NAMIBIA will be involved in several international sporting events during 2023, with the Indoor Hockey World Cup and the Rugby World Cup topping the list.
Both Namibia’s men and women’s hockey teams will be in action at the Indoor Hockey World Cup which takes place in Pretoria, South Africa from 5 to 11 February.
The women are busy with an intensive training programme in Windhoek, before they leave for the Netherlands on 14 January to step up their preparations with matches against the Dutch national side and other Dutch clubs.
At the Indoor Hockey World Cup, Namibia will compete in Pool B against Ukraine, the Czech Republic, Kazakhstan, Belgium and Canada, while Pool A consists of the Netherlands, Austria, Australia, United States, South Africa and New Zealand.
The top four teams in each pool will qualify for the knockout stage of the competition.
Namibia will be aiming to improve on their performance at the 2018 Indoor World Cup in Berlin where they narrowly missed out on the quarterfinals, to eventually finish ninth.
Namibia’s men’s team will continue their preparations in Windhoek, after having competed against South Africa in a five-match series in Cape Town in December.
Namibia managed to hold SA to two draws in the first two tests, but SA won the next three tests to win the series 3-0.
Namibia’s men will compete in Pool A against Austria, the Netherlands, Belgium, Kazakhstan and New Zealand, while Pool B will consist of Iran, the Czech Republic, Australia, South Africa, the United States and Argentina.
The top four teams in each pool will qualify for the knockout stages of the tournament.
It will be the second time that Namibia’s men compete at the Indoor World Cup following their debut in Poznan, Poland in 2011 when they finished last out of 12 competing nations.
Rugby World Cup
The Rugby World Cup takes place in France from 8 September to 28 October, where Namibia will join 19 other nations at the quadrennial global showpiece.
Namibia qualified for their seventh successive world cup when they won the Africa Cup in France last year after beating Kenya 36-0 in the final.
They, however, will face much tougher opposition at the world cup, where they will compete against the hosts, France, and three-time winners New Zealand in Pool A, along with Italy and Uruguay.
France and New Zealand are the strong favourites to progress to the knockout stages, but Namibia will be hoping to get that elusive first win when they meet Uruguay on 27 September at Parc Olympique Lyonnais in the Lyon Metropolis.
Namibia has made rapid progress in Mixed Martial Arts and will send a team to the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation World Championships for the first time.
The championships will be held next month at the Stark Arena in the Serbian capital, Belgrade, starting on 12 February.
The Namibian team includes the African featherweight champion Veja Hinda, who also came second in an international competition for the top knockouts of 2022, as well as the African lightweight runner-up Geraldo Bok.
Cricket World Cup Qualifiers
Namibia’s national men’s cricket team the Richelieu Eagles will be involved in several international tournaments this year, including qualifying events for the 2023 Cricket World Cup and the 2024 T20 World Cup.
Namibia are currently involved in a tough qualifying campaign for the 2023 50-over world cup which includes two tournaments – in Windhoek from 24 March to 5 April, and Zimbabwe from 18 June to 9 July.
If Namibia finishes amongst the top three teams in the ongoing Cricket World Cup League 2 series, they will qualify directly for the Zimbabwe tournament, but if they finish in the bottom four they will have to compete in the Windhoek tournament, where the top two progress to Zimbabwe. The top two nations in Zimbabwe will join eight other nations at the 2023 50-over world cup which takes place in India in October and November this year.
The nations that have already qualified for the world cup are the hosts, India, along with Afghanistan, Australian Bangladesh, England, Pakistan and New Zealand.
In October, Namibia will also host the Africa Qualifier for the 2024 Mens T20 World Cup, which takes place in the West Indies and the United States in June 2024.
Seven countries will compete in Windhoek, namely Namibia, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Nigeria and Tanzania, with the top two nations qualifying for the T20 World Cup.
In athletics, Christine Mboma and Beatrice Masilingi will lead Namibia’s charge on the international stage, with the highlights being the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary in August and the Diamond League, which includes 15 events across 12 countries and four continents, starting in May.