Namibia Off to France for Inline Hockey World Champs

The 2014 Inline Hockey World Championships will be held at Palais des Sports Andreacute Brouat in Toulouse, France, with championship matches scheduled to take place from 29 June to 12 July 2014. Namibia is the only country in Africa to participate in the upcoming World Championships.

A few days ago, on Saturday, 14 June 2014, the Namibia Ice and Inline Hockey Association (NIIHA) announced four teams fit and well prepared to represent the country in France at the Inline Hockey World Championships: a junior men’s team, senior men, junior women and senior women’s team.

Every team consists of four players and a goalie (goal tender), and in accordance with the rules of FIRS (Feacutedeacuteration 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 cregraveme de la creacuteme of Namibian 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 teams practice with their clubs about three times a week and fitness levels are at an all time high. Trials for the national teams started in November last year and were concluded by February this year.

The battle gear of the national inline hockey teams prominently displays the Namibian flag and an African fish eagle. Arrestingly aggressive, the battle gear was designed by NIIHA and officially approved by the Namibia Sports Commission (NCS), the official national custodian of world class sports development and excellence.

The Namibian national inline hockey teams will be accompanied to France by NIIHA (Namibia Ice and Inline Hockey Association) secretary, Ulrich Thude, who intends to lobby the international community for the Inline Hockey World Championships to be hosted by Namibia in Swakopmund, in 2016. The private sector of Swakopmund recently invested in a world-class sports facility ideal for inline hockey.

Thude also said that in terms of tourist infrastructure, Namibia is 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 Inline Hockey World Championships by the president of NIIHA, Dr. Holger Mentzel, who is passionate about growing the sport and Namibia’s competitive ability in the international arena.

Namibia is currently ranked 16th out of 18 competing inline hockey playing countries in the world and the only country on the African continent with a world class inline hockey team.

Namibia has approximately 600 registered players in different age groups (even up to 70 years old), who are attracted to the speed, dexterity, competitiveness and aggression inherent to the sport. Inline hockey players typically have to make split-second decisions while skating at high speeds on inline skates (wheels in a straight line), chasing goals after a swift puck.

In addition, inline hockey is played on a very smooth, non-slip surface ideal for speed skating and a very quick hockey puck. It goes without saying that the smoother the surface, the faster the puck and the racier the game. Known as a minority, prestige sport in Namibia, inline hockey has grown tremendously in appeal throughout the world since the days of its humble beginnings back in 1993, when inline skates were first introduced to inline hockey players, instead of the slower, hugely popular quad roller-skates (four wheels) of the time.

The first group of inline hockey players will leave Namibia for Toulouse in France, on Thursday, 26 June 2014. Their first match is scheduled for the following Monday, 30 June, when they will face-off against the USA. For regular updates on Namibia’s progress and performances at the 2014 Inline Hockey World Championships, go to the NIIHA (Namibia Ice and Inline Hockey Association) page on Facebook:

2014 World Inline Hockey Championship schedule for Namibia:

The Namibian senior inline men’s hockey team will compete against Argentina, Australia and Spain between the 7th and the 13th of July, 2014.

The Namibian junior men’s inline hockey team will compete against USA, Great Britain and New Zealand between the 30th of June and the 6th of July, 2014.

The Namibian senior women’s inline hockey team will compete against Canada, Australia and Latvia between the 30th of June and the 6th of July, 2014.

The Namibian junior women’s inline hockey team will compete against Canada, Australia and Great Britain between the 7th and 13th of July, 2014.

Source : The Namibian