Swakopmund-The National Ice and Inline Hockey Association (NIIHA), the governing body of inline roller hockey, is to host the Africa Cup at The Dome in Swakopmund on May 23.
Apart from hosts Namibia, the likes of South Africa, Germany and Norway will take part in the four-day competition.
The Africa Cup, the first of its kind to be hosted in the Land of the Brave, aims to promote the country as much as possible to become a future host of international inline hockey events.
NIIHA has promised to put up an excellent gathering in an effort to attract interest from abroad while convincing international inline hockey to choose Namibia as the ultimate venue.
Inline hockey is one of the fastest growing sporting disciplines in Namibia and the sport has grown in leaps and bounds over the last couple of years. Currently, there are five inline hockey clubs campaigning in the national league.
The clubs are Badgers, Coastal Pirates, Cazadores, Kamikaze and the Scorpions with a staggering registered number of more than 420 members competing under the banner of NIIHA.
The Scorpions Inline Hockey Club from Otjiwarongo has twice received accolades and acknowledgement from the Guinness Book of Records for recording the longest uninterrupted inline hockey marathon, playing an incredible continuous game for 27 hours, 0 minutes 31 seconds in 2013 and for 36 hours, 0 minutes and 56 seconds in 2016.
The Africa Cup concept was conceived during 2016 when Gilbert Portier, president of the World Inline Hockey Association (WIHA) visited Namibia to inspect and evaluate the facilities available at The Dome in Swakopmund.
Though the facilities were approved by the team as a potential venue to host a FIRS Inline Hockey World Championship, Namibia’s bid failed due to the requirement of a substantial foreign currency denominated security deposit.
The Africa Cup will not only pave the way for Namibia to become a potential host for the FIRS World Inline Hockey Championship, but also showcase the talent of Namibian players and the level of development of the sport in Namibia and Africa.
Should Namibia be able to successfully present the Africa Cup this year, it is then planned also to be hosted annually and to attract teams and individual players from all over the world to partake in the event, thus promoting Namibia, the sport and the country’s future venue to host the FIRS World Championships.