Namibia’s all female national hockey team brought a dusty defeat on erstwhile South African rivals to land into the World Cup to be held next year in Berlin, and chances are the world rankings will considerably improve, says coach Erwin Handura.
The visibly enthralled Handura, speaking to The Villager Sport soon after the glorious triumph against South Africa and Zimbabwe, said Namibia will now enter the arena of the upcoming indoors world hockey championship as one of the best top 12 teams.
“Before the World Cup Qualiﬁers we were ranked 14th in the world, I think in a month’s time the ranking will change, we could be ranked somewhere between number 12 or 11 in the world. Going to the World Cup already we will be in the world’s top 12,” said the upbeat coach.
Some of the ﬁ nest hockey titans set to enter the arena in the German city of Berlin comprises Poland, Belgium and Austria and Handura said it will be a clash of giants. Safely and equally positioned among the hockey greats is a feat which Handura has taken with both a tincture of excitement and a dash of utmost seriousness as this will place his girls at the frontline of the hit-list with more expected from him this time than ever before.
“It is going to be tough, it means we have to prepare better,” he told The Villager Sport.
Namibia inﬂicted a sound defeat on Uruguay in a memorable match still celebrated and lingering in the coach’s mind and his eyes are set on how best he can improve on that and have the girls sail through to a wholly new level. “We won one game against Uruguay in the 2011 World Cup; this time around we want to improve on that. We are six teams in the pool and the top two teams will go to the ﬁnals. We must have seven months to prepare for that,” he said.
Yet the newly coroneted African champions have to face the tempest of grueling friendly matches as part of this blast furnace ahead of Berlin and talks are underway to have the Zimbabweans ﬂ y back to drill and grill the girls. “We will have various international games, we have various training camps, we will play Zimbabwe who will come here. We will still play South Africa and we are planning for big friendly games. The Players have to start preparing themselves, because December and January they will not be off,” he afﬁrmed.
Handura is aware of the European giants, German and Holland, the latter which comes in to defend its title and both of them will be in different pools, one of which the Namibians will be. “What I can tell you and what will happen is German will be in one pool and Holland in another pool. So I can tell you we will be in a pool against either German or Holland,” he said. The teams that have qualiﬁed so far are German, Namibia as African Champions, and Kazakhstan as Asian Champions while all the other continents are yet to qualify.
When contacted by The Villager Sport after the glory of Swakopmund which turned out to be one of the most tension-bound moments in the history of Namibian hockey, Captain Maggie Mengo was still gripped in the spell of wonder and disbelief.
“I am so proud of my team. Beyond proud,” was all the player of the tournament could say and prior to the World Cup Qualiﬁers she had conﬁrmed with this publication that her squad was the best ever. Meanwhile the Germans have raised green ﬂags as far as their preparedness for the World Cup is concerned.
“Hosting the Hockey Indoor World Cup represents another milestone for hockey in Berlin. It is also a great appreciation for Berlin’s hosting qualities as Germany’s sporting capital. We are looking forward to welcoming the world’s best indoor hockey teams and will make the Indoor Hockey World Cup 2018 an unforgettable experience,” Andreas Geisel, Berlin’s Senator for the Interior and for Sport commented in the media.