Namibia’s men off to strong start

Ernest Jacobs in action for Namibia against New Zealand at the 2023 Indoor World Cup. File photo

Namibia’s indoor hockey men’s team got off to a great start at the Sultan Nazrin Shah Cup in Ipoh, Malaysia, while the women made a fine comeback after an opening defeat. 

Namibia’s men got off to a winning start, with two victories against New Zealand (3-2) and Malaysia (7-5) on Monday. 

In their opening match against New Zealand they made a fine comeback after trailing 2-0 in the third quarter. 

JP Britz opened Namibia’s account with a short corner goal, while Delron Handura put Namibia level with another short corner goal in the fourth quarter. 

Kavikairiua Matu sealed a fine comeback with a field goal four minutes from time to complete a 3-2 victory. 

Later on Monday, Namibia produced another sterling comeback to beat Malaysia 7-5. 

Namibia held a 2-1 lead at halftime after goals by Dylan Finch and JP Britz, but the momentum swung Malaysia’s way as they took a 4-2 lead.

Fagan Hansen, however, reduced the deficit to 4-3 with a short corner goal, while Namibia scored four more goals in the final quarter to seal a 7-5 victory. 

Hansen, Finch and Cody van der Merwe scored a brace each, and Britz one goal for Namibia. 

Those victories put Namibia on top of the log with South Africa, who posted two impressive victories against New Zealand (6-1) and Honk Kong China (19-0). 

In other results, Australia beat Hong Kong China 24-2, but then lost 8-2 to Malaysia.

South Africa is the top-ranked team at the tournament, with a world ranking of sixth, while Australia is ranked ninth, Namibia 10th, New Zealand 21st and Malaysia 38th. 

In matches today, Namibia take on Hong Kong China at 03h30 Namibian time, before taking on South Africa in a top-of-the-log clash at 10h00. 

In the women’s competition, Namibia made a winning comeback against Malaysia yesterday, after losing their opening match 5-1 to Switzerland on Monday.

Against Malaysia, goals by Sunelle Ludwig and Azaylee Philander put Namibia 2-0 ahead by halftime, while Philander completed her hattrick with two more goals in two minutes to seal a 4-1 victory. 

In their opening match on Tuesday, Namibia lost 5-1 to Switzerland after trailing 2-0 at halftime. 

Switzerland stretched their lead to 5-0, before Philander got a consolation goal in the final quarter.

In other women’s matches, South Africa notched up two victories against New Zealand (8-0) and Malaysia (3-2) to go to the top of the log, where they are joined by Switzerland, who also beat Australia 6-4. 

In another result, Australia beat New Zealand 5-0.

South Africa is the top-ranked competing team with a world ranking of sixth, followed by Australia (9th), Namibia (10th), Switzerland (15th), New Zealand (21st) and Malaysia (38th). 

Namibia’s women only arrived in Ipoh on Sunday after competing at the Africa Olympic Games outdoor hockey qualifier where they finished fifth after beating Zambia 3-0 on Saturday, with Jahntwa Kruger scoring a brace and Charlize Rix one goal.

South Africa, meanwhile, beat Nigeria 9-0 in the final to book their ticket to the Paris Olympics, while Kenya beat Ghana 3-1 in the third-place play-off.

South Africa’s men also qualified for the Olympics after beating Egypt 2-1 in the final, while Ghana beat Uganda 7-1 in the third-place play-off. 

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