The Namibian Ice and Inline Association (NIIHA) sent a Senior Men’s Team to Roccaraso, Italy for the
World Championships of roller hockey. The World Championships took place September 13th thru to
September 19th.

Due to worldwide lockdowns, the World Championships were cancelled in 2020 and postponed this
year until a suitable country could host the event. 16 Countries attended the event this year and
everyone ecstatic to see world class hockey being played again on its biggest stage.

The Namibian National team has been practicing as much as they could the last 2 years, and more so
the last month before leaving for Italy. Once the travel ban and contact sport ban was removed, the
entire team moved to Swakopmund and trained together for the last month at the Dome, which is
the home of the Coastal Pirates and National Team Head Coach Brian Sobel.

Coach Sobel commented before the tournament, “In a normal year we hold five to seven training
camps or roughly one a month. With the lockdown on our sport, we missed about three months of
training. Having the entire team commit to moving to Swakopmund and train together six days a
week has really brought the guys much closer, and they have a great sense of who they are and what
they need to do. I feel this month together will only benefit us moving forward and really look
forward to seeing how we compete against the other countries”.

Namibia’s current world ranking is 15th and has been placed in Group D along with Germany,
Argentina, and India. After round robin play the 1 seed from Group D will play a play-off game to
move into the top 8 and play for the World Championship. All remain Group D teams will play against
Group C teams (Latvia, Mexico, Chinese Taipei, and Poland) for the World Skate Cup.

Namibia was set to send a Junior Men’s team this year, but the Junior Division was cancelled, and
World Skate decided only to support a Senior Division. The Namibian team lost two players due to
their age but was able to add 3 more veteran players to the team, all of which have 3 to 4 years
junior experience and 1 to 2 years of Senior experience.

The team is captained by Sean Liechti, with Henrik Diekmann and Christiaan Coetzee as assistant
captains. Returning veteran players Amandus Röttcher, Max Finkeldey, Tiago Kutz and Pablo Laporte.
Top rookies Luca Mentzel, Keanan Simpson, Valerik Hilbert and Arian Van Der Plas. And the team
rounds out nicely with Henning Schulze, JW Coetzee, Kean Redelinghuys, Julian Dedig and Jürgen
Tegetoff. The assistant coach is Luke Stamatiadis and team manager is Lucille Coetzee.

Once arriving in Italy and booked into their hotel, a covid test was required to get clearance to enter
the rink. One session was booked to get a feel for the court and loosen the muscles from the long
travels, before the competition started.

In their group D matches the following results were achieved:

  • Namibia vs India 20-0
  • Namibia vs Argentina 1-0
  • Namibia vs Germany 8-0

Namibia topped group D and qualified to play a play-off match against Slovakia. The winner of this match would go into the quarterfinals of the World Cup. Unfortunately, Namibia lost 3-6 to Slovakia after a strong performance from our boys.

This put them back into the quarter finals of the lower groups to play for the World Skate Cup.

  • Quarterfinals: Namibia vs Mexico 6-2
  • Semi-finals: Namibia vs Germany 3-0
  • Finals: Namibia vs Argentina 1-2 after over time

Namibia vs Argentina
Namibia came out firing on all cylinders and established control of play from the first faceoff. Arian
Van Der Plas was in the goals for Namibia. The game was fast paced and tight but with Namibia
having the best chances throughout the entire first half. Namibia’s hard work paid off and Argentina
took several penalties which would give Namibia an advantage. However, Namibia could not beat the
Argentinian goalie. Late in the first period Namibia finally broke through and scored on a power play
when Luca Mentzel buried a short side shot over the goalie’s shoulder, assisted by Amandus
Röttcher. The half ended with Namibia in the lead 1-0. The second half started much as the first with
Namibia in possession and control, but this time Argentina would keep applying pressure looking for
any weaknesses in the Namibian defence. Argentina had no luck. The action continued to go back
and forth always with Namibia having the better chances, but still not able to beat the excellent play
of the Argentinian goalie. With less than a minute to play in the game Argentina shot a puck which
deflected off a Namibian defenseman and bounced into the net. The score now 1-1 time ended, and
the game went to golden goal overtime. The beginning of overtime had Namibia applying pressure to
Argentina but still not able to beat the Argentinian goalie. On a good defensive play by Argentina
which gained them possession of the puck, Argentina pushed up the rink and found the back of the
goal and won the game. Namibia would finish with the silver medal for the World Skate Cup and
place 10th in the World.