24 teams representing 14 countries ventured to the southern tip of Africa, to a country renowned for its collection of wildlife. In the wild it is the strongest that survive and are ultimately the king of the bush. The Indoor hockey World Cup, presented by SPAR, was no different as the Austrian Men and Netherlands Women become the undisputed kings and queens of the court and more importantly the world.
The Austrian men had entered the tournament as favourites on the back of their European Championship title and cantered their way to the final. The unstoppable force though met an immovable object in the Dutch and an incredible final could not be separated until a penalty shootout decided the game with the Austrians defending their crown and remaining the undisputed champs of Indoor Hockey.
The Dutch women also arrived as the favourites in the absence of Germany, and they embraced it winning 8 out of 8 games in a sprint to the title. Donja Zwinkels inspired her country with performances that ranged from sublime to extraordinary as the Netherlands collected their third FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup.
The SPAR South African women captivated the nation in their march to the semi-finals. Although they were unable to win the bronze medal, they most definitely did win the hearts of the South African sporting family as their performance was one that was unprecedented by an African nation.
The SA Hockey Men, powered by Tops at SPAR, were arguably the most exciting team in the tournament. They played with purpose and confidence led by Jethro Eustice and Justin Domleo, while the Cassiem brothers along with Ryan Julius give the team a flair that is second to none.
Michael Körper is elated after winning the second Indoor Hockey World Cup title. Körper himself scored 17 goals in just 6 games! #IHWC2023 @hockeyverband @osakahockey pic.twitter.com/tilIws1QDg— International Hockey Federation (@FIH_Hockey) February 11, 2023
The sixth indoor hockey world cup came, it saw, and it was conquered. And incredible event that may well and truly inspire the future generations and leave a legacy that will live long in the memory of African Hockey.
THE TOURNAMENT AWARD WINNERS WERE:
Best men's junior player: Mustapha Cassiem (South Africa)
Best women's junior player: Reese D’Ariano (United States of America)
Best men's goalkeeper: Mateusz Szymczyk (Austria)
Best women's goalkeeper: Barbora Chechakova (Czech Republic)
Men's top goal-scorer: Michael Korper (Austria)
Women's top goal-scorer: Donja Zwinkels (Netherlands)
Men's player of the tournament: Fabian Unterkircher (Austria)
Women's player of the tournament: Donja Zwinkels (Netherlands)
It was an incredible FIH Indoor Hockey Cup. The African sun has now set on what will forever be remembered fondly.
Here are the final standings from the FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup 2023 #IHWC2023 pic.twitter.com/2EaWHjiE4E— SA Hockey (@SA_Hockey) February 12, 2023