The country’s governing body of Inline Hockey, the Namibia Ice and Inline Hockey Association (NIIHA), is sending a junior men’s team to represent the country at the 10-day Fédération Internationale de Roller Sports (FIRS) World Roller Games in Nanjing, China, starting tomorrow.
Members of the selected team will be unveiled during a capping ceremony at the headquarters of the Namibia Sports Commission later today.
NIIHA hosted team trials in October last year at Kamikaze Inline Hockey Club to select players from various clubs into the two development teams in the Under-10 and Under-12 age group divisions to take part in the North American Roller Hockey Championships (NARCh) in San Jose, California, USA in June this year.
During the said trials, four national teams were originally selected to represent Namibia at the 2017 FIRS World Championships in China, which kick off tomorrow.
The World Roller Games will be offered for the first time for all sports on reels, among others, inline hockey, roller hockey, artistic skating, downhill skating, and marathon skating.
After completing several training camps, the last of which took place in Swakopmund at The Dome on 23 August 2017, the team is ready to set off for Nanjing, China.
There will be two training days before the official FIRS programme starts with the pre-games on Sunday, 27 August 2017.
Namibia’s first opponent would be Spain. The 18 nations have been grouped, and were ranked according to the last competition, which took place in Italy in 2016 (Namibian Junior Men was placed 21 out of 24 during the 2016 World Cup in Italy).
The groups are as follows:
Group A: Czech Republic, USA, Taiwan, Australia, Iran
Group B: Italy, Canada, Colombia, India, New Zealand
Group C: Switzerland, Sweden, Germany, South Korea
Group D: Spain, France, Great Britain, Namibia
Namibia’s other opponents are as follows: On Monday, August 28 (France) and Tuesday, August 29 (England). From Wednesday, 30 August, the first round placements, quarterfinals and semi-finals will take place.
The Czech Republic have won the title for the past nine years and are still the favourites. Namibia’s goal is to improve their ranking in the World Cup and, of course, to gain additional experience at international level.
Meanwhile, Namibia Hockey will host the following inter-club tournaments for the remainder of the year:
1. The Scorpions Tournament in Otjiwarongo (from 8 to 10 and 15 to 17 September)
2. The Coastal Pirates Tournament in Swakopmund (from 29 September to 1 October)
3. NIIHA grand finale, “Theo’s Superspar NIIHA-Champs” in Otjiwarongo (from 3 to 11 November).