By Engel Nawatiseb TSUMEB A RETIRED former drilling wizard of the now defunct Etosha Lions Club and a former key playmaker of Eleven Arrows Football Club, Amos “Nankie Watch” Nickel, has joined the soccer enthusiasts in the northern regions concerned about the poor performances of northern teams in the premier league. The situation is fuelled by a lean run of results for teams like Marathon Sugar Chief Santos, Touch and Go and Oshakati-based Pysal Oshakati City since the season kicked off late this year. Nickel is of the opinion that the time has come when players have to go away together as a squad for a week or to do some warm-weather training and get closer as a team. He stressed that although technical and management aspects of the game might well be in place, the players that are responsible to make things happen on the pitch need to agree on a collective approach by reaching consensus on a winning formula. ” Captains of our teams have an obligation to lead the group on the pitch aided by technical advice from the kingpins on the bench. The winning formula, however, has to be decided by the players themselves. They definitely need a break to discuss as a group and motivate each other for the next round of the league,” said Nickel. He noted that the trio of clubs is the pride of football in the northern regions and should not miss good chances in the first half of the season as it could cost them during the second round. ” We were organizing our victories during the late 60’s and 70’s right on the pitch because we knew our opponents better than the technical advisors. Soccer was a collective effort during our heydays but of late players want to gain individual credit. They don’t bother about winning as a team because many opportunities are wasted through selfish attempts to score.” He noted that hitting the goalmouth could be easy in the absence of opponents on the pitch but that the game of football is about creating opportunities for fellow players to beat opponents until clear chances are created to net the ball easily. ” The state of soccer in our country is discouraging us old guards to watch the game anymore. One tends to compare today’s soccer with the late offer (soccer) when supporters enjoyed the game more than they do these days. We could however not shy away from our commitment to advice when appropriate, hence my submission that teamwork creates a winning formula at all times,” stated Nickel. The first prime minister of the country, Hage Geingob and many others also featured for the Etosha Lions club during the late 60’s. A Tsumeb supporter of African Stars, Axel Tjitjo told New Era over the weekend that the level of football in the north has subsided dramatically. He said that teams like Santos and Oshakati City are boasting training and playing stadiums that match international standard unlike others such as Touch and Go. ” Those are competitive advantages that should be capitalized on properly to motivate players. I think local teams should introduce double training sessions especially at night because their towns boast of floodlights.” He said the current state of football in the north needs to be investigated to return to its former glory days when football was stable and solid like a rock at the time towns such as Tsumeb hosted the popular “Top 16″ soccer tournaments. Tjitjo further encouraged the management committee of Touch and Go to even consider the name change of their club. ” Touch and Go literally translates into teams that are coming to touch on the club, collect free points and go back to their destinations to celebrate victory. “Touch and Go is behaving like a donor organization that freely donates much needed points to its opponents, they simply touch and go leaving both players, supporters and management in limbo,” he added. Turning to Oshakati City, Tjitjo noted that the recent suspension of the latter’s coach, Bafana Subeb, could have a negative impact on the performance of the team. Subeb was reportedly suspended for disciplining a regular player after he failed to commit himself for training and subsequently found himself on the bench. ” I know that it is their in-house decision, but dropping a person that helped to lift the status of the club is ill-advised. In fact, the very same player in question allegedly missed a golden opportunity against Blue Waters to score from the penalty spot during the weekend at the Kuisebmund stadium.” Said Kaboy Shovaleka, a former Blue Waters player, “How things go for the northern teams could come down to certain positions and who they are filled by. It does look like the pack will be formidable during the second round as most clubs are still positioning a score of new players. Maybe for a part of this season they struggled a bit, got a bit bullied, but that needs to be sorted out anyway. “How confident they are will be crucial next year.” Also disheartening was the fact that all three teams perceived to be representatives of the great northern regions made an early exit from the coveted Humphries pre-season cup recently.
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