Namibian Women Beat Australia, Latvia

Namibia’s women’s inline hockey team got off to a great start at the FIRS World Inline Championships in Toulouse, France, winning its opening two matches against Australia and Latvia.

Namibia’s junior men’s team however lost its opening two matches against the United States and Great Britain.

Here are summaries of the matches:

Tuesday, 1 July

Namibia Junior Men’s first game of the FIRS World Inline Championships against USA took place at lunchtime on Tuesday. Within a few minutes the junior men started feeling intimidated. They began chasing the puck. After 3 quick goals in succession from USA the Namibian players started feeling more relaxed and settled down into the game. The first half score was 4:0 for the USA.

The second half started in a penalty kill. USA succeeded in putting a few backdoor goals into the net. The USA kept its momentum, capitalizing on every little mistake and scored with their fast players who managed to sneak in behind the defensive Namibian players.

The team of Namibian coaches then decided to use the opportunity to optimize the lines and have a focus on the defensive setup of the Namibian team.

The young Namibian Junior men’s team met the most likely future World Champion in their very first international match. They were mesmerised by the speed of the opponents and their ability to use every opportunity presented.

The Namibian national players generated good scoring opportunities but where met by an excellent USA defence and fast goalie, so they couldn’t carry through their passes and place goals in the net.

The final score of 13:0 for the USA does look grim, but is not a result of a team giving up, or going under, but nothing less then a displayed result of a seasoned USA team which presented Namibia with all they had and which did earn to win this game. The Namibia Junior Men team did grow tremendously and appreciated this opportunity to get to the next level.

The Senior women’s first game was played against Australia and presented itself as a well structured game. It was evident that our senior women players have world championship experience. In fact the game was a rematch of 2013 in which the final score was 2:1.

The first goal of the game was put into the net by Australia. Shortly thereafter Nadia Schmidt shot an equalising goal during a power play, she was assisted by Suzelle Pronk. Before the end of the first period Danielle Schmidt managed to break away with the puck when the Namibian team was short one player and with speed and skill she scored.

In the second period Anne Diekmann scored in a power play and using this momentum she could immediately use her next breakaway with her second goal. The Namibian women then experienced a short moment of lost concentration, which was used by Australia to come back with two goals.

In general Namibia controlled the game from the time the moment the puck was dropped to the final whistle. The final score of the game resulted in a 4:3 win. The commitment as a team was observed and the women were keen to play there second game against Latvia on Tuesday.

Wednesday 2 July 2014

The senior women played against Latvia at the Palais des Sports main arena at lunchtime today. From the start of play the game against Latvia was more focused and the Namibian team controlled the speed of the game from start to finish. The first goal was scored by Danielle Schmidt. During the first half Latvia only generated 3 shots on goal, all of them stopped by Annemarie Haase.

In the second half Namibia scored a further two goals, Suzelle Pronk and Sonja Baufeldt were able to use all their long international experience and scored. Namibian dominated their opponent by approximately 30 shots on goal. The Latvia goalie played exceptionally well. The final winning score to our Namibia National Women’s team against Latvia was 3:0 to Namibia.

With the win of this game, Namibia has qualified for the World Cup play off for a second year in a row. Namibia’s next match is against Canada.

The Junior Men’s came out the change rooms to start this game as a better team, they made an extreme effort to go out and work on what they had learnt and put it in to practice. From the beginning of the game against Great Britain they played a flawless system. The first half ended 1:0 for Great Britain, which scored in a power play. With lots of energy and hard work our junior players never let up on their power play right into the second half of the game.

They were determined to get one more goal in to break the ice. Yet an unlucky bouncer scored the second goal for Great Britain, which made it 2:0 for the opponent. After a time-out to refocus and encourage the players, two goals were scored in one shift turning the game in Namibia’s favour. The first goal was scored by Matthew Badenhorst and the second by Altus Coetzee, making the score 2:2 to Namibia. Shortly thereafter a puck off the post goal from Great Britain and then a quick rush of an opponent player resulted in two further goals for Great Britain.

The next goal for Namibia was scored by Altus Coetzee. With 5 minutes remaining on the clock Great Britain called a time-out. By this time the game was on physical play, which resulted in calls been made good and bad. Our players had more shots on goal but they didn’t reach the net.

Namibia bounced back and Nikola Kuhn scored a final goal which resulted in the game score of 5:4 to Great Britain.

With 45 seconds on the clock, Namibia pulled the goalie making a mistake and we received a penalty shot for to many players on the field in the last two minutes, for which Aidin Gibbons made a good save.

Despite a very aggressive and rough playing Great Britain team, Namibia was determined to maintain their control and they did succeed. This game was one of the best games in this event so far and the hall was filling with spectators enjoying a fantastic game of inline hockey.

Source : The Namibian