The countdown is on for the 6th FIH Hockey Indoor World Cup, presented by SPAR, as 12 countries gear up to compete for the coveted title on African soil. With Germany opting out of the tournament, the door is open for other teams to step up and take the crown. The tournament will feature one debutant, New Zealand, who will be an unknown quantity for their opponents in Pool A.
Hosts SPAR South Africa will also participate in their 4th World Cup, with their best finish being 9th in 2015. The home team will be looking to make a strong showing and secure a spot in the quarter-finals in front of an excited crowd.
Two-time winners and tournament favorites Netherlands will be the team to beat, not only in Pool A but in the tournament overall. They recently finished as runners-up in the EuroHockey Indoor Championship. Austria, also returning to the tournament, will be looking to replicate their fourth-place finish in 2015.
Rounding out Pool A are ever-present Australia and two-time qualifiers United States. The competition for a place in the Quarter-Finals in Pool A is sure to be fierce and exciting.
In Pool B, the favorites are the European bronze medalists Ukraine, however, they will face tough competition from the Asian Champions Kazakhstan, African champions Namibia, and European powerhouses the Czech Republic.
Namibia is competing in their second consecutive tournament after successfully defending their African title in KwaZulu Natal last year. Kazakhstan, on the other hand, secured their spot by winning the Indoor Asian Championship in 2019, but were not as successful in the 2022 edition and will be looking to improve in Pretoria.
The Czech Republic will also be looking to showcase their form that led them to a bronze medal in Europe in 2020 and their status as a formidable team in indoor hockey. Belgium was originally set to host the tournament in Liege in 2022, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they were unable to do so. As hosts, they still qualified for the tournament and are determined to prove their worth on the court.
The final team in the tournament is Canada, the runners-up in the Pan American Games. They will be making their third World Cup appearance and will aim to make an impact and qualify for the quarter-final stage
It promises to be an exhilarating tournament with high octane action! Make sure you get your tickets and are part of the history (https://itickets.co.za/events/470639)