Johannesburg — Team Namibia will be bursting with pride following their showing at this year’s Africa MMA Championships.
South Africa’s neighbours entered the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation-sanctioned tournament for the first time this year, and they proved that this will not be their last appearance.
Entering the tournament with a small contingent of only three fighters, Team Namibia made their nation proud bringing home three medals, one gold, and two bronze.
Their golden boy happens to be an athlete who has never stepped into a cage prior to this weekend’s action.
2022 African featherweight champion Veja Hinda made his debut on day one, fighting his way to three victories at the Extreme Fighting Championship Performance Institute, a feat that left many in shock considering Hinda’s lack of experience.
Showcasing sublime skill, composure, and a natural feel for the fight game, Hinda secured three finishes against DRC’s Tresor Musampa, Mauritius’ Geraldo Moïse and South Africa’s Nicolaas Vermaak in the final, respectively.
“My father used to do a bit of boxing, and I did some Muay Thai and kickboxing, like two fights. But this weekend was the first time I’ve ever taken part in a mixed martial arts fight,” says Hinda while speaking to Independent Media.
“I won’t even lie to you, one hundred percent, this is overwhelming,” says the 25-year-old Bachelor of Laws student who is set to graduate soon.
“I just tried to keep myself as calm as possible, going in there, there were a lot of distractions.
“With everybody around me eating burgers, and me having to eat clean to make the weight … I was like, man, ‘I don’t want to do this’.
“It was a struggle, it still feels so surreal, I am starting to feel a bit emotional now, but we are here now. I just want to thank you my family, I know it’s not easy seeing your son and brother fight in a cage. I appreciate your support and thank you so much. I love all you guys. I know it's not easy seeing your son or your brother fight in a cage, so thank you all for supporting me so much, I love you all.”
Hinda’s teammates — Geraldo Bok and Jason Beukes walked away with bronze medals in the lightweight and flyweight divisions, respectively.
All of them train under the tutelage of coach Carlos De Sousa at Sousa Studios in Windhoek.
When Hinda’s hand was raised after his final victory over Nicolaas Vermaak at the EFC PI in Paulshof, Johannesburg, a deep and emotional message was voiced to the crowd: “Namibia is here!”
And that message was well received by mixed martial arts enthusiasts from across Africa, from Angola to Mauritius.
FINALS - RESULTS
Bout 1: Female F: Flyweight 56.7 kg Nicole Van Wyk (South Africa) d e f Bianca Stander (South Africa) via TKO Round 1.
Bout 2: Female F: Bantamweight 61.2 kg Mischka Laubscher (South Africa) d e f Moneza Neves (Angola) via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) Round 1.
Bout 3: Female F: Lightweight 70.3 kg Kiara Fegen (South Africa) d e f Londiwe Hadebe (South Africa) via Submission (Armbar) Round 1.
Bout 4: Male M: Flyweight 56.7 kg Philani Shabalala (South Africa) d e f Mathys du Randt (South Africa) via TKO Round 1.
Bout 5: Male M: Bantamweight 61.2 kg Maurio Silva (Angola) d e f Nathanial Komana (South Africa) via TKO Round 1.
Bout 6: Male M: Featherweight 65.8 kg Veja Hinda (Namibia) d e f Nicolaas Vermaak (South Africa) via Submission (Armbar) Round 2.
Bout 7: Male M: Lightweight 70.3 kg Lewis Mataya (Zimbabwe) d e f Ken Nyaondo (Zambia) via Unanimous Decision Round 3 (30-27, 30-27, 29-28).
Bout 8: Male M: Middleweight 83.9 kg Elisio Zua (Angola) d e f Elyse Balepe (Democratic Republic Of The Congo) via Unanimous Decision Round 3 (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).
Bout 9: Male M: Welterweight 77.1 kg Osvaldo Benedito (Angola) d e f Cameron Coulson (South Africa) via Submission (Kimura) Round 1.
Bout 10: Male M: Light Heavyweight 93 kg Stanislau Kakesse Wezy (Angola) d e f Zhane Tannous (South Africa) via KO Round 2.
Bout 11: Male M: Heavyweight 120.2 kg Andile Madlala (South Africa) d e f Juliao Sandambi (Angola) via TKO Round 2.
This report is sponsored by the Capital Hotel and Apartments