WINDHOEK – Katutura giants FNB Orlando Pirates will have a stern test of character when they lock horns with archrivals and incumbent Namibian champions Black Africa in their opening fixture of the 2012/2013 MTC Premiership League campaign.
The country’s elite league kicks-off on the 22nd of next month, with two local derbies on the cards. Traditional rivals Ramblers and Cymot Sport Klub Windhoek (SKW) get the action underway with the suburban derby at the SKW field in Windhoek.
Nevertheless, Pirates will hope to start off on a good footing and avoid a slip up against their bitter rivals BA, nor a repeat of the bitter 2-1 home defeat in April this year, a result that is still lingering fresh in their memory.
Ramblers on the other hand, were trounced 2-0 at home in February this year by Imawida and only could only muster an uninspiring draw in the return match last September. The Tunchell Street Boys will hope to turn around their fortunes this time against a nemesis that finished four points above them in 5th place last term.
Elsewhere, the league’s new boys Rundu Chiefs will face a baptism of fire, as they are welcomed into topflight football by rejuvenated Katutura giants African Stars. Chiefs will have to prove that they have what it takes to compete in the elite league, since the fired up Reds, under the tutelage of Ali “Mr Fix It” Akan, will surely have the upper hand at home.
Stars will be looking to show its success-starved fans that they will be serious title contenders again this year. Things will not be much different for fellow rookies Tura Magic who make their debut in the topflight league with a home tie against the visiting LHU Blue Waters. The seasiders narrowly lost out to Stars via a solitary point for a 4th place finish last term,
Elsewhere, Mighty Gunners are at home against Wesbank Tigers, while Eleven Arrows, who survived relegation by the skin of their teeth last season entertain last season’s runners-up Civics.
This year’s budget is mooted to be N$10.6 million, an increase of almost N$3 million from the 2009-10 season’s budget, while total support for local football clubs has skyrocketed from N$300 000 to more than half a million (511 000).