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Local boy seeks to inspire

Alfredo Barends (31) hopes to keep growing in the world of rugby as a skilled coach seeking to improve and nourish both the talent and personalities of his players.

He currently resides in Diazville and teaches at Louwville High School.

Previously Weslander reported on Barends’ meteoric rise from a rugby player at Diazville high school.

It is where he coached as well, to more recently leading his teams to victories overseas, in Samoa, New Zealand and Hong Kong.

He coached the men’s and women’s team in China, and managed to achieve an undefeated run with both teams in 2017 and 2018.

This year, Barends made history as head coach of the first-ever West Coast team that participated in the Western Province Super League competition on Saturday 6 April.

“We’ll be taking two teams to Malaysia from Tuesday 5 November to Thursday 7 November, and will travel to Namibia in March next year,” he said.

He’s currently the conditioning coach at Vredenburg Rugby Club as well.

Barends recalls that he prepared to venture into this next chapter from a player to a coach in his 20s.

“I had this vision when I was 22 years old because I knew coaching would keep me a part of the game, and I thought it would be wise to learn from a young age,” he said.

Barends adds that staying a student of the game along with the knowledge he gained from various coaches from different countries, has helped shape him over the years.

When asked what he hopes to achieve with his players, the coach said: “I hope to create a platform for our local talent to gain exposure especially on a higher level. I also want them to grow to become ambassadors of the West Coast and become better human beings and role models for the community”.

He has some sage words for the youth: “Discover your gift, nurture it and you’ll excel. I never thought a boytjie from Saldanha could become China’s national coach.”

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