Rottcher, Coetzee join Cittadella in Italy

• By Michael Uugwanga

TWO of the country’s top ice and inline hockey players Amandus Rottcher and Christian Coetzee have joined major Italian outfit Cittadella in the Serie A league, on a one-year contract with an option of a further year depending on their performances.

This was confirmed by the two players in an interview with Confidente this week, with the players saying that they are excited to have signed professional contracts.

Rottcher (19) plays in the defence position and played for Coastal Pirates in Swakopmund and has been a member of the senior team since 2017.

Like Rottcher, Coetzee also played for Coastal Pirates but before that he turned out for Scorpions Club, where he made his breakthrough.

Coetzee (18) plays offence.

As part of their contract, accommodation is paid for by the club and the two share a house. They arrived in Italy on January 1.

The players are earning a reported salary of 500 Euros (around N$8 500) a month plus performance bonuses.

“Signing as a professional is surreal, it’s a dream come true for both of us. This was our childhood dream and the fact that it became reality is super exciting, all the years of dedication and commitment were worth it.

“We got our contracts through international exposure. We have represented team Namibia at the world championships for many years now, and recently got scouted by Italian coaches which then led us to signing a contract with Cittadella Hockey.

“The coach already offered us extensions on our contracts after seeing us play and it is up to us to decide how long we want to play for,” said Rottcher.

He started playing the sport in 2008 and said that it has been always his dream to play professionally.

Coetzee on the other hand said that they are happy to have opened up doors for other Namibians to play professional ice and inline hockey in Italy.

He said they also want to help the team achieve greater heights in a league that consists of 10 teams

“When I was small I always thought about playing professional. I really love the sport and have trained hard to get here. I am proud and excited, because I have finally made it.

“We are making history for Namibian hockey by being the first Namibians to play professionally in Italy. We are currently get paid 500 Euro a month, but that can increase if our performance is good,” said Coetzee.

Cittadella is located in Veneto region, which has a population of about five million, ranking fourth in Italy and the region’s capital is Venice while the biggest city is Verona.