Dabeon Draghoender. Picture credit: Reg Caldecott

PRETORIA – The University of Pretoria-Tuks new rugby coach Dabeon Draghoender says passion is the only way to succeed in your chosen sport. 

From the very first moment this 31-year-old touched the ball he fell in love with the rugby and he instantly knew he wanted to leave his mark on the game. 

Draghoender represented the Griffons for three years at the Craven Week for High Schools and then went on to play inside centre for the South African Under-19 team. 

Western Province contracted him to play for their Vodacom Cup team and he was also part of the Maties team that won the Varsity Cup in 2009 and 2010. 

Unfortunately for Draghoender, his body could not keep up with his talent which led to him spending more time in the company of doctors and physiotherapists than he would have liked. 

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At 26 he realised that he was never going to fulfil his dreams as a player, but it did not mean that his passion for rugby diminished.

“My real goal was always to coach as it offers me the constant challenge to improve myself as a person as well as to have a positive impact on the lives of other people. As a coach, you can never sit back and think now I know it all and you have to have passion. 

“That is why I am continually doing introspection not only to what is happening in my personal life but also as a coach. You have to evaluate constantly what you are doing and be honest enough to admit when you have erred.

“It is also important to realise that no two players are the same. The challenge is to try and find out what makes every player ‘tick’. Only then you can start working on gelling them as a team.”

Tuks Young Guns coach Dabeon Draghoender. Photo: TuksSport on facebook
Tuks Young Guns coach Dabeon Draghoender. Photo: TuksSport on facebook

Draghoender is a firm believer in that players should take responsibility on and off the field. 

“When a player makes a mistake I don’t believe in penalising them as it serves no purpose. I would take time off to explain on an individual basis as to what I expect of them. 

“Then it is up to the player himself to what he makes with what he has been taught. As they say, you can take a horse to the water, but you cannot make him drink. 

“It is also important to me not to coach players to stick to a fixed game plan. During a match, they have to be able to think for themselves.”

Draghoender will be assisted by Andries Kruger. The two of them seemed to have mastered the art of getting players to lift the standard of their game for when it really matters. 

Last year they coached UP-Tuks to title honours in the Varsity Sevens Tournament. 

UP-Tuks have got a proud tradition in the Young Guns Competition having won it on four occasions and losing twice in the final.

Their first game is on February 4 at home against Central University of Technology. 

African News Agency (ANA)

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