Namibia
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Hockey stars still unpaid, as Nam readies for Zim series

The Namibia Hockey Union (NHU) will settle outstanding dues to the national hockey teams once funds are secured from its backers, the federation’s spokesperson, Tunomwaameni Epafras, says.

The teams are owed monies for competing at the Hockey World Cup in South Africa earlier this year.

Namibia reached the quarter-finals in the men’s section, going down 3-2 to the United States in their last eight clash.

The women, who also played gallantly, ended 12th.

“The one thing most sport codes in the country continue to suffer from is funding, and that is currently our biggest issue,” Epafras said in a recent interview with Desert Radio.

“We’ve been expecting funding, not only from the government, but also our sponsors. But it’s been quite slow.

“If something does come through, we’ll put it through to them. They should just hold on a little bit with us, as we’re also holding on,” he said.

Epafras said the union plans to remedy its financial shortages through diversifying and developing new income streams.

“We’ve also started taking measures to ensure hockey becomes a self-sustaining sport. We are looking into possible business ventures to see what we can do so we don’t have to run after the government to fund us for a tournament or so,” he said.

ZIMBABWE SERIES

Meanwhile, Namibia is preparing to welcome Zimbabwe’s under-16A and under-18A teams next month to revive their annual development series.

The outdoor test series for boys and girls will take place at Windhoek High School from 6 to 8 July.

“It’s been a while since the two nations played against each other. This was a series that usually took place every year, but due to Covid-19 it couldn’t take place in 2020.

“So, now it’s back on again, and preparations are moving quite smoothly. We’re excited,” Epafras said.

The NHU announced the four squads of 18 players each on Monday.

“The series is important for youth players. This is the system that injects youth players into the senior teams, especially with other international tournaments coming up.

“Namibia is known for sending young players to these international competitions, so the boys and girls would want to show their best in these series,” he said.

“With Zimbabwe, the competition in the test series has always been hard. I know in the last test series the ladies lost by one match, but the guys won all three games.

“So, this one is going to be quite interesting. We are informed that they are well prepared,” he said.

“We’re looking at having junior tournaments with other countries as well. So, we want to start here and build up towards that.”

Zimbabwe under-18 head coach Tendayi Maredza says their tour of Namibia is vital for the development of up-and-coming players.

“Preparations have been going well. It’s a very good series for these juniors to develop their skills and prepare them for the next step, which is the Zimbabwe under-21s,” Maredza told The Herald of Zimbabwe.

“I think at junior level, we’ve actually done well in hockey, and with more of these games, this is going to help our players, because we always lack international exposure.”