MTC Cup: Mouth-watering Clash in Offing

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By Kuvee Kangueehi WINDHOEK Black Africa’s bad omen in cup competitions is expected to continue after the Lively Lions were pitted against Blue Waters in the MTC NFA Cup draw yesterday in the capital. Black Africa, who have been knocked out twice by Blue Waters this season in the Humphries Security Floating Trophy and the First National Bank Cup, will have to try their luck for the third time when they meet Blue Waters in Keetmanshoop in an MTC NFA Cup second round match. However, after a poor start to the season, Black Africa seem to have rediscovered their form and the 5-0 nil victory over arch rivals Orlando Pirates should made everybody take notice. The Lively Lions, since appointing former Brave Warriors goalkeeper Ronnie Kananelo as a technical director, are playing some attractive and exciting football. It is not clear whether their improvement is being influenced by Kananelo’s arrival or whether it is coincidence. The Black Africa Chairman Kandas Paulino commended the duo, namely, the head coach Bobby Samaria and Kananelo, that the pair is a perfect combination. “The two former players both come from Walvis Bay and were team mates.” Paulino also dismissed speculation that Kananelo and Samaria are likely to clash because of their explosive personalities. “The is a clear mandate of reference and Ronnie knows what his duties are as much as Samaria knows.” The winning team will walk away with a cool N$350 000 while the runner-up is to take home N$130 000 with the two semi-finalists pocketing N$60 000 each. Additional awards categories such as the player of the series and top goal scorer of the series will be N$2 000 richer while the referee of the series, assistant referee, coach, team of the series, goalkeeper, team manager, electronic media and print media of the series will each be awarded N$1 500 for their sweat. Participating teams will receive travelling assistance amounting to N$1 000 in each round of the tournament. The second round will take place on 25 and 26 February, the third round is scheduled for 28 and 29 April and the quarterfinal is billed for 26 and 27 May, while the semis and final will take place on 1 and 2 July. The second round matches will take place from 25 to 26 February at Keetmanshoop and Otjiwarongo. Initially, 33 teams took part in the lucrative competition with two teams from the regional winners which played an elimination match to have a total of 32 teams of which the winner played Blue Birds from Omusati Region in Group A. Blue Birds got a bye during the draw. Windhoek Optics Ramblers is the defending champion after having beaten Black Africa in a penalty shootout by 5-4, after the two sides drew two-all at the end of the 30 minutes of extra time. Meanwhile, the Namibia Football Consortioum (NFC) representative, Amos Shiyuka, called on the teams to uphold the International Federation of Football Associations (FIFA)’s ‘ Fair Play’ slogan. He also urged the various clubs’ management to lead by example during the second and final stages of the lucrative tournament.