Captain of the men’s national field hockey team Terry Butcher said they aim to reach the playoffs of the upcoming African Cup of Nations Field Hockey 2022 set for Accra, Ghana from 17 to 23 January.
Namibia will be represented by both men’s and women’s teams at the seven-day event.
Speaking during their sent-off ceremony yesterday, Butcher said it won’t be easy but promised to give it their all.
“The expectation is to go out there and try to do our best. We have not gotten the ranking points that we’ve been looking for, but the main aim would be to push above our limits and make the nation proud,” he added.
Seven countries will compete in the men’s competition that sees Namibia in Pool A with South Africa and Kenya. Their first game is against South Africa on Monday and against Kenya on Tuesday.
“I know we can do well against them and that will give us a chance to advance to the next stage,” Butcher said.
Meanwhile, women’s captain Wiandri Ludwig said the players are prepared to take on Africa’s best, adding they have worked hard and believe they can cause an upset against the top teams.
“The most important thing is we’ve decided that we are not going to participate but we are going to compete, and show everyone that we are capable of doing this and represent our country well,” said Ludwig.
In terms of overall readiness, she said the team deserves to be where they are, because they have worked hard and earned their stripes, adding the players are mentally and physically ready for the
“We have worked hard, we have practised and put in those extra hours. And I think it’s time we go and show everyone that we want this and more importantly, we deserve everything,” she said.
The women’s competition will be the eighth edition of Afcon. South Africa are the seven-time defend ng champions, winning the 2017 edition. The winner will qualify for the 2022 Women’s Hockey World Cup.
Namibia are competing against seven other countries and are in Pool A with South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe.
Their first match is against Uganda on Monday, South Africa on Tuesday and Zimbabwe on Thursday.
Also speaking at the ceremony, Namibia Hockey Union president, Reagon Graig said the teams should represent the nation to their full capacity.
He also cautioned the teams to protect themselves at all times against the novel coronavirus.
“Within that context, please be aware that we are in unusual times. Please do not take risks by being exposed, because there are consequences that we as management will have to deal with. Please be responsible and do not get sick; come back healthy,” he urged.