Namibian Hawks dominate PSI hockey tournamentBy: HELGE SCHUTZ
THE Namibian Hawks dominated an international Pro Series Indoor (PSI) Hockey tournament in Walvis Bay over the weekend, winning all six the categories that were contested.
The Namibian Eagles and the Namibian Hawks competed against the visiting Gauteng Griffons side from South Africa in Under-13, Under-15 and Under-18 categories for boys and girls.
The tournament was organised by Trevor and Shayne Cormack and Bucko Bartlett of Namibia Sport Dynamics, who hold the PSI franchise for Namibia, and saw about 180 children competing at the Walvis Bay Indoor Sport Complex from Thursday to Sunday.
The Gauteng Griffons are one of the strongest teams on the South African PSI circuit and last year came second overall at the annual PSI Africa Championships in Cape Town.
According to their team leader, Allistair Fredericks, they did not send their strongest team to Namibia but used the opportunity to give some fringe players a chance to compete. They still fielded a strong team, though, with the Under-18 boys’ team including one A and one B national player.
But they did not make much of an impression against the Namibian A team, the Hawks, who won all six categories.
The Hawks were particularly strong in the Under-13 age group, as they beat the Griffons 7-0 in the boys’ final and 6-2 in the girls’ final.
In the Under-15 category, the Hawks and the Namibian B team, the Eagles, made it through to both the boys’ and girls’ finals.
In the boys’ final, the Hawks beat the Eagles 6-0, and in the girls’ final, the Hawks beat the Eagles 3-2.
In the Under-18 category, the Hawks beat the Griffons 5-1 in the girls’ final, but the boys’ final was a much closer affair.
The teams were tied at 1-1 at the end of full time and the match had to be decided on penalties. The Hawks’ goalkeeper Handre Bezuidenhout brought off some stunning saves as the Hawks won the shootout 2-1 to take the title. “The standard of our hockey is fantastic. The Griffons are one of the strongest teams in South Africa and especially their Under-18 boys’ team was very strong, so to beat them was a great achievement.”
Last year the Griffons came second overall at the PSI African Championships and they will once again be one of the favourites for this year’s event which takes place in Durban in December.
Cormack said she hoped that Namibia could cause a few upsets at the tournament.