Van Wyk Must Smell the Java

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Shooting From The Hip Carlos Kambaekwa I would like to believe the sacking of Brian Isaacs as Orlando Pirates’ coach would bring about the desired results for the perennial achievers of domestic football. It takes piles of guts for one to admit that parting ways is inevitable in any kind relationships because any investment in any kind of a relationship must be reciprocated, that’s the bottom line – Pirates did the honorable thing by showing Isaacs the door and it’s about time other teams also copy the Buccaneers’ beat and follow suit. Pirates, the best-supported team in the Namib Premier League, have no business in filling up numbers in the elite league – fair enough Isaacs won two major competitions with the Buccaneers, but alas Pirates is a big entity and the ultimate measure of any team’s success should be the coveted league title. I had the privilege to watch Pirates taking log leaders Ramblers completely to the cleaners in the first half of an otherwise entertaining Namib Premiership clash at a jam-packed S.K.W. stadium last Friday. Consider the team’s enthusiastic support base and the talented playing staff in a squad with an average age of 25, and you have a complete setup. Pirates abandoned their customary short passing game in the second half and resorted to pumping long balls into the Ramblers danger zone much to the delight of towering defender Michael Pienaar who absorbed the pressure with ease. Pirates were the better team on the night in terms of ball possession and distribution but the Tunchel street boys’ technical awareness proved a different kettle of fish for the seemingly exhausted Pirates rearguard, which was caught napping on numerous occasions as Rammies applied some well-calculated counter-attacks. What Ramblers lacked in talent, they made up with discipline, basics and simplicity because that’s the hallmark of a successful football unit. It was also lekker to see prodigal son Patrick Jaegger back in the black and white outfit of the Buccaneers and it was just a pity the wayward ball juggler was left on the bench for far too long and by the time he entered the field of play his team mates were already chasing shadows as fatigue appeared to have taken its toll on the Pirates’ personnel. In the meantime, the Katutura giants wasted little time and enlisted the services of the usually itchy feet Turkish national Ali Akan to steer the sinking Buccaneers’ ship out of troubled waters. Let us all just hope for the sake of football that Akan would be able to go the distance with the hard-to-please Pirates’ followers – something which yours truly seriously doubt because not even the presence of the notorious ‘Rooi Oog Unit” could anchor the thick-hide Kurdish at Tigers’ den where he enjoyed great success during his short stint last season before walking out on the team, though details of his departure remain an internal issue between club and coach. Akan posseses all the qualities in the world to coach at the highest level but the hippy look-alike brother has a long history of jumping ship at the slightest provocation – so brrra Mabos and Makalan must make damn sure the team’s diehards remain within a healthy distance from the temperamental mentor. Still on matters concerning the beautiful game, can somebody please tell Peter van Wyk and the NPL Directorate to wake up and smell the java – honestly speaking there is an urgent need to overhaul the shambolic league fixtures which have seen teams playing back to back matches within a very short space of time. Fair enough, the lame excuse has always been about insufficient moola injection into the league coffers to cover the teams’ traveling allowances, absolute crap, the majority of the NPL entourage hails from the capital and its proximity and I can’t see any reason why a team like Friends cannot play a mid-week match against Ramblers or African Stars for that matter. We have seen many teams performing well on Saturdays only to become unrecognizable in their next encounter and people are still questioning the players’ commitment and fitness level – that’s just not the way to go my broer, footballers are human beings and must be treated as such. Dear readers, please pardon my ignorance, but Namibia is the only country that I know of where players are not given an ounce of breathing space because competitive matches are regularly played within a space of 24-hours. There is a particular clause in the Namibian Constitution dealing with Education which requires all toddlers under the age of 16 to get stuck on the school bench, irrespective of circumstances. However, football authorities feel they have an obligation towards the welfare of what I would rather prefer to as victims of society – homeless children or those kamashonas who have chosen to seek action rather than education. Under normal conditions, it’s the sole prerogative of the Namibia Schools Sport Union to organize tournaments for all school going children, but the country’s football authorities saw it fit to take over the duties of the NNSU under the guise of catering for school-leavers, something which might threatened to defeat the government’s policy of confining these youngsters behind school walls. Don’t get me wrong gents – I’m not against youth football but we have taken the wrong route to tackle this very important component of youth development. Leave youth matters in the hands of the Union or confront the NNSU if they are not living up to their mandate.