Namibia Triumphs in Historic Sultan Nazrin Shah Cup: Brynn Cleak's Heroic Goal Seals Victory
BY: Michelle Liew
In a thrilling culmination to the first edition of the Sultan Nazrin Shah Cup International Indoor Hockey Championship, Namibia emerged as the triumphant champion in a nail-biting final against South Africa. The match, which saw both teams locked at 2-2 after 40 intense minutes, had to be settled through a penalty shootout at the Indera Mulia Stadium.
Despite entering the tournament as a non-seeded team, Namibia, currently ranked 13th globally, showcased their mettle from the start. Fagan Hansen's field goal in the 10th minute set the tone for Namibia's fierce competition. Just seven minutes later, Trevor Cormack's attacking prowess bore fruit when Brynn Cleak's field goal extended Namibia's led to two goals.
South Africa, undeterred by being two goals down, staged a comeback with Keegan Hezlett converting a crucial penalty corner in the 26th minute. The pressure continued in the fourth quarter, and Jethro Eustice found the net in the 32nd minute, levelling the score.
As the match approached its conclusion, Namibia had a golden opportunity to take the lead, but Cody Merwe's shot was thwarted by South African goalkeeper Phemelo Ramatlotlo. With the deadlock unbroken, the match entered a penalty shootout, favouring Namibia after Keegan Hezlett missed a crucial penalty kick.
In a separate encounter for third and fourth place, New Zealand secured a 6-4 victory over Australia. Meanwhile, the South African women's hockey team clinched the Tuanku Zara Cup International Indoor Hockey Championship 2nd Edition by defeating Switzerland 4-3 in a penalty shootout after a 1-1 draw.
The awards ceremony, graced by the presence of Tuanku Zara Salim, the King Queen of Perak, celebrated the outstanding achievements of all the winners, with trophies and medals presented in recognition of their skill and sportsmanship.
The six-day tournament, which commenced on November 6, brought together formidable teams from South Africa, Australia, Namibia, Switzerland, New Zealand, Hong Kong, and Malaysia. Namibia's victory not only etched their name in the annals of the Sultan Nazrin Shah Cup but also showcased their resilience and determination in the highly competitive world of international indoor hockey.