Although it had been hinted at a couple of weeks ago, today the FIH confirmed that the next Indoor Hockey World Cup will be hosted in Berlin from the 7-11 February 2018. This will be the fifth Indoor Hockey World Cup and the third hosted by Germany after Liepzig played host in 2003 and 2015. The competition in the capital city will take place in the 7,500 seat Max-Schmeling-Halle, hoping to emulate the crowds recently seen in Cape Town at the Pro Series Indoor Nationals.
South African Men’s coach Pierre le Roux shared this on the announcement: “Berlin is a fantastic venue for the Indoor Hockey World Cup. Germany Indoor is well established as the best in the world and to have them host the World Cup in front of passionate fans is fitting. The venue also provides more motivation for SA Players to be selected and qualify at the African Cup ”
In terms of the World Cup, both the Men’s and Women’s tournaments will feature the hosts Germany alongside five Continental Qualifiers. The remaining 6 teams will be filled by European nations in the ladies game and 5 European nations along with 1 Asian Nations in the men’s game. This is based on performance at the 2015 World Cup.
In 2015 Netherlands produced the double when their ladies overcame Germany to win their second title and their men, inspired by Robert Tigges, shocked the World in overcoming the Germans in the semi-final and Austria in a thrilling final. Prior to that it had been German domination as Deutschland had won five of the 6 titles losing only the ladies title in 2007 when Netherlands won.
South Africa will be looking to qualify by winning the African competition, with most likely competition coming from Namibia, specifically in the ladies game. At present the African qualifier, which will occur in September, could take place in Nambia or Morocco which will also prove a costly and challenging exercise. If South Africa qualify then it will be the countries fourth appearance at the showpiece with the Men having a previous best finish of 10th and the ladies best finish was 9th in 2015.
Having recently witnessed the quality of Germans Mo Furste and the Wess brothers there is no doubt that the Germans will play an outstanding host to the World Cup once again.