The Junior Women’s Outdoor Hockey League is now in full swing and hitting the final stretch with teams across the country battling it out for the top position with only a month left to the finals.
The outdoor league, which takes place from June to October currently has seven clubs registered that compete in the league at school level.
According to the president of the Namibia Hockey Union (NHU), Marc Nel, although the junior women are devoted to the league, the league suffers loss of players every year as some learners go for further studies after completing school.
“One of the challenges that the league faces is to keep players in the league after completion of grade 12. Lots of them either go to further their studies or commence with a working career, thus causing the league clubs ending up getting new players but the league is currently doing exceptionally well,” Nel said.
He added that the league is financially sustained with funds from sponsors, as the Namibia Sports Commission (NSC) only provided funding last year.
Despite the challenges experienced with suitable facilities, teams participating in the junior women’s hockey league compete in different towns every weekend namely, Keetmanshoop, Windhoek, Mariental, Walvis Bay, Tsumeb and Swakopmund.
Some of the major challenges experienced by NHU are developing players to the national level and expanding the league to other towns in the country The Villager understands.
With the inauguration of Namibia’s first hockey astro-turfs at Windhoek Gymnasium (WG) and Windhoek High School (WHS) last year, the country has now also become eligible to host international events. Namibian hockey has furthermore shown a growth at the domestic level.
The spokesperson of the League, Shayne Cormack explained that teams of junior players participate annually in international competitions in neighbouring South Africa.
“We have a very promising group of young girl hockey players. Namibia is very competitive in hockey. We have had huge success especially with our girls teams in SA recently at the Nationals in Cape Town PSI tournament, winning four gold medals in the A and B Section of the under-11 and under-12 Categories. Yearly we send about 27 teams to compete in South Africa between the ages of 11 to 18 of which 15 of them are girl teams,” Cormack said.
She added that last year Namibia Franchise Hawks (NFH) won the A section Franchise Team of the Year title competing against 22 other franchises in South Africa, with the Namibian junior teams performing excellently.
Currently the WOBSC, the title holders of the league are on top of the league log standings followed UNAM and SAINTS respectively.