Namibia’s junior hockey teams gave a great account of themselves at the annual PSI National Championships in Cape Town during the holidays, by ending third overall against 14 of South Africa’s top franchises, while numerous individual awards were also won.
Namibia were represented by two franchises – the Hawks which competed in the A section and the Eagles which mostly competed in the B section.
Competing in five age group categories for boys and girls, Namibia won two gold, two silver and two bronze medals in the A section and two bronze medals in the B section.
The U-12 and U-13 Hawks girls teams won gold medals, while the U-18 Hawks boys and U-16 Hawks girls won silver medals.
The U-13 Eagles girls and U-12 Hawks boys won bronze medals in the A section, while the U-16 Eagles girls and U-18 Eagles boys won bronze medals in the B section.
Besides that, two more teams – the U-18 Hawks girls and the U-14 Hawks boys narrowly missed out on medals as they both finished fourth after being eliminated in the semifinals.
Namibian girls players also dominated the individual awards, winning the Player of the Series award in all the A section categories that they competed in.
Danja Meyer was player of the series in the U-11 category and Cele Wessels in the U-12 category.
Kiana Cormack was player of the series in the U-13 category and Phia Gerber in the U-18 category.
Namibia’s Dunelle van Taak, who played for the Boland Foxes where she is schooling this year, was the U-16 player of the series, while Namibia did not enter a team in the U-14 girls’ category.
Sonet Crous was the goalkeeper of the series in the U-13 A section, while Petro Stoffberg narrowly missed out on winning this award in the U-18 A category.
Besides this, the Namibian Eagles also won the Spirit Awards in the U-11 girls and boys, U-14 girls and boys and U-18 boys categories.
Namibian coach and owner of the Namibian franchises, Shayne Cormack, said it was a tremendous achievement.
“It is important to understand that we are a small country. In some cases we only had about eight players coming to trials for age groups in the senior categories. The B section is extremely competitive as new franchises try to earn a spot in the A section, so the standard is just as tough as in the A section,” she said.
“The impact that we are making at this tournament needs to be put in perspective. Namibia Hawks and Eagles were represented in 17 teams from U13 to U18 at the 2014 nationals, and eight teams in the U11 and U12 age groups. We had a tour party of 127 players in December and 68 at the Junior Nationals in July,” she added.
According to Cormack the tournament offered an opportunity for Namibian players to network, while numerous players were approached by South African coaches.
“Many of our players were identified and approached during this tournament, with the likes of the senior South African men and women’s field and indoor head coaches scouting for talent, and provincial coaches all identifying talent. It was good for some of our players to be in the right place at the right time to open doors for them,” she said.
Source : The Namibian