Former Ajax Cape Town attacker Rowan Hendricks completed his return to Ikamva at the start of the year, as the new head coach of the club’s U16 youth team.
Hendricks, who enjoyed a stellar playing career both in South Africa and abroad, now hopes to reach even greater heights as a coach, mentor and father figure to the club’s up and coming stars.
“It is great to be back, it is not ‘scary’ to come back to a club where you previously played – it is more an honour for me,” Hendricks said. “There is more responsibility, most of which I place on myself because I’d like to see the club develop players that are going to be filtered into the PSL Team for years to come.
“I don’t take my job lightly at all because I know my responsibilities and what I am able to teach and give back to the club, having played here and in Europe.
Hendricks continued: “When you start off on your professional career you always want to reach a certain milestone and I think during my playing career I accomplished what I wanted to. Not everyone can say the same. Not everyone will have what the public will deem a successful playing career.
“I never judged myself in that way, I set myself goals and dreams and achieved all of them. Having retired at the age of 32, I don’t have any regrets. I played abroad, played for the national team and achieved other personal goals.
Hendricks first started thinking of going into coaching while still playing for the Urban Warriors and uses the knowledge gained from several coaches – including those at the top clubs across Europe – to his and the players he coaches benefit.
“While I was playing at Ajax Cape Town, coach Rob McDonald was here. I enjoyed his man management skills and I enjoyed the way he handled the team. That is where coaching started to intrigue me.
“I also picked up things in Germany and Russia and as I continue my journey in coaching I rekindle these memories. That is how I am trying to build on my coaching career, by taking everything I’ve learned over the years from all the different coaches I played under.
Hendricks goal after 12 seconds in the club’s 2-0 Coca Cola Cup win over Orlando Pirates at Newlands Stadium in 2001 will forever be remembered by all the Urban Warriors faithful, and the man himself remembers the ball flying past Thabang Radebe like it was just the other day.
“It is special that people still remember it. It is nice that people remember it. But, like we teach the boys here at the club: it is not only what you do on the field but also off it, it is about how you act and behave as a professional.
“I remember the goal like it was just yesterday…I grew up with those boys. I grew up with Dillon Sheppard , Shaun Potgieter, Brett Evans, Dominic Isaacs. Us being in a team together at Ajax Cape Town, it was like I was playing with my brothers. We understood each other brilliantly – we lived on and off the field together.
“People will probably still argue that it was a cross…but I know that with the technique I used, the wind was also blowing that way, knowing that the goalkeeper would come of his line – I hit it with the outside of my boot and lucky for me it curled into the back of the net,” Hendricks concluded.
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