Namibia bows out of W/Cup with heads held high …Germany dethrones Netherlands in final
Carlos Kambaekwa Windhoek-The Namibian senior women’s hockey team went into the Federation of International Hockey (FIH) Indoor Hockey World Cup in Germany’s capital Berlin as Africa’s sole representatives, carrying the underdogs’ tag. Yet the Namibian amateurs surprised friend and foe when they dispatched the much-fancied Unites States of America (USA) in an electrifying match, which saw them beat them 1-0 on penalty shootouts after a 5-all draw. Going into the global showpiece perched at lowly 74th place in the world rankings, nobody including local sports pundits ever gave the Namibians the slightest of chances to stamp their authority in the competition – let alone beat opponents ranked much higher than the tournament’s debutants. However, Erwin Handura’s charges were in mean mood and were just unfortunate to miss out on a quarterfinal berth after displaying exciting hockey that propelled the continent’s sole representatives to cheese off points from global powerhouses pre-tournament favourites Australia and USA, in the group stages of the weeklong tourney. In their penultimate clash against the United States, the charged-up Namibians came back from the jaws of death to stun the Americans in the final match in the group stages, forcing their more fancied opponents to a 10-goal draw – leaving the contest to be decided on the dreaded penalty shootout which Namibia won 1-0. In their fourth match, Namibia’s Kiana Cormack and Gillian Hermanus were very instrumental in Namibia’s astonishing hard fought 3-2 win over Ukraine in a closely contested encounter on Thursday - having already lost to Germany and playing a thrilling 10-goal (5-5) stalemate against Pool-B wooden spoon occupants Russia. Hermanus netted a brace for Namibia before Kiki’s short corner in the last minute led to a penalty stroke, which Gillian calmly converted with ease with almost the final touch of the game. Namibia started off sluggishly losing their opening match in the six-nation group B - going down 2-6 against the rampant Czech Republic. Namibia were eliminated after finishing 5th in the 5-team Pool B ahead of bottom-placed Russia and ended overall 9th place from the strong field of 12 participating nations – certainly a remarkable feat given insufficient preparations for an event of such magnitude, notwithstanding the serial scarcity of astro turfs on Namibian soil. Hosts Germany are the newly crowned FIH world champions after dispatching bitter rivals and defending champions Netherlands 2-1 in a nail-biting final yesterday.
New Era Reporter
2018-02-12 11:11:49 9 months ago