Namibia’s preparations for the 2011 Indoor Hockey World Cup continued to gather momentum, after competing against top South African invitational sides in Cape Town during December.
Namibia’s men’s team competed against invitational sides consisting mainly of Western Province and Natal provincial players as well as a few current and former national players, while Namibia’s women’s team competed against invitational men’s teams consisting of provincial players.
According to the coach of Namibia’s men’s team, Randy Slabbert, they won five, drew one and lost one match, but he did not have the results of the women’s matches.
Namibia’s men lost one match 3-2 and drew another 6-6, while their victories margins were 11-2, 7-1, 3-2, 7-1 and 4-2.
According to Slabbert, the tour provided invaluable preparation for the World Cup.
“We played against strong opposition at a faster pace than what we are used to and we were very happy with our performances. We applied what we practised with our German technical advisor Wolfgang Kluth and although there were some shortcomings, we will address these. Both the men and women played seven matches in four days and we were extremely happy with their fitness levels,” he said.
“The results were not so important to us, but rather the improvement of the players and their application of the tactics that we have been working on during training,” he added.
Namibia will continue training in Windhoek before they leave for Germany on January 29 to play some matches against top German club teams. The Indoor World Cup starts in Poland on February 8.
Meanwhile, Slabbert also expressed satisfaction with the form of Siabonga Martins and DJ Strauss after they spent a month playing for top German club Rotweiss Koln. Striker Martins and goalkeeper Strauss were invited by Kluth to Rotweiss Koln, where they played numerous matches while also receiving top class coaching from some of Germany’s top players.
“DJ played for Rotweiss Koln’s second team where he was very effective, as he did not concede a single short corner goal. Sia, who played for their first team, is fit and his close ball skills have improved. They look very sharp and must have made a good impression because they have both been invited to return to the club,” he said.
The Cape Town practise matches also served as the final selection criteria for the women’s team which has now been whittled down to the final 12 for the World Cup. The two unlucky players who missed the cut were Juanne Louw and Carla van Zyl.
The women’s team is as follows:
Maureen Isaacs, Larette Smith, Madelyn Lessing, Sumari Usher, Magreth Mengo, Charlize van der Linde, Kara Scheepers, Anneline Davin, Yolande Fourie, Marcia Venter, Shayne Cormack and Jerrica Bartlett.
The men’s team is as follows:
DJ Strauss, Stanley Witbooi, Tyrone Kotze, Joseph Kashamako, Siabonga Martins, Archie Botha, Anathi Hans, Kave Tjikuniva, Wayne van der Linde, Michael van der Colf, Sedric Makati and Liam Prosser.
Namibia’s men’s team has been drawn in Group A where they will play pool matches against the world champions Germany, Poland, the Netherlands, Canada and Australia. Pool B consists of Austria, Russia, the Czech Republic, England, the United States and Iran.
Namibia’s women’s team has been drawn in Group B where they will play pool matches against Germany, Belarus, Australia, Poland and Uruguay. Pool A consists of the Netherlands, Ukraine, the Czech Republic, Austria, Argentina and Kazakhstan.