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S African plays hockey, cricket at internat'l level Derek Fattal (from the Jerusalem Post) In an era in which few Jews have achieved real success in sports, South African star Mandy Yachad is a stunning exception. The master of two sports, Yachad has represented his nation at full international level in both hockey and cricket. At the same time, he has pursued a career in commercial law and is a father of two girls and a boy. Here for his third Maccabiah, 32-year-old Yachad cap- tained the South African field hockey side in its quest for gold. But his side had to be content with silver following a tight penalty shoot-out decider in the final against Holland on Tuesday. He also fulfilled a schoolboy dream of his last year when he opened the batting for the South Africa's national cricket team during a tour of India. The historic mini- series affirmed the country's acceptance back into the international sporting arena. Yachad has 14 seasons of cricket experience at provin- cial level with Transvaal and Northern Transvaal. Although he is not playing in the forthcoming test series in Sri Lanka, he is hoping to be selected for the Springbok's tour of Australia at the end of the year. This ultimate test of nerve would match him against some of the world's fastest bowlers. In field hockey Mandy has notched up 21 international test appearances. He has also represented South Africa at national level in indoor hockey - so technically he is a triple Springbok. Despite his individual success, the affable Yachad is a team man. His hockey performances in the Maccabiah are a study in concentration. Playing at the back as sweeper, Mandy exhorts the best from each player, driving his team forward, encouraging men to find open field positions to receive his inch-perfect passes. In seconds he sprints the length of the field to join the attack, gracefully feinting past opponents, and laying off the ball for his colleagues to score. Despite his near-celebrity status back home, Mandy argues that he is far from special and points to the achievements of other South African Jewish sportsmen, such as provincial players Terence Lazard and Joel Stranksy, and national swimmer Nolan Schiffrin. Mandy regards sports-crazy South Africa as home. "I am patriotic and believe and pray that there will be a decent solution to our country's problems." Nevertheless, he is mindful of the need to look to the future security of his wife and children. While the thought of emigration is not uppermost in his mind, Yachad accepts that difficult decisions in South Africa may have to be made in the absence of a political solution. "I love Israel and see the strides the country has made each time I come here. If we have to move, it has to be Israel." Judaism plays a big part in Yachad's life. "I have never hidden the fact that I am Jewish, and I am as obser- vant as I can be subject to my sporting commitments." Having received so much from sports, Yachad is keen to give back as much as he can. He is active in the revived in Johannesburg's Balfour Guild Club, a Jewish sporting asso- ciation which once again has a pride of place in the city's Jewish community. Yachad also spends time coaching at Jewish schools, helping to propagate a new generation of sports stars. While Yachad is not quick to force sports on his own children, he notes his two-and-a-half-year-old son is al- ready crazy about ball games. "If they want to play I'll give them all the encouragement I can." Asked what national colors he foresees his offspring competing in, Yachad, with a sparkle in his eye, neatly deflects the question, "Let's just say if they want to appear for Israel at international level, they'd be better mastering a sport other than cricket or hockey." Photo and Caption: Double trouble - Mandy Yachad is equally at home with hockey stick and cricket bat Credit
Thanks to Vicky (VIGNESWA@ecs.umass.edu)
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