‘I cried tears of joy’

The men’s national hockey team will receive an extra boost after MTC vowed to give additional funding for their world cup preparations, following a greenlight to have them play in Belgium early next year.

21 September 2021 | Sports

JESSE JACKSON KAURAISA

WINDHOEK

Namibia senior men’s indoor hockey team head coach, Trevor Cormack, says he cried when the hockey union broke the news to him that his team will compete at the 2022 Indoor Hockey World Cup.

“I cried when we were not able to qualify to the world cup and I must admit to you that I cried when NHU president Reagan Graig broke the news to me that we will be going to the world cup,” Cormack remarked.

Cormack and his team were inconsolable three months ago when the hockey team failed to qualify for the world cup following their defeat to South Africa.

“This was the same feeling when I broke the news to all the players and our WhatsApp groups were filled with disbelief and plenty of emotions,” Cormack said.

The men’s team qualified after the withdrawal of Australia and New Zealand due to Covid-19-related international travel restrictions imposed by their governments.

This meant that Namibia and the USA (men) team as well as Canada and South Africa (women) were invited based on their being runners-up in recent African and Pan-American indoor championships.

MTC, which is the sponsor of the Namibian national hockey teams, expressed excitement over the news qualified.

The telecommunications giant, which had already committed N$1 million to the women’s team, has vowed to add N$900 000 to the men’s team for their preparations.

“The news that the male team will also play at the hockey world cup is good because I saw how the coach was in tears when they did not qualify last time around.

“We hope and wish them all the best as they join the women’s team to compete.

“I could hear the excitement in the voice of Reagon Graig when he broke the news to us and I believe we have to carry this excitement in the competition.

“MTC will commit an extra N$900 000 towards the men’s team for their preparations,” MTC spokesperson Tim Ekandjo said.

Graig’s delight

New NHU president Reagon Graig said he was over the moon with the news.

“As a former hockey player myself for over 30 years, I can understand and feel the kind of joy that these players feel right now.

“It is amazing news for Namibian hockey and Namibian sport in general for having to representatives at a world cup.

“What we have to do now, is to make sure that the teams are well prepared ahead of the tournament,” Graig noted.

World date

The 2022 Men's FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup will be the sixth edition of this tournament and played from 2 to 6 February 2022 in Liège, Belgium.

CEO of the International Hockey Federation (FIH) Thierry Well lauded the teams and the host country for being available during this tough time.

“With less than 80 matches played in five days, the FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup provides a particularly intense and exciting spectacle.

“On behalf of FIH, I’d like to wholeheartedly thank the local authorities as well the Royal Belgian Hockey Association for all their efforts to put together an event which undoubtedly will offer a wonderful experience to athletes and fans alike,” FIH CEO Thierry Well said.

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