Captain America and the Africa Cup.

Just as the superhero Captain America captivates the hearts of countless kids, the current captain of the USA national inline hockey team and a host of professional players have embarked on a teaching mission to inspire young talents as young as four years old. This remarkable spectacle is happening at the MTC Dome where the Africa Cup is in full swing.

The event is not only an opportunity for aspiring inline hockey players to be coached by top professional players but also offers the opportunity to play alongside the pros. The impressive lineup of over 60 games sees 29 teams participating as multi-national teams.

Travis Noe, the captain of the USA national team, has been playing professionally since 2011 and steered his team to three World Cup victories. He shared his thoughts with LIN, “I didn’t know what to expect coming from California, but I was open to the experience. The natural beauty of the beach, the plants, and trees have enchanted me. The food has been a delightful journey, and the MTC Dome’s facility is nothing short of incredible. But most of all, it’s the warmth of the Namibian people that has made this time exceptionally special.”

The heart and soul of the Africa Cup is retired pro hockey player Dave Hammond who had the vision to make young players’ dreams come true by creating an event where they can play hockey and socialize alongside pro athletes and be coached by the world’s top players.

 A former international player himself, representing Canada in over 20 tournaments, Dave is a familiar face in the world of inline hockey. His affection for the sport led him to Namibian shores, where he not only found love for the country but also married a Namibian with whom he has four children living permanently now in Swakopmund.

Dave’s passion for the sport aligned seamlessly with Pama Golden Knights Academy, an initiative founded in 2020 by Pablo Navarro, a professional inline hockey player who represented Brazil internationally, but whose aspirations extended beyond personal achievements. Pablo’s academy offers free camps for players, goalies, and coaches. 

He said, “My project is the realization of a dream of mine; to challenge obstacles faced by underprivileged kids in developing countries where sports like inline hockey often lack the means to travel or even sustain themselves.”

His dedication was noticed by the Las Vegas Golden Knights which has fortified this selfless pursuit, resulting in a comprehensive coaching program. The academy now stands as a sanctuary for nurturing skills, personal growth, and teamwork, dismantling financial barriers that would otherwise hinder potential.

The dream team of Dave Hammond’s Africa Cup and Pablo Navarro’s Pama Golden Knights Academy Programes are the stuff movies are made of and judging by the many Namibian inline hockey players coming through these initiatives, some already playing professional inline hockey in Europe, it’s not long before we see our own Captain Namibia story in a Hollywood movie!

The Africa Cup is from August 21st to August 26th at the MTC Dome.

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