SWAKOPMUND – The six day Bank Windhoek Africa Cup Inline Hockey tourney came full circle as reigning champions Namibia were dethroned when the week long tourney wound up at the Dome in Swakopmund, last weekend.
Hosts Namibia cruised to the finals but sadly narrowly went down 5-7 against the Dome Dragons in front of a packed crowd after an intense contest but the Dragons’ pair of Alex Witz and Shane Kinsella pushed through their opponents’ tiring defense to wrestle the title from the defending champions.
Tiago Kutz registered the first goal for the hosts after just two minutes of play but the Dragons were soon on level terms before momentum switched towards the hosts team once more as they led 3:1 with goals from Wim van der Plas and Lars Borg. The dynamics later shifted in favour of the Dragons as they came back stronger with a goal from Kinsella.
This did not deter the Namibians who responded in the most dignified fashion via sheer flair and grit – upping their game and it came as no surprise when they restored their two goal cushion.
Towards half time, the Namibians lost concentration, allowing the Dragons to take advantage with Kinsella and Hammond scoring a goal apiece to level the score line.
After the break, the Namibian team succumbed and yielded under pressure from the fired up Dragons who came out more determined to kill off the match as a contest. Kutz pulled a consolation goal back for Namibia but Kinsella and Wirt managed to slid past the Namibian defense scoring the decisive winning goals. Kinsella deservedly claimed the Most Valuable Player award for his near faultless showing during the entire tourney. “It was a tough game and both teams played very well, I am super proud of my boys, because they never gave up. Thumps up to the Namibians, they fought very hard,” said a delighted Dragons’ skipper Dave Hammond.
In other action, the Namibian Junior Men’s team also lost to Germany 3-5 in the bronze medal match. Sponsored by Bank Windhoek since its inception two years ago, the event is building up its reputation as one of the biggest sporting event on the African continent and abroad.
The gathering attracted players from as far as Brazil, India, Russia, UK, Germany, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Denmark, USA, Spain, Canada, Italy and hosts Namibia.