Deserving triumph in Malaysia
On Saturday, the team captained by DJ Strauss and with Trevor Cormack as coach won the final of the Sultan Nasrin Shah indoor tournament against South Africa.
Goals by Fagan Hansen and Brynn Cleak put Namibia 2-0 ahead, before South Africa fought back to end at 2-2 with goals by Keegan Hezlett and Jethro Eustice.
Quarter 4 delivered further great chances for Dylan Finch and Delron Handura as the Namibians kept applying pressure, but the deadlock at the final whistle had to be separated by the nerve-wracking showdowns.
Goalkeeper Richter van Rooyen, who had replaced his captain DJ Strauss, kept his nerve in the shoot-out, where Fagan Hansen, JP Britz and finally Brynn Cleak skillfully landed their efforts to win the showdowns 3-2.
Fagan Hansen of Namibia was named player of the tournament. He ended the tournament with 11 goals – jointly in second position with four other players and behind South African sharp shooter Steven Paulo (14).
Delron Handura finished on eight goals, of which four were scored in the semi-final against Australia. Cody van der Merwe, JP Britz and Brynn Cleak contributed six goals each during the tournamewnt.
Namibia had performed solidly throughout – beating New Zealand (3-2), Malaysia (7-5) and Hong Kong (22-0) and losing a competitive match to South Africa (3-5). In the semi-final, they took Australia apart by a 12-0 margin.
Namibia’s men’s player squad were DJ Strauss (captain and goalkeeper), aged 32, Richter van Rooyen (goalkeeper, 20), David Britz (21), Fagan Hansen (20), John-Paul Britz (19), Cody van der Merwe (23), Dakota Hansen (23), Ernest Jacobs (27), Matukaramove Kavikairiua (21), Dylan Finch (25), Delron Handura (21) and Brynn Cleak (30).
Coach Trevor Cormack, who celebrated his birthday yesterday, said in his post-match media interview: “Our boys have been consistent good all tournament and deserved to be in final. We knew that South Africa would be tough in the final. The result could have gone either way. I am very happy with performance.
“This has been an amazing tournament and an amazing experience for us. Malaysia is a great country with wonderful people, incredible food and first-world facilities. Thank you for inviting us, we will gladly accept another invitation.”
South African coach Justin Rosenberg commented: “I felt we played with way too much caution in the first two quarters. We said at halftime that we needed to create more opportunities and be braver.
“Massive respect to Namibia, they defended like Trojans.
Namibia finished in fifth place out of six teams. Under Shayne Cormack (coach) and Sunelle Ludwig (captain), they lost 1-5 to Switzerland, beat Malaysia (4-1), lost to South Africa (1-2), drew with New Zealand (3-3) and drew with Australia (2-2).
Azaylee Philander was among the star individuals, with seven goals (joint second).
The Namibians are expected to arrive back in Windhoek shortly after 13:00 today.