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Namibia aiming for last 8

NAMIBIA’S men and women both lost to Belgium at the Indoor Hockey World Cup in Pretoria yesterday, but the men are still well-placed to reach the quarterfinals following their historic 6-2 win against Kazakhstan on Tuesday.

Against Kazakhstan, Liam Hermanus gave Namibia the lead from a short corner in the first quarter, while David Brits made it 2-0 with a field goal early in the second.

Namibia upped the tempo in the third quarter and two goals in quick succession by Percy Barthram suddenly put them 4-0 ahead.

Kazakhstan opened their account through a field goal by Daulet Urmanov, and Namibian keeper DJ Strauss came to their rescue when he saved a penalty stroke by Talant Almen.

Brynn Cleak made it 5-1 at the end of the third quarter, while Liam Hermanus added his second goal with a deflected shot, before Urmanov scored a late consolation goal for Kazakhstan from a short corner.

Yesterday, Belgium took an early 2-0 lead after two goals in quick succession by Philippe Simar, while he hit the post with a backstick flick in the second quarter. Namibia defended well with Ernest Jacobs and Dakota Hansen outstanding, and after Nico Neethling and Liam Hermanus created some opportunities, they finally opened their account when Percy Barthram slammed home a cross just before half time.

After both sides had more chances in a frantic third quarter, Gaetan Dykmans put Belgium 3-1 ahead from a quick counterattack, while Simar completed his hat-trick from a short corner early in the final quarter to seal a 4-1 victory for Belgium.

Namibia coach Trevor Cormack said the victory was a great feeling but also expressed disappointment at not taking their chances against Belgium.

“We were very excited when we beat Kazakhstan – we knew it was coming, we just didn’t know when, but that was the game where we put it away. We just stuck to the game plan, which was to be patient and disciplined in defence and then be clinical on the counter-attacks. Last night we were clinical, but today it didn’t work. I’m proud of our defence but the score was not a true reflection of the game and I’m a bit disappointed with the finishing today,” he said.

“We are still on track – we are playing New Zealand tomorrow and are hoping to win. It’s a game that we really want to win to secure that fourth spot, and once we are in the quarter-finals anything can happen,” he added.


Namibia’s women put in a great performance against Belgium yesterday, before they were undone by a late controversial goal.

In a tight game of few chances, Laurine Delforge gave Belgium the lead with a field goal early in the final quarter but Namibia attacked furiously and after attacks by Maggy Mengo, Azaylee Philander and Jaime Gillie were thwarted, they finally equalised when Philander scored from a short corner with a minute to go.

Belgium, however, won a controversial short corner in the dying seconds and France De Mot scored to give them a 2-1 victory.

Namibia coach Erwin Handura said there was nothing they could do about it and had to accept the umpire’s decision.

“It’s a terrible situation to lose like that, but that’s sport for you, the umpires make the decisions and we have to abide by that and respect that. But if we had taken our chances earlier we would never have been in the predicament that we were in,” he said.

“We’ve lost three games and drew one and in all of those games, it’s not as if we were outplayed, we created opportunities and penalty corners. This was probably the tightest game but we were in the game and competitive throughout,” he added.

Handura said he was not happy with the umpire’s decision to award a late short corner to Belgium.

“I asked the umpires what happened so they said they awarded a free hit to Belgium because our players were not three yards away, so that’s why they awarded Belgium a penalty corner – you must be three metres away from the ball before you engage. I didn’t see it, but we will look at the video and if we have evidence that it was not a good call we will give it to the umpires manager and those umpires will be in trouble,” he said.

On Tuesday, Namibia were once again unlucky to lose, when they went down 2-1 to Ukraine, after wasting numerous scoring chances from short corners.

Oksana Ponomarenko gave Ukraine an early lead from a short corner, but Azaylee Philander drew Namibia level with a field goal early in the second quarter.

Yuliia Shevchenko restored Ukraine’s lead with a deflected goal early in the fourth quarter, and although Namibia won several short corners they could not capitalise as Ukraine held on for a narrow win.

Namibia are now bottom of Pool B on one point, before their final group match against pool leaders the Czech Republic today.

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