Namibia's women's national indoor hockey team have been ramping up their training schedule in recent weeks as they prepare to take on the planet's best at the upcoming Indoor Hockey World Cup in Berlin, Germany between 7-11 February 2018.
The preparations have included a number of matches against the continents leading men's indoor teams as they look to challenge themselves ahead of the pinnacle event in Germany next month.
Their qualification for the Indoor World Cup has captured the nation's attention, with national media covering their progress. Read below some of the most recent reports from national media outlet ' who are passionate supporters of the game. Last month, Namibia women competed at the PSI National tournament in Cape Town, South Africa, where they took part in the Boys Under-18 B Division and comfortably won all their matches.
Their Coach, Erwin Handura, explained that the PSI tournament had gone very well, saying: "We had a brilliant tournament in Cape Town where we played nine games in three days and comfortably won all nine games. It was really good and you could see the mental toughness and the fitness levels of our players were very high. Our tactical awareness was also great and we beat most of those teams with our tactical knowledge of the game.".
Since then the players took two weeks off over the festive season and started training on 4 January again, according to Handura. "Last week we trained four hours per day for three days," he said. "We are quite happy with the fitness levels, but it can still improve. We are doing our fitness tests every Saturday and the players are improving with each week," he added.
The team have a number of matches lined up against men's teams over the next few days. Handura said these matches were crucial and would give them valuable preparation before the World Cup.
"One of the areas we're working on is off-the-ball running and movement in attack and the lines that our forwards have to run because we want to try and create more goal-scoring opportunities for our strikers"
Erwin Handura, Namibia Coach
"We hope to improve our tactics and one of the areas that we are working on is off-the-ball running and movement in attack and the lines that our forwards have to run, because we want to try and create more goal-scoring opportunities for our strikers," he said.
"We have a few games lined up against men's teams like Unam, DTS and combined teams - we are only playing against men's teams because these are the top women in the country which means that there are no other women who can compete against them at this level," he added.
The team will leave for Europe towards the end of January, but Handura will leave early to attend the EuroHockey Championships to get first hand knowledge of their opponents.
"I'm heading off to Prague in the Czech Republic where the European Indoor Championships are taking place, and all the teams that we are playing against at the World Cup will be in action there, namely Germany, the Czech Republic, Ukraine and Russia," he said.
"We are also going to play a friendly match against the Netherlands and all of them will be in action at the EuroHockey Championships so it will be an opportunity for me to see how they play and record the games and study them. When we get to play them at least we will have the upper hand by knowing them while they won't know us," he added.
Last Friday the national women's hockey team continued their unbeaten streak in preparation matches for the Indoor Hockey World Cup after beating a combined men's side 4-2 in their third practise match. Marcia Venter, Kiana Cormack, Dure Boshoff and Jeani Holz scored for the women. Earlier last week they drew 5-5 with Unam before beating the local team 5-4 shortly afterwards.
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