Following a brilliant performance of both the national under-14 and 15 hockey players in South Africa last week, the Namibia Schools Sports Union (NSSU)’s national director, Solly Duiker now says he is very optimistic of hockey’s future in the country.
Duiker told The Villager Sports that Namibian hockey, especially at the primary and secondary schools levels, is headed in the right direction and that soon, the national teams will be powerful forces to be reckoned with at regional and continental levels.
“I am very impressed with the good showing by our under-14 national hockey side that last week did very well at the Boland Hockey Championships held in Stellenbosch, South Africa,” says Duiker adding that out of the eight matches the young girls had played, they won four, drew two and lost only two in the pool section.
“Our under-15 national hockey team also did pretty well in Cape Town where they ended second overall, which is indicative of a promising future for hockey in a not too distant future,” he says.
According to him, that alone is a clear indication of the progress being made at primary and secondary schools’ level.
On equal representation of the players to avoid a situation where a national team is only represented by a certain section of the country, Duiker said both the under-16 and 18 national teams are fairly mixed across the racial lines but admitted that that isn’t the case for the under-14 teams.
Primary schools in the previously disadvantaged communities do not have sports facilities and that make it difficult for them to send learners to the national trials, laments Duiker but hopes for the situation to be addressed soon so that learners can have equal access to opportunities and treatment to avoid a situation where some learners cannot attend national trials because of lack of facilities at their respective schools.
It is commendable that national under-18 hockey teams; both female and male have been the current champions for the past three years and more resources need to be invested in them, urges the sports guru.
The national under-16 boys’ team will soon travel to Cape Town, South Africa where they will compete in the South Hockey Championships while the girls will compete in the Free State Hockey Championships slated for Bloemfontein next week.