Namibia’s senior women’s indoor hockey team head coach Erwin Handura has expressed great confidence in the readiness and ability of his charges ahead of this weekend’s opening Indoor World Cup matches in Pretoria, South Africa.
Both the country’s men’s and women’s teams will kick off their World Cup campaigns on Sunday with clashes against Netherlands (men) and Kazakhstan (women).
The men’s team is in Pool A with Austria, Belgium, Kazakhstan, Netherlands and New Zealand, while the women’s team faces Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Kazakhstan and Ukraine in Pool B.
Speaking to New Era Sport, Handura said the training camp that the team held in Europe greatly helped with preparing for the World Cup, as players had an opportunity to prepare in a highly-competitive environment and against some of the best teams.
“The European tour helped us prepare for this highly-anticipated competition. I am confident that my team will be ready to pull off major upsets in the opening match against Kazakhstan on Sunday.
The first game will give us a clear direction as to how far we want to go in the competition,” he said.
Handura, who will be leading the team for the third consecutive World Cup, acknowledged they are in a tough group and will need to bring their A-game.
Meanwhile, the men’s head coach Trevor Cormack was equally upbeat about their chances at the World Cup, especially their opening match against the Netherlands on Sunday. He said they are aiming to finish within the top four positions.
“Our first official match will be against the Netherlands on Sunday, and our goal is to secure a spot among the top eight teams, which would grant us a chance to compete in the quarter-finals. From there, we aim to reach the final four. We have a well-balanced team with a combination of youthful energy and experienced players,” he said.
The 2023 FIH Indoor World Cup was originally scheduled to take place in Liege, Belgium in February 2022 but had to be cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It will get underway tomorrow at the Heartfelt Arena in Pretoria, South Africa, and will end on 11 February.
This year’s edition will be the sixth and the first time the tournament will be held outside Europe.
The inaugural Indoor World Cup was held in 2003.