The Namibian men and women’s hockey teams left for South Africa for an intensive training ahead of the June 23-25 World Cup Qualiﬁers coming to Swakopmund this June.
Speaking to this publication the night before the tour, Women’s Hockey Team Coach Erwin Handura conﬁ rmed that preparations for the Indoor Africa Cup of Nations commenced in February which culminated in an intensive Easter training camp.
Handura said, “We will be in South Africa in a remote area where we do not have problems with having to drive players around and where after training some players have to be rushed somewhere. Both teams are preparing, the men and women’s teams. South Africa and Zimbabwe are also preparing.” The Indoor World Cup Qualiﬁ er will see the winning teams gracing Berlin in Germany for the highly anticipated Indoor World Cup to be held in the ﬁ rst week of February this coming year.
“In the women’s team we have a very good chance of winning, I am speaking on behalf of my team, I cannot speak on behalf of the other team, that is why we have to now go away and prepare very well,” he also said. Speaking to The Villager Sport via the phone a few hours before takeoff, Assistant Coach Luke Pennfeather conﬁ rmed that the teams will be camped in Witbank and will have the chance to enter into friendly matches with selected teams around the area.
“We are going to a place in Witbank; it’s called the Hockey Farm. It is a facility where teams can go and train, either indoor or outdoor since they have both facilities. A lot of teams go there for camping. We have training sessions and games scheduled on Thursday Friday, Saturday and Sunday and then we return on Sunday evening,” he said.
Mpumalanga Mambas among other provincial players will engage both the Namibian women and Namibia’s 18 and under 21 boys. “We have asked the facility to get teams for us, one of them based in that area is Mpumalanga Mambas. They will not be strictly provincial teams as such but more of those that are just invited,” he said.
The women’s team has played South Africa already last November losing three games and winning two but Pen nfeather said the chances of qualifying remains great. “I am not involved with the men, but I know the men’s team is also coming from a very successful training camp in Durban a few weeks ago,” he said.
Women’s Indoor Hockey national team captain Maggy Mango’s phone was not reachable and could thus mot give a comment. The Women’s team entered the World Cup in 2011 but failed to qualify for the 2015 Cup losing to South Africa while this will be the third round the team will be ﬁghting to qualify. Namibia further narrowly missed out on the 2013 Under 21 Hockey World Cup when they lost 1-0 against the Ghanaians in Johannesburg ﬁ nishing on third position right behind the South Africans.