Inline hockey wins for Namibia

It’s 40 °C in Barcelona at the World Championships for Inline Hockey and the only thing hotter than the sun, is the Namibian junior men’s team.

08 July 2019 | Sports

The national junior inline hockey men’s team arrived at the world championships in Barcelona, Spain, earlier this week and have made it known that they are a force to be reckoned with. Following this week’s matches, the Namibian Junior Men’s team for the first time reached the top 8 at the World Championships.

Namibia was placed in Pool B with Italy (last year’s silver medal winner), New Zealand and Ireland.

Pool B games

Namibia’s first game was against New Zealand. Last year Namibia beat New Zealand twice by a narrow margin, so going into the game the team knew they would have to be at the top of their game. Namibia came out flying with speed and passion and swarmed the Kiwis from start to finish, outshooting their opponents by 39 to 19 and winning the game 11-0.

“The win against New Zealand was a great start to our tournament,” said team captain, Amandus Roettcher. “We wanted to come out and show what we could do and play our game. I am really happy with the team.”

Namibia faced Ireland in their second game. Again, the local boys set the pace as best they could, using speed and fitness to their advantage, quickly peppering the Irish goalie. The first goal of the game was scored by Max Finkeldey, assisted by Stefan Bartsch. From there the goals continued for Team Namibia, ensuring a win of 18-2, outshooting their opponent 45-9.

The third and last game in Pool B was against Italy. It was a big game for Namibia and thanks to their win, they went through to the World Championship Medal Round, a feat never accomplished by a men’s team from Namibia before.

Medal round

In the next round, a game against the USA followed. The opponents came out hard and scored 2 goals in the first two minutes of play. Thereafter Namibia settled down and began to find their feet. For the next 35 minutes Namibia fought their way back and with just under 3 minutes left in the game, the score was 5-3. However, in spite of excellent efforts to get the puck and hope for a good scoring chance, this was not Namibia’s day and the final score saw the USA winning 8-4.

The next morning Namibia was at it again, playing against Sweden for placement 5 to 8.

Namibia quickly found themselves down 3-0, but thanks to better focus, they began to chip away at the Swedish lead and by halftime the score was 3-3. The second half was a back and forth affair, with Sweden taking a lead and then Namibia scoring an equalizer. Late in the game with the score 4-4, Sweden scored with less than 2 minutes left. Then Namibia pulled their goalie in favour of another attacking player and scored with 42 seconds left in the game to tie it up and send the game to golden-goal overtime. Then, with 19 seconds left in overtime, Namibia scored the golden goal and won the game 6-5.

Top scorer

Namibia’s Christian Coetzee was leading all goal scorers in the tournament with 16, while captain Roettcher is leading all players in assists (11). “I am really happy with our play so far,” said Roetcher. “We have had some ups and downs, but have come out to play every game. Our goal was to show the world what we can do and that a country like Namibia in terms of available pool of inline hockey players can compete with the big boys. I think we have earned the respect of many countries and have been successful during this tour. I am proud of my teammates!”

The championships are set to continue this week.

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