As the Seaflower Namibia hockey team jets off to Germany for the 2018 Indoor World Cup, decorated hockey star Maggie Mengo will be stepping on to the field for the last time, poised to make an exit statement. The team has been ramping up their training routines in recent weeks as they prepare to take on the planet’s best at the upcoming Indoor Hockey World Cup in Berlin, Germany taking place from 7 to 11 February.
The team’s preparations included matches against the continent’s leading mens indoor teams to boost their playing capacity.
Mengo, who is the team captain, has had her share of experience playing in Europe during her illustrious career. The team is made up mainly of young players, which Mengo feels is the strongest team possible.
“We have never prepared so well for a competition. I speak with confidence to say that the girls are physically and mentally ready.
Most of them might not be exposed to this level of competition but they have the heart and that is what will make us stand out.
The team is evenly balanced and you can see that each and every player is ready to bring their part to the table,” said the team leader.
“There is pressure on my shoulders as well as the rest of the team, but as soon as the whistle blows, I have to lead my team. We have a nation to make proud and I’m confident we will do good,” she added.
The Namibian team will rub shoulders against their Netherlands counterparts, three matches are lined up.
They will also play the USA ladies before the competition to familiarize themselves with the different playing styles.
The Namibian team will battle it out for victory against group heavyweights Germany, Czech Republic, Ukraine, Australia and Russia in Pool B. Namibia is ranked 14th on the International Hockey Federation (FIH) Women’s Hero World Rankings and they will have to overcome the pressure from Germany ranked 2nd, Czech Republic 3rd, Ukraine 7th, Australia 8th and Russia in 17th spot.
Despite the odds being stacked against the team, Mengo said Namibia stands a good chance of upsetting the group heavyweights.
“We might be underdogs in terms of competition status but our ranking tells a different story. We are not afraid of anyone at this stage. Ours is to leave a footprint for African teams and we will surprise them,” she said.
Namibia is the only African female team in the competition.
On 7 February, Namibia takes on Czech Republic in the morning and Germany later in the evening. The next day, Namibia will take on Australia, followed by Ukraine on the same day.
The team’s last pool game is against Russia.
They will meet up with their coach Erwin Handura today in Germany who left earlier.
The early departure is to allow the players room to acclimatise team leaves early to acclimatise to the foreign weather.
“It is in-door so it(weather) will not be a big issue for us. But we are leaving early just so that our bodies adapt well before the competition.”
The team comprises of Maggie Mengo (captain), Marcia Venter, Petro Stofberg, Ina Tjimbinaje Louis, Jocelle Deysel, Gillian Hermanus, Berencia Unotjari Diamond, Sunell Ludwig, Zani Van Lill, Dure Bosshof, Jeani Holz and Kiana Cormack.