Indoor Africa Cup to start.

2024-05-23  Maurice Kambukwe

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