Swakopmund-Host Namibia did not extend its hospitality to the field of play when the local Inline Hockey teams went toe to toe with their opponents in the weeklong Africa Inline Hockey Cup.
The international tournament was staged at The Dome Sports Complex in Namibia’s popular holiday hub, Swakopmund.
It attracted teams from as far away as Brazil, USA, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Spain, India, USA, South Africa, and Canada, who joined hosts Namibia for the August gathering.
They preceded the start of the tourney with a colourful Opening Ceremony featuring a dazzling and daring performance from Pole Dance Fitness Swakopmund (Charly Debortoli and Sonja Keil).
Humorous speeches from Horst Fritze (Dome Trustee), Erongo governor Cleophas Mutjavikua, Freddy Mwiya (NSC chief administrator) and Dave Hammond (Africa Cup Delegate) formed part of the opening ceremony.
The latter doubled as tourney organiser in conjunction with the Namibian Ice and Inline Hockey Association (NIIHA).
A total of eight teams competed in the men’s division consisting of 2 pools of 4 teams each battling it out in the round robin format. Players from all over the world formed club teams to compete at this year’s Africa Inline Hockey Cup tourney.
Namibia’s senior men’s side opened its assault in the tourney against South African opponents Moose Knuckles and humbled the visitors 9-1 in a high-scoring match.
Teams completed the round robin round on day three with the Namibian Junior team sitting on top of the log standings in pool B whilst the visiting Labeda Bulls edged Team Namibia Men’s side in what can be described as the match of the century.
Both teams put on a show for the over 800 spectators in attendance, but it was the Bulls that scored in extra time to claim the number 1 seed in pool A.
On Saturday, it was non-stop action with each team playing twice as the playoffs wound down. The SAS Bluebirds defeated the Dare Devils 7-3 for 7th place.
South Africa’s Moose Knuckles saw off the Taunus Wild Hogs (Germany) 4-3 for 5th place, while the bronze medal went to Team Namibia Juniors who had the better of the proceedings in their clash against the Peregrine Falcons 10-5.
The Namibian senior men’s team claimed a gold medal after dispatching Labeda Bulls 5-2 with Cello Baas scoring 3 goals to claim the MVP award.
Top goalie of the tourney went to Gerrit Pchalek (Namibia Junior) with Matt Wojcik (Labeda Bulls) winning the defenseman award, while the best forward award went to Dave Hammond (Labeda Bulls)
A record attendance of 2,000 spectators was recorded for the week, excluding players and officials with 8,000 viewing the matches online.
Event organisers applauded the following sponsors Spar Namibia, Bank Windhoek, The Dome Swakopmund, Swakopmund Hotel & Entertainment Centre, Pupkewitz Nissan and Woermann Brock Hardware.
“None of this would have been possible had it not been for their generous financial support. We hope to build on the great success we had this year and be back next year, same time, bigger and better,” a statement from the NIIHA read.