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Handura: We can still reach quarterfinals

2023-02-07  Maurice Kambukwe

Handura: We can still reach quarterfinals

Namibia’s senior indoor women’s hockey team yesterday delivered a much-improved performance to secure a 2-2 draw against Canada in a hotly-contested clash of the ongoing International Hockey Federation (FIH) Indoor Hockey World Cup.

The Namibian ladies on Sunday lost their opening match 3-5 against Kazakhstan, which placed them under mounting pressure but thanks to a gallant display; they managed to remain in contention with a 2-all draw against a top Canadian side. 

The country’s women’s head coach Erwin Handura hailed his team’s overall performance and how they managed to regroup following Sunday’s defeat to Kazakhstan. 

With yesterday’s 2-all draw, Handura remains optimistic about their chances of reaching the quarterfinals, but insisted that they need to take their chances in front of the goal. “We had the opportunity to secure the win in the final two minutes with a penalty shot, but unfortunately, we failed to convert it. At this level, failing to convert your chances results in punishment. On Sunday [against Kazakhstan], we generated numerous opportunities but we couldn’t also convert them all,” he said

“At this level, if you don’t take advantage of your chances, you will lose crucial games. We created numerous opportunities but couldn’t convert them all and that’s an area we need to improve on going forward,” he said.

The Namibian ladies will today face Ukraine in what is expected to be another thrilling match between the two sides. They will then turn their attention to Belgium, whom they face tomorrow before taking on Czech Republic in their final group match on Thursday. 

Handura is confident that they will secure at least two wins in their remaining three matches and advance to the quarterfinals.

“I am pleased with the team’s overall performance today [yesterday], as they elevated their game and demonstrated a great deal of composure. In order to progress to the quarterfinals, we must win at least two of our remaining three matches,” added the optimistic veteran coach.

Meanwhile, the country’s men’s team yesterday suffered their second consecutive defeat at the competition after going down 2-0 against Austria. They had earlier on Sunday lost 7-1 against the Netherlands and efforts to bounce back against Austria proved futile. 

But Namibia Hockey Union (NHU) president Regan Craig expressed optimism about the men’s team’s chances of revitalising their lukewarm campaign in the coming matches, saying they have shown that they have the ability and capacity to bounce back.

“I believe the team put in great efforts today [yesterday] as they fought hard throughout the match but unfortunately, the results did not go our way. A few mistakes cost them, but I am confident that the team has the capability to turn the results around in the coming games,” Craig stated.

The Namibian men will today square off against Kazakhstan, before facing Belgium tomorrow. Their final group match is against New Zealand on Thursday.

The World Cup was originally scheduled to take place in Liege, Belgium, in February 2022, but it was cancelled due to Covid. This year’s edition will be the sixth and the first time the tournament is being held outside Europe.


2023-02-07  Maurice Kambukwe

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