The Namibia Hockey Union has announced a strong men’s squad to represent Namibia at the Africa Junior World Cup qualifier to take place in Accra, Ghana from 22 to 28 March.
The 18-man squad is very experienced with 10 of the players already having represented Namibia at senior level, while 15 are also members of the senior squad that is preparing for an Afcon tournament in Zimbabwe.
The squad is dominated by players from Saints with ten representatives in total, while four are from DTS, three from Windhoek Old Boys and one from Unam.
Johan Weyhe, the coach of the Namibian u21 side said he was very excited about the talent and dedication of the players.
“In all my years in hockey, this is the first time that I have seen such a talented, committed and hard-working group of players together. Of the 27 players in our training squad, 17 have already represented Namibia from u18 to senior level, so it just shows the depth that we have,” he said.
“We will face tough opponents like South Africa, Egypt, Ghana and Zimbabwe, but if we work very hard we don’t have to stand back for anyone,” he said, adding that Namibia had a good chance of qualifying for the u21 World Cup.
“The top two teams in Accra will qualify for the u21 World Cup in India later this year, and I believe we have a very good chance of qualifying if we work hard.”
“We’ve been training for three weeks now and besides daily sessions with fitness trainers, I’ve also held skills sessions three times per week. Now we want to organise training matches against stronger opposition, so we will invite some senior sides to play against us,” he said.
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Weyhe added that they were hopeful of getting a sponsor for the tour and were currently in talks with a corporate entity.
The Namibian u21 men’s squad is as follows:
Richter van Rooyen, Liam Hermanus, Fagan Hansen, Nico Neethling, Dakota Hansen, Craig McNally, Joseph van Niekerk, Owen Hatton, Nicolai Hilbert and Damien Schütz (all Saints); JP Britz, Percy Barthram, Cody van der Merwe and David Britz (DTS); Willie Serfontein, Nico Jacobs and Matuu Kavikairiua (Windhoek Old Boys); and Sachin Jaanda (Unam).
The final women’s u21 squad has also been selected after two players were dropped from a 20-strong squad that was announced last week.
They are Kiana Cormack of Saints, who has withdrawn from hockey due to personal reasons and Mikayla Bosman from the coast.
The team is quite young, with an average age of 17,5, while the youngest player, Jaime Gillies is still only 15.
They, however, do have sufficient experience with 13 members currently also in the senior squad that is preparing for the Afcon qualifier in Harare.
The Namibian women’s u21 squad is as follows:
Sonet Crous, Jaimie Henckert, Amber Dercksen, Sascha Brinkmann, Tara Myburgh, Azaylee Philander, Danja Meyer, Jo-ane van Rooyen, Carien van Rooyen, Hayley Schickerling and Caitlin Coetzer (all Saints), Cele Wessels, Anthea Coetzee, Jaime Gillies and Caitlin Gillies (DTS), Armin van Staden, Jahntwa Kruger and Kaela Schimming (WOB).