Helmut Stritzinger from Münzbach (Austria) visited Team South Africa and shares his experiences on the trip and their commitment to the worldwide fistball family.

You will often hear the word solidarity, when talking about fistball. I could convince myself of this strong family spirit among others at a tournament in Porto Alegre 2002 and 2009 at training sessions in Blumenau and Rosario, where I could really enjoy the South American fistball magic. Over the years we had several international fistball guest visiting our club Union Münzbach or even playing championships as well.

Due to my job I had the opportunity to visit the South African team in Cape Town and Facebook really helped me a lot on this. I just messaged the big boss of the South African Fistball Association, Leif Petersen, if I could turn up for practice as fistball-expatriate.

Luckily their Fistivus festival – which the fistball championship of Cape Town, with 6 team battling each other on the court – took place on my free weekend. Fun was a big part of the tournament, but everybody wanted to get the sought-after trophy and home-brewed beer.

I was enthusiastic about the Leif’s idea which started the fistball hype in South Africa. He was looking for a sport to compete on World Championship level and after long online research he found out about our sport. His brother is still Australian citizen and so they played against each other at the World Championship in Argentina 2015. Amazing what the idea of the Petersen brothers unleashed in Cape Town. Around the tournament relatives and friends help with the organisation and came to support the team. One sponsor sold his own beer out of his VW caravan and gave back the profit to the federation. One word – Amazing! Fun didn’t come off badly, but of the game was played by the official rules. Pitch and equipment was good, even if it wouldn’t be accepted for championships in European standards, but for Fistivus IV it was just the right thing.

That day with the players from South Africa was the funniest day on my journey for sure and I really had the feeling of being part of their team, one more proof for the spirit of the world-wide fistball family.

Unfortunately, my tactical advices and trick didn’t pay off at the World Championship, regarding the final ranking. But I’m sure that we will see the South African at the next WC in Switzerland 2019. I’m really impressed by the work of Leif and his fistball crew, as they stepped in to host the Men’s World Cup in Cape Town 2016. This is another clear proof for their fistball passion and dedication for the sport on international level.

FIST ON – See you soon!