While most Namibians were looking forward to a long weekend and days of fun and relaxation with family and friends, Namibiaâ??s national inline hockey squad thronged to Swakopmund, not for a jolly sojourn in this popular holiday resort, but to congregate at the SFC Sports Club to embark on an adventure of a different kind.
The IIHF Inline Hockey World Championships is but a breath away (8 â?? 16 July) and head coach, Phil Boudreault, assistant coach, Mario Troha and team manager, Ulrike Rodenwoldt still had plenty of Easter surprises for the squad up their sleeves.
Beep-tests, strenuous endurance tests, skill exercises and mental preparation were compacted into Philâ??s Easter weekend extravaganza. Instead of gorging on easter bunnies, sweat coated pores and hard work replaced glimpses of beaches filled with holiday revellers.
The SFC Hall was a battlefield of physicality, determination, dedication and the dreams of young men united in their desire to do their country proud in Budapest, Hungary.
With the departure for the World Championships looming at the end of June, every member of the squad was only too aware of the fact that only maximum commitment would secure them a place on the final team. In fact, according to Phil, commitment and hard work, are two key words of his rigorous preparatory training programme, a fact the faint-hearted soon realised: international inline hockey in the menâ??s division is not a game for sissies.
Hard work rewarded
A healthy sports ethic, teamwork and sportsmanship, too, helped separate the men from the boys. So while the rest of the population settled down to attack the Easter roast, Riyaan Ely (captain), Marco Debortoli (assistant captain), Timo Giersch (assistant captain), Bastian Faber, Arne Rodenwoldt, Vincent van Biljon, JÃ¶rg GÃ¼ther, Harald Keil, Francois Jacobs, Erik Rodenwoldt (goalie), Rene Werner (goalie), Robert Roxin, Cello Baas, Oliver Lohmeier, Zaid Ely and Alex Courtney-Clarke sated themselves on the knowledge that each one of them had slain the proverbial dragon and made it to the top.
Phil was right: hard work and commitment reap just rewards: a place on the Namibian Team.