After clinching the Indoor Africa Cup in Durban, South Africa, last month to qualify for next year’s World Cup, Namibia’s senior women’s indoor hockey team has shifted its focus to preparations for the global showpiece.
Namibia defeated South Africa 2-0 in an exhilarating final of the Indoor Africa Cup to be crowned African champions for the second time in a row.
Speaking to New Era Sport on Friday, coach Erwin Handura said the team will commence with preparations at home before they travel to Europe to play against some top teams as part of their preparation programme for the Women’s Indoor Hockey World Cup, slated for 3 to 7 February 2022 Liège, Belgium.
It was originally scheduled for February 2021 but was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We have to start with our preparations as early as now; we have a crucial competition coming up next year, which is the World Cup. We want to compete at this tournament and preparations have to begin on time,” he said at an event held at Namibia Desert Diamonds (Namdia), where the team was handed N$180 000 as bonus for winning the Indoor Africa Cup.
Handura said they are planning to travel to Europe around 7 January 2022, and are looking to playing at least three matches with European teams in order to help them get a taste of what they are likely to encounter at the World Cup.
“This will also be an opportunity for us to play in the European championship that will take place from 12-15 of that month (January).”
There are 12 teams at the World Cup, of which seven are from Europe.
On the N$150 000 bonus to the team, Handura lauded the diamond company, saying without their help, none of what they have achieved would have been attained, adding it will boost players’ morale and their confidence to play.
“It’s huge. We came to Namdia in 2019 after the outdoor Africa Cup, where we did not do well. We said to them we have an opportunity with the indoor hockey team trying to qualify, and we told them we want you guys to come on board. We presented the budget to them and they committed another N$355 000 for preparations.”