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Namibia to compete at Fistball World Cup  - by newsdesk, 18/07/2011

Namibia will send a men’s team to participate at the 13th Fistball World Cup in Vienna, Austria from 7 to 14 August.

Namibia will participate in the tournament alongside other national teams including Brazil, Germany and the USA. “We will use this tournament to gain match experience in European conditions before the World Cup. The tournament will be played over two consecutive days,” Groegli said. “This will also be the first chance that Christian Schluep, a former Swiss international, will have to see the Namibian players in action.” Schluep will coach the team alongside Groegli for the World Cup. He previously coached the Namibian team at the 2003 and 2007 World Cups. His task will be to analyse the team’s shortcomings during the Obersee Masters tournament and work at correcting them during the training camp that will follow.

The team will then travel to Vienna, where they will be playing their opening match against Serbia on the 7th of August. “In the past we could confidently challenge and compete against teams like Argentina, Italy and Chile, but with the influx of new and unknown fistball nations at the World Cup we cannot be sure which countries will be our biggest competitors,” Groegli said. The Namibian team is largely inexperienced with four of their players having never played international matches. Only three of the players have played for the national team.

Michael Baas is the most experienced player in the team, with a total of 59 international caps. The 44-year-old spiker is expected to play a supporting role to the youngsters in the team, especially to Kubirske who has taken over the captaincy and the role of lead spiker from him. Another spiker in the team will be Arend von Stryk, who will be one of the few Namibians who have represented the country in more than one sport code. Von Stryk has represented Namibia in the national football team, the Brave Warriors, on a number of occasions. Groegli will be aiming to get the eighth place finish Namibia achieved at the last World Cup in 2007 or better it. “The chances of achieving this will be dependent on the team’s performance in the preliminary round where they will play Brazil and Serbia on the first day of the World Cup,” Groegli said. “A win against Serbia will set the scene for a strong finish in the round robin leg of the competition which follows the first round.” “One thing is for sure, whatever we want to achieve will need a lot of grit, determination and hardwork,” Groegli concluded.

The captain of the team, Christof Kubirske said the team would leave Namibia at the end of July. “We will leave Namibia on the 28th of July and our first stop will be Jona, Switzerland where we will have a week long training camp,” Kubirske said.

The Namibian team coach, Stefan Groegli explained what the week in Jona will have in store for the team. “This will be a tough week in which we will try and prepare the team as best as possible,” Groegli said. “A few hours after arriving in Switzerland, the Namibians will face Chile, who are also participating in the World Cup, in an international friendly. This game will act as a curtain raiser for the Obersee Masters, a tournament for club sides which is considered the best in the world.”


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