South Africa: All Eyes on Swakopmund as African Indoor World Cup Spots Are Up for Grabs

For the first time in African indoor hockey history, four nations will compete for the title of African Indoor Champions as the Indoor World Cup Qualifier kicks off in Swakopmund on Thursday.

Hosts Namibia, along with Botswana and Zimbabwe, will vie for a coveted place at the 2025 FIH Indoor World Cup in Porenc, Croatia. Thanks to the South African team’s stellar performance at the 2023 FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup in Pretoria, there are now two spots available for African nations.

SPAR South Africa made history by becoming the first African team to reach the final four of the Indoor World Cup, securing a second spot for Africa in the women’s tournament. That groundbreaking team was led by head coach Lennie Botha and captain Jess O’Connor, both of whom retired post-tournament. Now, the mantle has passed to AJ Spieringshoek and Jamie Southgate, who aim to clinch an African title that has eluded SPAR South Africa’s ladies in the previous two editions. This team is markedly different from the one that narrowly lost the final at this venue in 2017, with no members from that squad remaining.

Defending champions Namibia also triumphed in the inaugural Kathea Energy Nkosi Cup in Cape Town in December, though they fell to South Africa in the Tuanku Zara Cup final. Zimbabwe showed promise in the 2017 tournament, while Botswana is eager to demonstrate their improvement since suffering heavy defeats in the 2022 edition.

In the men’s division, both South Africa and Namibia advanced to the quarterfinals of the FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup. However, it was South Africa’s sixth-place finish that secured two spots for the continent in Croatia.

South Africa, supported by Tops at SPAR, has been the dominant force in African hockey, winning every African qualifier to date, including the last one held at this venue. Despite their impressive record against Namibia, they remain cautious of the threat posed by Trevor Cormack’s side.

Zimbabwe, absent from the last edition, showed incredible fight in their previous Swakopmund appearance and remain a wild card due to their extended absence from international matches. Botswana hopes for a better showing than in Durban as they continue to develop as an indoor hockey nation.

The tournament will be live-streamed on One Up Two through the NTV page here, with updates available on the South African Hockey social media pages.

Fixtures – Indoor Africa Cup 2024 – Men

23 May 2024 – 17:00 – South Africa vs. Botswana
24 May 2024 – 20:00 – Namibia vs. South Africa
25 May 2024 – 11:00 – South Africa vs. Zimbabwe
26 May 2024 – 14:00 – Bronze Medal Match
26 May 2024 – 17:00 – Gold Medal Match

Fixtures – Indoor Africa Cup 2024 – Women

23 May 2024 – 15:30 – South Africa vs. Botswana
24 May 2024 – 17:00 – Namibia vs. South Africa
25 May 2024 – 12:30 – South Africa vs. Zimbabwe
26 May 2024 – 12:30 – Bronze Medal Match
26 May 2024 – 15:30 – Gold Medal Match

by South Africa

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