Okonjima Dragons clinch Africa Cup


Rudi Bowe and Eileen van der Schyff

The third Africa Cup hosted by the Namibian Ice- and Inline Hockey Association (NIIHA) over the past weekend at The Dome in Swakopmund was won by the Okonjima Dragons when they beat Namibia Senior Men’s team 6-2 in the final.

Nine Teams competed in the Open division, consisting of local players and players from Canada, Spain, Germany, France, Brazil, Australia, India and South Africa.
Namibia was represented by the Namibia Junior and Senior Men Teams that received their national colours from Freddy Mwiya from the Namibia Sports Commission on the occasion of the opening ceremony of Africa Cup.
Namibia Sports Commission (NSC) Chief Administrator Freddy Mwiya handed over the national colours to Namibian Junior and Senior Men Inline Hockey Teams that represented Namibia at the Africa Inline Hockey Cup.
Mwiya said at the opening ceremony of Africa Inline Hockey Cup that national colours is an award and an accolade given only to athletes that have performed beyond reasonable doubt and have shown great commitment to their sport and that all the national teams as well as players representing Namibia should represent the country with pride.
“National sport colours are the greatest accolade that an athlete in Namibia can receive” Mwiya added.
The event opened with a All Star game between Team Africa that consist of players from Namibian and South African national players and Team World with players from all the teams from the other countries.
For the first time at the Inline Hockey Cup an All Star game between Team Africa and Team World was played. Team Africa consists of National players from Namibia and South Africa and Team World was made up with players from all the teams from the other countries.
The All Star game was won by Team World 6-5 after a penalty shootout after the full-time score was fife each.
The highlight of this year’s Africa Cup was a first ever “All-Star” game between Team Africa and Team World. Team Africa consisted of the best National Players from Namibian and South African with Team World made up with players from around the world.
The selection of these teams was supported by inter-national referees from the USA, Switzerland and Ger-many who assisted NIIHA and overseeing that the fair play and rules be enforced supported selected the teams.
This action-packed game was tied 5-5 after normal time, with a tie-breaker in the form of a penalty shoot-out Team World won 6-5.
The tournament started with a round robin format within two pools, where after the play-offs for placing and the finals where staged.
The Okonjima Dragons, who defended the cup they won last year, played against the Namibia Senior Men’s Team in the Finals.
Namibia Senior Men’s team started off quickly with scoring two goals that had the supporting crowd off their seats. However the Dragons bounced back and ended the first half with a 3-2 lead. The Dragons came back strong in the second period and scored three more goals. Despite several attacks from the Namibians on the opposing goal and could not hit the puck home.
Okonjima Dragons won the African Cup for a second consecutive year as they beat Namibia 6-2. The Namibia Senior Men’s team won the first Africa Cup and reached the finals in all three events.
Third place went to Team Hockey shop Forster from Germany who beat Namibia Junior Men 12-1, thus ending in 4th Place. Buron Warriors from Germany ended 5th, followed by Moose Knuckles (South Africa) 6th, Rhinos 7th, Taleni Africa Dare Devils 8th and Bandits in 9th place.
The Top Scorer and MVP (Most Valued Player) Awards, established via game statistics and the awards committee, went to Dave Hammond from Okonjima Dragons.
The Top Defense Man Title was awarded to Sean Liechti, with Ruben Bacher being awarded the Top Goalie Title. Both hail from the Namibia Senior Men Team.
With youth development a high priority within NIIHA an Under-14 Division was also offered for the first time at 2019 Africa Cup. This was done to provide an oppor-tunity for the younger players and prepare them for the future. A total of eight teams, with one team player from Taiwan entered.
In the Under 14 division, relatively equal placed teams and players fought is out in a round robin format as well, with the 4th placed team from Pool B (Team Weimann’s Carpentry) playing the 2nd seed of Pool A (Team FNB) in the Final. Team Weimann’s Carpentry clinched the U14 Africa Cup after winning Team FNB 4-3.
The Top Scorer and MVP Awards went to Corinna Weimann (Team Weimann’s Carpentry), with Top Scorer being awarded to Mati Laporte (Team FNB) and Top Goalie to Bridgit Justinussen (Team Pupkewitz Von Baum’s Motors).
A separate skills competition was also held for the Under 14 Teams and the Winners are as follows; Fastest Skater – Micah Januarie, Top Scorer – Keanan Simpson and Top Goalie – Jada Tati.
With Africa Cup 2019 concluded, the Junior and Senior Men’s Teams have one more training camp to prepare them for representing Namibia at the World Roller Games in Barcelona, Spain, at the end of June.

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