Namibia: Young Squads Selected for Afcon Qualifier

Soccer, football

TWO young field hockey squads have been selected to represent Namibia at the Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in Harare, Zimbabwe from 1 to 9 May.

Both Namibia's men and women's teams will compete at the southern African qualifier in Harare, where the winning men and women's teams will progress to the Afcon finals, which are scheduled to take place in Potchefstroom, South Africa later this year.

The men's team is dominated by players from Saints, with 11 of the 23-man squad from their ranks. DTS have six representatives, Windhoek Old Boys four and Nust two.

Only two members are older than 22, namely DTS goal keeper DJ Strauss and Saints midfielder Brynn Cleak, while 16 members are younger than 22. They include eight players who are 18 or younger, with four members still at school, while DTS striker JP Britz is the youngest at 16.

The final squad will still be trimmed down to 16 or 18 players, although discussions about whether the Harare qualifier will go ahead, are still ongoing, according to the Namibia Hockey Union's secretary Jens Unterlerchner.

"We are waiting for confirmation from the Africa Hockey Union whether the tournament will go ahead. As this is a qualifier for the Afcon tournament to be played later this year, there is a discussion currently taking place whether to cancel the qualifier and to rather allow all the teams to participate at Afcon as was done in the past. The costs involved and Covid-19 regulations are the main reasons," he said.

The senior men's squad is as follows:

DJ Strauss, Christopher DÁlton, David Britz, Ivan Semedo, Percy Barthram, JP Britz (all DTS); Brynn Cleak, Cody van der Merwe, Craig McNally, Dakota Hansen, Damien Schütz, Fagan Hansen, Joseph van Niekerk, Liam Hermanus, Nico Neethling, Owen Hatton, Richter van Rooyen (Saints); Dylan Finch, Ernest Jacobs, Nico Jacobs, Matu Kavikairiua (Windhoek Old Boys); Alex Kurangera and Baggio Karigub (Nust).

The women's squad is even younger, with 14 of the 19 players also members of the national u21 squad, while nearly half are still at school.

DTS goal keeper Petro Stoffberg is the oldest member at 24 years of age, while DTS forward Jaime Gillies is the youngest at only 15.

Saints have the most representatives with nine players, followed by DTS with five, Windhoek Old Boys with four and Wanderers with one.

The senior women's squad is as follows:

Petro Stoffberg, Caitlin Gillies, Cele Wessels, Jaime Gillies, Anthea Coetzee (DTS); Sunelle Ludwig, Gillian Hermanus, Sasha Brinkmann, Jo-Ane van Rooyen, Kiana Cormack, Danja Meyer, Azaylee Philander, Tara Myburgh, Amber Dercksen (Saints), Jivanka Kruger, Jahntwa Kruger, Armin van Staden, Kaela Schimming (Windhoek Old Boys); and Britta Haensel (Wanderers).

Meanwhile, the final trials for the indoor senior women's team will be held this week with four matches scheduled to take place at the Windhoek Showgrounds.

The indoor team will represent Namibia at the Indoor Afcon qualifier in Durban from 15 to 18 April, where the winning team will qualify for the Indoor World Cup in Liege, Belgium on 3-6 February 2022.

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