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International Hockey Coach Launches Book in Namibia

World-renowned hockey coach Gavin Featherstone recently paid a visit to Namibia to promote a new hockey book.

Featherstone represented his country of birth, England, as a player during the Seventies, but after his playing career he turned to coaching, and soon established himself as one of the world’s leading coaches. 

He went on to coach the United States at the 1984 Olympic Games, and later coached South Africa at the 1996 Olympic Games. He also coached England’s u21 men and women’s teams, while he produced numerous DVDs, endorsed by the International Hockey Federation, which have been distributed to more than 25 countries to teach strategies and principles of field hockey. 

In recent years, Featherstone started writing books on hockey and he recently visited Namibia to launch his latest book, ‘Bobotie Dawn’ which is a hockey memoir of his time in South Africa during the Eighties and Nineties.

During this time he also visited Namibia (then South West Africa) for the first time and has since developed a deep affection for the country and it’s people. 

“I’m honoured to come back to Namibia. I first came out in 1982 when South West Africa played in the South African inter-provincial tournament, and was able to win a gold medal with the u21 team. More recently I was here in 2017 and now I’ve been able to become an author on hockey and sport in general, so I have returned to promote these two books,” he said. 

“I like the Namibian people – they are open and friendly, they have a very close-knit hockey community and they have punched above their weight on the international stage,” he said. 

Featherstone wrote a previous hockey book, ‘Hockey in the Blood’ where one chapter is devoted to Namibia’s legendary player Maggy Mengo. 

“I saw her the first time at the 2017 Africa World Cup qualifier in Swakopmund, where she stood out with one or two other girls. I was very impressed with the women’s indoor hockey set-up, and also watched them at the 2018 Indoor World Cup in Berlin. The chapter is called ‘Oasis in the Desert’ and it really was referring to the Dome as a facility for indoor hockey at Swakopmund, but it was also referring to Maggy as a sort of diamond here in Namibia and as a top player in Africa,” he said. 

Featherstone has returned to England but will be back in Namibia in January next year to write abook about hockey in the United States. He said he doesnt coach internationally anymore, but would be willing to assist Namibian hockey if needed. 

“If the authorities here in Namibia want to use me as a reference point in any type of communication I’m very open to that. I’m not here to coach, I did nearly half a century of coaching, but I’m certainly a good staging post for people, you know, maybe clinics, maybe launches, that type of thing,” he said.