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Tyron Barnard

History was written today in Swakopmund as the Namibian Indoor Hockey ladies side shocked the Hockey world with a stunning showdown victory that secured their place in the FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup for 2018.

SPAR South Africa had been dominant in the tournament conceding only one goal, while Namibia had looked distinctly average and out of sorts throughout. In all honesty the Namibian bench looked unhappy throughout the tournament.

It took less than a minute but Namibia soon looked happy as they scored through Marcia Venter, there was debate about whether the ball took a touch, but the umpires were satisfied and it was awarded. Playing in her 51st test match skipper Cindy Hack levelled for the SPAR South Africa ladies after great work by Eloise Walters.  Jessica O’Connor was celebrating her 50th test cap would have been delighted when Hack turned provider to allow Shelley Higgo to net the go ahead goal for SPAR SA.

Not long after the goal, Higgo then brought down Jocelle Deysel in the D to give Namibia a Penalty Stroke, which was well finished by Gillian Hermanus. Just 7 minutes into the final we had seen four goals. 28 minutes after the fourth goal in the game came the fifth and it was captain fantastic Cindy Hack once again. South Africa had 6 minutes to hold on and confirm their place in Berlin.

Hanli Hattingh made a few saves but SPAR South Africa were dropping back and allowing pressure and with 15 seconds left on the clock South Africa were stunned as a mistake was punished by Marcia Venter who sent the crowd into raptures and the game into showdowns. South Africa were then beaten in the showdowns 2-1 to send Namibia hockey to the FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup. It was a devastating blow to the SPAR South African ladies as they ended the tournament undefeated in normal time, but without a place in the World Cup.

The TOPS @ SPAR BlitzStoks would have seen the warning signs from the ladies game and started out with a great set of determination. An early goal by Reza Rosenberg settled the game and it remained that way for long periods before on the stroke of half time Namibian keeper made an error and Justin Domleo pounced for a 2-0 lead.

Early in the second half player of the tournament Brynn Cleak pulled one back for Namibia who refused to give in to their neighbours. Strauss in goal for the Namibians did everything he could to make up for the earlier error and made some great saves to deny the South Africans. The nerves were jangling but South Africa limited the opportunities for the Namibians and although they couldn’t add to the scoreline did enough to claim the title. The TOPS @ SPAR BlitzStoks are going to Berlin!

It was a weekend of hockey that highlighted the development of the game in our continent and plans will now begin for Namibia and South Africa as they work towards the FIH Indoor Hockey world Cup in Berlin in February 2018!

Women’s Keeper of the Tournament – Jamie Haasbroek (Zimbabwe)
Men’s Keeper of the Tournament – DJ Strauss (Namibia)
Women’s Top Goalscorer – Heather McEwan (South Africa)
Men’s Top Goalscorer – Keagan Robinson (South Africa)
Women’s Player of the Tournament – Maggie Mengo (Namibia)
Men’s Player of the Tournament – Brynn Cleak (Namibia)

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