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Namibia’s men make history – The Namibian

NAMIBIA’S men’s hockey team made history on Tuesday when they won their first-ever match at the Indoor Hockey World Cup, beating Kazakhstan 6-2.

After a tactical and cagey start, Namibia took a 2-0 lead into the halftime break, before stepping up the tempo in the second half to complete a resounding win.

Kazakhstan did the early attacking but Namibian keeper DJ Strauss brought off a fine save to deny Daulet Urmanov, while Yermek Tashkeyev also came close, shooting narrowly wide of the target.

Namibia weathered the early storm and took the lead on 7 minutes when they won a penalty for a foul in the box and Liam Hermanus made no mistake from the spot.

David Britz made it 2-0 when he steered home a cross by Hermanus on 13 minutes, while at the other end, Strauss brought off some more saves as Namibia went into halftime with a 2-0 lead.

Namibia upped the tempo in the third quarter and immediately increased their lead when Percy Barthram scored two goals in quick succession, as he nipped into the box to deflect crosses into the net.

Kazakhstan opened their account through a field goal by Urmanov, but the match became a bit heated and the referee had to speak to both captains to calm tempers down.

Kazakhstan won a penalty for a foul in the box, but Strauss once again came to the rescue to save Talant Almen’s shot, while Brynn Cleak increased Namibia’s lead to 5-1 with a field goal at the end of the third quarter.

Namibia also won a penalty in the final minutes, but Liam Hermanus’ shot hit the upright. He, however, soon made amends when he sent a deflected shot high into the net, before Urmanov scored a late consolation goal for Kazakhstan from a short corner.

The win puts Namibia fourth in Pool A on three points from three matches and with two matches to go, they now have a good chance of reaching the quarterfinals.

Namibia’s women, however, are bottom of Pool B after suffering their second defeat in three matches, going down 2-1 to Ukraine.

They were very unlucky though, winning numerous short corners, but they just could not find the target.

Oksana Ponomarenko gave Ukraine an early lead from a short corner, while they also won a penalty, but Namibian keeper Petro Stoffberg brought off a fine save to deny Yuliia Shevchenko.

Azaylee Philander opened Namibia’s account with a field goal early in the second quarter, while Stoffberg kept them in the game with some fine saves to deny Shevchenko and Olha Kurovska.

Namibia won several short corners in the second half, but just could not find the net, while two attempts by Caitlyn Gillies and Danja Meyer were cleared off the line.

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

Namibia are now bottom of Pool B on one point from three matches, with two matches to go.

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