He is a star, having scored the highest number of goals in the last World Cup and notching up the first hattrick of this edition on Monday. But despite being a celebrity, Taeke Taekema earns his livelihood managing stars from other disciplines.
Taekema (30) works for a sports management company that manages star footballers, but the veteran drag flicker is not envious of his clients.
“Football is a sport played by millions while hockey has a restricted following. You can’t compare hockey with soccer,” said Taekema.
Though the Dutchman is not raking in moolah like the footballers, he is one of the few hockey players who endorse international brands. Volkswagen and Rabobank have him on board and the dreaded drag flicker also has a signature hockey stick --- TT 10 by Adidas.
Taekema’s first love was football, but it was due to his elder brother and sister, who played club hockey, that he made the switch. “Till the age of nine, I used to play football, but as my brother and sister were into hockey, I opted for it and rest is the history,” said Taekema.
The Dutchman, who has been wielding the stick with dexterity for the last 15 years and has 199 goals to his credit, is a strong advocate of team spirit. “According to me, there is no individual goal in hockey. What matters is whether your team is winning or not,” said Taekema, who will be tying the knot this summer.
Talking about the World Cup, he said, “Last time, we lost our opening match to South Korea, but this time we’ve begun well and hope the momentum will continue.”
Asked about life after hockey, he smiled, “There’s a lot of hockey left in me, so right now I am focussed on my game. But whenever I retire, the future will be with the management firm. Hockey is my passion, but it’s difficult to make a good living out of it after retirement.”