Bon Voyage to Fish Eagles
The first group of inline hockey players are set to leave for Toulouse in France, on Thursday next week and will carry the country’s flag as well as the African flag to compete in the upcoming World Championships. The 2014 Inline Hockey World Championships will be held at Palais des Sports André Brouat in Toulouse, France, with championship matches scheduled to take place from 29 June to 12 July. This week the Namibia Ice and Inline Hockey Association (NIIHA) announced four teams fit and well prepared to compete in the World Championships: a junior men’s team, senior men, junior women and senior women’s team. The senior men’s team is set to compete against Argentina, Australia and Spain from 7 to 13 July while their female counterparts will battle it out at an earlier date against Canada, Australia and Latvia between 30 June and 06 July. Every team will consist of four players and a goalie (goal tender), and in accordance with the rules of FIRS (Fédération Internationale de Roller Sports) each national team is limited to a maximum of fourteen inline hockey players.
The inline hockey players of the four national teams are made up of the crème de la créme of local club-level players. Five inline hockey clubs are currently registered and operative in the country; Cazadores, Kamikaze and Badgers of Windhoek, Scorpions of Otjiwarongo and the Coastal Pirates of Swakopmund. The national inline hockey teams will be accompanied by the association’s secretary, Ulrich Thude, who intends to lobby the international community for the Inline Hockey World Championships to be hosted in Swakopmund, in 2016. Thude also said that in terms of tourist infrastructure, we are best suited to hosting the 2016 Inline Hockey World Championships more than any other country on the continent. The four Namibian inline hockey teams were congratulated and wished abundant success in the upcoming tourney by the president of NIIHA, Dr. Holger Mentzel, who is passionate about growing the sport and Namibia’s competitive ability in the international arena. The country is currently ranked 16th out of 18 competing inline hockey playing countries and the only country on the African continent with a world class inline hockey team.