By Carlos Kambaekwa
Going into Round 5 of the MTC Namibia Premier League, boys are likely to be separated from men when log leaders Black Africa entertain early pace-setters Ramblers in the top of the bill clash at the Sam Nujoma Stadium tomorrow (kick off – 19h00).
After a shaky start to their league campaign where they lost to arch rivals Orlando Pirates in their opening match, Black Africa dusted itself off and went on to score memorable wins in their last three league outings which saw Smithley Engelbrecht’s lads claiming the scalps of reigning champions Civics among their victims.
The Tunchel Street Boys are breathing down Africa’s neck in second place on the log standings, a mere point adrift of Africa who leads the table by 9 points from a possible 12, nonetheless, clashes between these two teams has been evenly balanced in the past.
Rammies will be boosted by the return of Captain Fantastic Michael “Dolam Tower” Pienaar, defender Jeremiah Baisako and the skillful midfielder cum-striker Phineas Jacobs.
The trio missed their team’s last league match because of national obligations and their absence was clearly evident as Rammies stumbled to unconvincing draws in their last two league outings against African Stars and minnows Mighty Gunners.
In tonight’s action, Orlando Pirates welcomes Civics at the Sam Nujoma Stadium near Katutura in a match that promises to have all the ingredients of a titanic clash with the Ghosts boasting 3 top class former Civilians in their armory (kick off – 19h00).
Pint-sized midfielder Rudi Louw, defenders Ellington “Duke” Tjirimuje and Mark Isaacs recently jumped ship from Helmuth Sharnowsky’s troubled nest to seek refuge in the smooth-sailing Buccaneers’ ship – a move, which has inevitably contributed to the current decline of the once mighty Civilians.
Pirates and Civics are still licking their wounds following defeats in their last league action but both teams can take solace from the fact that those losses were inflicted on them while the bulk of their playing personnel were on national duty with the Brave Warriors.
The Civilians have so far scored 5 goals and conceded 4 while the Sea Robbers have rattled the opponent’s net on 6 occasions with 4 goals against.
Action resumes tomorrow afternoon across town at the SKW stadium in Olympia where Cymot SKW will be looking at stretching their unbeaten league run when they host winless league rookies Mighty Gunners, who goes into the match second from bottom after 2 draws in their maiden campaign in top flight football (kick-off 16h00).
Elsewhere, homeless Oshakati City will be traveling half the length of their home base to engage APS Blue Waters at the Oscar Norich stadium, the club’s alternative venue in Tsumeb (kick-off 17h00).
City are fresh from a morale boosting away victory over Tigers in their last league match and should have little trouble in grounding the low flying Birds who narrowly escaped humiliation in front of their home crowd after their lukewarm showing which saw the home team salvaging a last minute point against fellow strugglers Fedics United.
Fedics United are still basking in some kind of glory following their much-improved performance against APS Blue Waters in last weekend’s action, and should go into their home clash with KM Eleven with some measure of confidence at the Keetmanshoop stadium. (Kick-off 17h00)
Despite suffering losses in their opening 3 matches, United appears to have quickly adjusted to life in top-flight football and the Southerners redeemed themselves with last weekend’s gutsy performance during their coastal safari.
Arrows started the season like a house on fire, but the coastal outfit suddenly ran out of gas and dropped valuable points against Civics and Cymot SKW respectively.
However, the possible inclusion of skipper and Brave Warriors’ goal poacher Rudolph Bester could just be the right tonic for the misfiring Arrows strike force. Bester has been missing in action because of national commitments but the nimble footed striker could return to link up alongside Robson Haitamba and continue their chemistry which could potentially expose the home team’s somewhat lackey defence.
The league rookies have been quite generous in dishing out goals and have conceded the highest number of goals in the league so far – 10 to be precise in just 360-minutes of football, certainly not the kind of take off Management must have been looking for.
Same Players, New Coach, Different Approach
In midweek action, Tigers came from a goal down to defeat African Stars by 3 goals to 2 in an otherwise entertaining MTC Namibia Premiership 5 goal thriller at the Sam Nujoma stadium.
After an indifferent start to their league campaign, Tigers wasted little time and hurriedly enlisted the services of National Youth coach Willy Kapukare, and the move immediately paid dividends as the Donkerhoek outfit recorded their first victory in their 2007/2008 league campaign.
Despite the maximum points gained from Wednesday’s triumph, Tigers remain stuck in unfamiliar territory, 4th place from the basement on 5 points – the same number as last season’s runner up Oshakati City, but the Northerners have a better goal difference plus a game in hand.