By Carlos Kambaekwa
The remaining eight teams in the FNB Knockout Cup Challenge are to converge in the capital when the spherical ball gets rolling for the first round proper and quarterfinal matches in Group-B at Windhoek’s Independence stadium, this weekend.
Cymot SKW meet Oshakati City in less than a month after the two teams played out a goalless draw in their opening league match at City’s alternative venue in Tsumeb, but home g round advantage should give the Germans the edge over the visitors who lost their last competitive match against Civics. (Prediction: SKW to win on penalties)
Last year’s runner up African Stars will be out to prove that reaching the final of the last edition was no fluke as the Samba Boys open their assault in the 16-team competition with a date against struggling APS Blue Waters, and the Reds should have little trouble in clapping the wings of the low flying Flamingos.
The Birds are battling to swim out of rough waters of late and find themselves entangled somewhere in the basement of the Namibia Premiership log standing – second from rock bottom, to be precise, with only one point out of a possible nine, courtesy of a home draw followed by back to back defeats in their last league outings. (Prediction: Stars 3 – Blue Waters 1)
Its unfinished business for “team of the moment” Orlando Pirates as the smooth-sailing Sea Robbers return to claim what is left of the scalps of Fedics United whom they comprehensively sent packing in their last meeting in a league match a fortnight ago.
However, knock-out competitions have always proven a different kettle of fish and the Southerners could be tricky customers this time around with nothing more than pride at stake for the visitors. (Prediction: Pirates 4 – Fedics 1)
There is little love lost between Ramblers and Tigers and the recent floor crossing of players from the latter to Tunchel Street has the potential to make matters even worse when the two giants square up in tomorrow’s last match.
The quartet, Jeremiah Baisako, Dicky Akwenye, Phineas Jacobs and Mane Martins all formed the spine of the Donkerhoek outfit in recent years, and their departure has certainly left a huge vacuum in the Tigers’ armoury.
The wounded Tigers have struggled since the start of their league campaign this season and their current form clearly suggest the cage is in dire need of some patching.
After starting the season like a house on fire, Rammies huffed and puffed against African Stars in their last competitive match and eventually settled for a 1-all stalemate, but the Tunchel Street boys can take solace from attributing their below-par performance to the absence of “Captain Fantastic” Michael Pienaar and Jeremiah Baisako.
The pair was in camp with the Brave Warriors, ahead of the International Friendly against Morocco in Rabat, Morocco. (Prediction: Rammies 1 – Tigers 0)
Action resumes on Sunday with the winners of the SKW /
City match pitted against the victorious team from the encounter between Stars and Blue Waters, which could see the Reds back to their happy haunting ground for another Sunday afternoon stroll at the expense of either SKW or City in the first Group-B quarterfinal match.
If the form book can be correctly used as a yardstick, Pirates and Stars should be strong candidates for some space in the hat alongside Eleven Arrows and Black Africa for the semi-finals to be played at a yet to be decided venue on the 17th of next month.
The Southern capital Keetmanshoop together with Oshakati, Outjo, and Tsumeb are the likely venues for the semi-finals, while football authorities gave Windhoek’s Independence stadium the thumps up to host the final, pencilled in for