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Namibia battle hard at fistball worlds

Namibia have taken heart from their two losing performances at the 16th Fistball Men’s World Championship in Sinsheim, Germany, so far.

On Saturday, they went down 3-0 to World Champions Germany in their first match of the tournament. While the scoreline suggests it was a walk in the park for the hosts, it was anything but, says Helmo Minz, Fistball Association of Namibia media officer.

“Our fighting was on point, it was very good. The guys were in top shape. We lost the match 3-0 but, with the strong supporters that we have here, we showed a strong performance, we fascinated spectators,” Minz told Desert Radio yesterday.

“So, all in all, it was a good start to the tournament. We knew it was always going to be difficult to score a point [against Germany]. But nonetheless, I think we can be proud of ourselves to have played such an opening encounter.”

Yesterday, Namibia played Italy and lost 3-0 in what the International Fistball Association (IFA) described as “a captivating performance” which ended in the Europeans favour.

The Azzuris, won two of the three sets in overtime. Namibia put up a passionate fight but could not reward themselves with a set win.

“Every set was closely fought for. And, in every set we had a chance to win the set, it’s a bit of shame we didn’t do so because, even in the last set, we were four points ahead and gave it away,” Minz said.

“Italy is also much stronger than we are actually and our tactics worked very well, the fact that we were always in the game and in reach of winning a set. Italy had to fight for this, it was a tough one.

“We’re proud of ourselves to have come so close,” he said.

The motivation is so high, we look forward to the game [yesterday] against Switzerland. This will conclude the group stages and then tomorrow [today] there will be another match against the first [team] in Group D. We shall see if we can stay in the top eight.

The United States of America presently leads Group D and are likely to be Namibia’s next opponents.

“As I said, we’re in good spirits and motivation is high. There are no injuries until now, so let’s hope it stays that way,” said Minz.

The matches will be played in four preliminary groups. The top eight nations from the last World Championship were divided into groups A and B. The first and second-placed teams from groups A and B will qualify directly for the quarterfinals. While the first and second-placed teams in Groups A and B qualify directly for the quarterfinals, the first and second-placed teams in Groups C and D play with the third and fourth-placed teams in Groups A and B to qualify for the quarter-finals.

The losers of the quarter-final qualifiers and the other teams in Groups C and D will then compete in the so-called President’s Cup and play out ninth to 16th place among themselves. The other teams will battle it out for the title.