As she lives out her dream job, Madibaz Sport manager Melinda Goosen will be aiming to impart her knowledge to the University Sport South Africa squad when she attends the World Student Games this week.
Sports-mad for as long as she can remember, Goosen will be part of the USSA management group, specifically taking charge of the swimmers for the event, which starts in Chinese Taipei on Friday.
Having excelled as a field athlete and at netball during her career, she is now in charge of aquatics and netball at Nelson Mandela University and feels she has the perfect job.
“I think to be able to live your passion every day through your job is a privilege,” said Goosen. “I love working with people and I love sport.”
Having first travelled to Shenzen, China, in 2011, it will be her fourth trip as part of the USSA delegation and Goosen said her job was to take the worry out of the system for the swimmers.
“I need to make sure all the logistics are in place for the team and the swimmers before, during and after the tour,” she said. “Their main focus is on swimming and the rest is for me.”
Madibaz swimmers Alard and Alaric Basson are also in the USSA squad and Goosen said they were all looking forward to “an amazing event”.
“It is the second biggest multi-coded sport event in the world after the Olympics. It is a fantastic showcase of talent and you get to see some of the best in the world in action.”
Goosen, who attended Charlo Primary and DF Malherbe High, said her passion for sport came from her “sports-crazed family”.
Not limiting herself to anything in particular, she did athletics and cross country, played netball, tennis and even cricket for her primary school’s U13A boys’ side.
“I literally did as many sports as I could and also won a national U13 multi-skill and fitness competition.”
She said she cut back on her schedule in high school, giving up tennis and cross country to fit in her major sports of athletics and netball.
Goosen achieved provincial colours in both and was picked as a javelin thrower for the 1996 SA Schools athletics team who toured to Germany.
“My sporting career was unfortunately cut short due to a big hip operation in 1998 when I was at varsity. That meant I had to hang up my spikes, although I continued with netball, playing for the EP A and B teams from 2001 to 2004.”
Now, she said, she enjoyed the odd round of golf and loved watching all other sports.
Her talents as an administrator were quickly recognised as a young student and she became an assistant to the netball manager in 1998.
She was involved with Madibaz Sport in a variety of roles before being appointed as a manager in 2010.
“You need to have a passion for sport, to love people and to know the basic principles of management,” said Goosen. “You can apply this to any code and be successful.
“You also need to ensure that you build support systems throughout and are always prepared to learn more.”
While there have been many successes under her watch, Goosen said the most satisfying aspect of her job was “to make a difference”.
“It is the road you walk with a student from their first to final year and being part of their growth from a school pupil to a young man or woman.
“Being able to contribute in a positive way in a student’s life is the ultimate satisfaction for me.”