Home turf adds to Namibia’s confidence

Liam Hermanus in action for Namibia against Austria. File photo

Namibia stand a great chance of qualifying for the 2025 Indoor Hockey World Cup when they host the continental qualifier, the Africa Indoor Cup, at the MTC Dome at Swakopmund from 23 to 26 May.

Home ground advantage will count in their favour, but besides that their task has been made easier by the fact that Africa have been granted two qualifying slots for the world cup for the first time – up from one slot for previous editions.

This is due to Africa’s unprecedented success at the 2023 Indoor World Cup in Pretoria, where South Africa finished sixth and Namibia eighth in the men’s competition, while South Africa came fourth and Namibia 12th in the women’s competition.

By finishing in the top eight of both the men’s and women’s competitions, Africa have now been granted two slots for next year’s Indoor World Cup, which will be held in Croatia from 3 to 9 February.

With only four countries having confirmed their participation – Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana – Namibia now have a great chance of qualifying, and Reagon Graig, the president of the Namibia Hockey Union, yesterday said he was confident they would make it.

“I’m very confident that we will qualify for the 2025 Indoor Hockey World Cup, based on our recent performances at top international events, where our teams were extremely competitive.

“South Africa will probably provide our strongest competition. No disrespect to the rest, but both our men and women showed that we can beat them, so I’m extremely excited, but it will be tough,” he said.

“I consider us to be the favourites if you look at our recent results against South Africa, but we must remain humble, and I also have a lot of confidence in our coaches, Trevor Cormack and Shayne Cormack,” he said.

Graig said the invitation came out of the blue, but he immediately accepted, because it cut out long trips and extra expenses, while the home ground support would be invaluable.

“I’ve built up strong relations with the International Hockey Federation (FIH) and African hockey leadership, and they’ve asked Namibia to play a more active role in African hockey development.

“I attended an African hockey federation meeting in Malawi last year, and was also invited to an FIH summit in Oman in January. They treated me very well, and everyone knew about Namibia, following our success at the 2023 world cup,” he said.

“I lobbied strongly to host the Africa cup, and our excom member, Ingrid Hermanus’ submission to the FIH also played a role, so I think that’s why we got the nod,” he said.

Graig appealed to corporates and hockey benefactors to assist with funding for the event.

“When I got the confirmation from the FIH, I still had to get the blessing of our government and the Namibia Sports Commission, so it was only recently announced.

“There is little time left, and we are desperately looking for funding, so if anyone could assist, we would appreciate it.”

Namibia’s men’s and women’s teams were recently announced as follows:

Men: DJ Strauss (captain), Ernest Jacobs (vice captain), Roben Kambinda, Cody van der Merwe, Dakota Hansen, JP Britz, Liam Hermanus, David Britz, Nico Neethling, Owen Hatton, Fagan Hansen and Brynn Cleak. The non-travelling reserves are Matu Kavikairiua, Dylan Finch, Percy Barthram and Delron Handura.

Trevor Cormack is the coach, Renier van Rooyen the video analyst, and Mary Hansen the team manager.

Women: Gillian Hermanus (captain), Petro Stoffberg, Jaimie Henckert, Sunelle Ludwig, Kiana Cormack, Azaylee Philander, Jivanka Kruger, Jerrica Bartlett, Amber Dercksen, Jahntwa Kruger, Kyla Landsberg and Danja Meyer.

The non-travelling reserves are Anri Els, Chene de Wet, Mia Karstens and Annica Higgs.

Shayne Cormack is the coach, Maryke Short the video analyst, and Shaheed Abrahams the team manager.

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