We are ready to make history – Mengo ... Nam hockey prepares for World Cup
Otniel Hembapu Windhoek-Judging from her teammates’ fitness levels, zealousness and the overall camaraderie within the squad, Namibia’s senior women hockey team’s inspirational skipper Maggie Mengo strongly believes they have what it takes to leave lasting footprints at next year’s FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup. The 2018 International Hockey Federation (FIH) Women’s Indoor Hockey World Cup, which will mark the 5th edition of the global hockey showpiece, is slated for Berlin, Germany from February 7-11. The Namibian ladies secured a historic 2018 World Cup berth when they overpowered South Africa in the final of the African Indoor Cup – which also served as World Cup qualifiers – held in Swakopmund last June, to book their place in Berlin. In a brief interview with New Era Sport yesterday, Mengo – who professionally plied her trade with Netherlands’ outfit Kampong Hockey Club in that country’s top tier league – expressed great satisfaction with the overall readiness of the team. The team has already held a training camp and is due to hold another one next weekend in Swakopmund, while plans are also underway to remain active throughout the whole of December as they push to wrap up their World Cup preparations. The final 12-member squad for the World Cup is set to be announced on December 4. Unlike with the 2011 World Cup in Poland, which saw Namibia only winning one out of their six games, Mengo is of the opinion that the dimensions are different this time around, as she maintains the team has enough depth and experience to compete. “Preparations have been going very well and we still have a few training camps coming, so that means we still have a bit of time to put some final touches to our World Cup preparations. Since we will be the only African country at next year’s World Cup, the pressure is on us to proudly represent the continent and our believed country. So far, I really have to say I’m extremely impressed by the eagerness and readiness the players have shown – that’s really positive,” said Mengo. She added: “This time around I’m really confident we will do much better, and for us as a team, we are not going there to participate just for the sake of it, but we want to go there to compete and show that we really mean business. Another good part is that we will be having a professional and highly experienced Dutch indoor hockey women’s coach, Marieke Dijkstra, who was also my teammate at Kampong. Dijkstra will be a very vital addition to our training camp because most of the teams in our pool are European countries, so she (Dijkstra) brings along that experience and will also share some finer points about competing and winning against European opposition.” Namibia is in Pool B alongside Australia, Czech Republic, Germany, Russia and Ukraine, while Pool A consist of Belarus, Kazakhstan, Netherlands, Poland, USA, Switzerland.
2017-11-23 10:38:44 10 months ago