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Table Tennis National Team returns from competitive Zone 6 Champs

Heiko Fleidl, Rudi Saunderson, Darren Strauss and Wayne Green (from left to right) formed the Namibian team.

Heiko Fleidl, Rudi Saunderson, Darren Strauss and Wayne Green (from left to right) formed the Namibian team.

Namibia’s Table Tennis national team just returned from a very competitive Zone 6 championship, which took place over the weekend in the Zambian capital Lusaka. The tournament, which was played on a high level, was won by South Africa, while the first team of the host Nation came in second. Bronze went to Botswana.

Namibia failed to reach their objective of claiming at least another fourth overall place after 2009’s event in South Africa. The squad eventually had to settle for the sixth place. This was largely due to the lack of expertise in Namibia, especially a qualified coach, according to skipper Heiko Fleidl. All participating teams, except the Namibian, were all boasting dedicated coaches, some from overseas.
“We actually played better than  the last Zone 6 games, but the lack of expertise in our team, especially the lack of a qualified coach, meant that we were always a step behind the others”, Fleidl explained. To make matters worse, the Namibians had to play without the experienced Reinhardt Stanley who was unable to participate due to personal reasons.
Especially in the team event, whereby each nation nominated three players that went head-to-head in a round-robin modus, the Namibian delegation had hoped for more after making the third place in 2009. Wayne Green was the stand-out player in the team events.
In the single’s event, the captain and Rudi Saunderson were booted out in the second round while Darren Strauss and Wayne Green didn’t manage to get past the first stage. It wasn’t any better in the doubles division as both teams lost their opening matches, although Fleidl and Saunderson came close to beating one of the Zambian teams, but eventually fell short.
Namibia was selected to host the next Zone 6 Table Tennis Championships, which is scheduled to take place during December 2015. The NTTA will start preparing immediately to ensure our teams will be competitive and make Namibia proud on home soil. Professional coaching will be a priority to ensure that we develop our very talented players to their full potential. In this regard the NTTA will approach the Sports Commission (NSC), the Olympic Committee (NNOC) and the business community for assistance. They will also work hard on getting a women’s team ready and competitive by the end of next year. The focus will be on junior players to ensure long-term benefits from the envisaged coaching and training programs and interested juniors/scholars are invited to approach the development officer at the NTTA for more details.

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