Gillies appointed women’s outdoor coach

Melissa Gillies (fourth from left) with her DTS women’s team that has won the Namibian Indoor Women’s Premier League for the past three years in a row. File photo

The Namibia Hockey Union yesterday announced the appointment of Melissa Gillies as coach of the Namibian outdoor women’s hockey team.

“Gillies, who previously led the outdoor women’s team to the Afcon Championships in January 2022, has demonstrated exceptional leadership and coaching prowess. Her strategic guidance and dedication played a crucial role in the team’s qualification for the All Africa Games in Ghana next year,” it said in a press release issued yesterday. 

“We are confident that her expertise will continue to elevate the performance of our outdoor hockey women’s team, and we eagerly anticipate the positive impact she will make,” it added. 

Gillies’ first assignment will be to prepare the national women’s outdoor team for the 2023 African Cup of Nations tournament which takes place from 29 October to 5 November in Pretoria, South Africa. 

The tournament serves as a qualifier for the 2024 Olympic Games, with only the winning nation qualifying for the Olympics. 

Gillies yesterday said she was looking forward to the challenge. 

“I’m excited and looking forward to the Afcon tournament. We have some great talent in Namibia, with experienced players and talented youngsters from the u18 and u21 squads coming through. But there’s not a lot of time, so we will start preparing next week already,” she said. 

Gillies said the competition will be very tough in Pretoria. 

“Zimbabwe and Kenya are always strong and a team like Ghana has improved a lot recently – they have appointed top international coaches, while they have recently also held training camps in England,” she said. 

South Africa, which is currently ranked 21st in the world compared to Namibia’s 50th, will however, start as strong favourites to win the tournament. 

“South Africa will be well prepared for the Afcon tournament. They recently played test matches against Chile and South Korea and they have a big and strong squad. They are working hard and I imagine they will be a slick machine once the tournament starts,” she said. 

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