Hockey to dedicate wins to Nel

By Michael Uugwanga

COACH of the Namibian indoor hockey side Erwin Handura has said that every win at the International Hockey Federation (FIH) championships set to take place next year will be dedicated to the late Namibia Hockey Union (NHU) president Marc Nel, who passed away last month due to Covid-19.
“Before we went to the pre-season tournament before the Africa Cup in Durban, the vice-president of NHU (Jolande Fourie), captain of the team Margreth Mengo and myself had a meeting with the late Nel that we are going to qualify to the World Cup with such preparations.
“Therefore we are now going to dedicate every win at the World Cup to the late Nel. He was the assistant coach to the women team at the 2011 World Cup in Poland and he was also with us at the 2018 World Cup as president, unfortunately he will not be at next year’s World Cup but he will be in our thoughts. He has done a lot for hockey in the country,” said Handura.
The 2022 FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup which comprises of men and women teams will be the sixth edition of the tournament and will be played from February 2 to 6 in Liège, Belgium.
Namibia’s women side qualified after winning the 2021 Indoor Africa Cup in Durban, South Africa that was held in April this year.
Namibia is going to compete against top indoor hockey playing nations; host Belgium, Kazakhstan, Austria, Belarus, Czech Republic, holders Germany, Netherlands, Ukraine, Belgium, Australia, New Zealand and United States.
The World Cup was originally scheduled for February this year, but was postponed due to the pandemic.
Mengo who is the captain of the team will be heading to her third successive World Cup after helping Namibia qualify for the first time in 2011 in Poland, and at the same time she is also the only remaining player from that initial squad.
Currently, the Namibia Indoor Hockey World Cup team is training in isolation following the prohibition of contact sport in the country due to high Covid-19 infections.
“We have told the players to run three times a week, gym at home due to restrictions and they have to report every week on their activities at home. What we want to do is to select a final squad three months before the World Cup and not a month like we used to do in the past. Only six players from the previous World Cup are still in the team. Our target is top six because such a finish will mean that we qualify automatically to the next World Cup,” said Handura.
At the last World Cup in Germany, Namibia ended up in ninth place, and the country is currently ranked 10th in the world.