THE MTC senior women’s national hockey team is hard at work preparing to defend its Indoor African Cup of Nations title that it won in 2017.
On that occasion Namibia beat South Africa to qualify for the 2018 Indoor World Cup in Berlin, Germany, where Namibia finished ninth out of 12 nations.
Only the winner of the 2020 Indoor Afcon for both men and women will represent Africa at the 2021 Indoor World Cup scheduled for 3-7 February in Liège, Belgium.
The Indoor Afcon tournament was initially slated for 12-14 June this year in Durban, South Africa, but was moved to the end of September due to Covid-19.
Should this event not take place due to Covid-19 then South Africa’s men’s team and Namibia’s women’s team will qualify automatically as defending champions and highest ranked teams on the continent.
According to the women’s coach Erwin Handura, they started training in October last year, but had to stop on 12 March due to Covid-19. The players, however, continued with their training programmes at home during the lockdown period, while official training resumed in June with three sessions per week with biokinetics to strength and improve the players’ conditions.
“In July we started with technical and tactical, as well as individual skills. Since last Sunday we’ve started playing against men’s teams to improve speed in our game and enhance quick decision making. We are training three times per week and play against men teams every Sunday,” Handura said. “Currently we have 23 players in the squad, but on 22 August the squad will be reduced to 18 players. Eight days later the final squad going to the Indoor Afcon will be announced,” he added.
According to Handura the squad has more than enough experience, with eight players having represented Namibia at the 2018 Indoor World Cup in Berlin.