By Carlos Kambaekwa
MTC Namibia Premiership pacesetters Eleven Arrows and Ramblers must surely heave a huge sigh of relief after both teams retained their top places without a ball being kicked in the top-of-the-table midweek clash between Black Africa and African Stars.
The much-anticipated match which was to have taken place between the two Katutura giants failed to materialize when the match was prematurely called off after Africa raised concerns over the fitness level of the appointed match official – accusing FIFA accredited referee Mathew Katjimune of having had one too many prior to kick-off.
Troubled Orlando Pirates are at home to Tigers at the SKW Stadium in tonight’s only match in the domestic elite league with both teams desperately looking for maximum points to give them a lift from their mid-table positions.
The talented but sometimes underperforming Pirates playing personnel will be out to impress incoming Dutch coach Jan Bruwer, who will be watching tonight’s clash from the stands before officially taking over the reins in February next year.
Tigers have been deprived of the goal-scoring prowess of Tangeni Shiapahu for tonight’s titanic clash because of the talented youngster’s involvement with the senior national team.
Both teams’ record in the 2007/2008 league campaign is very identical, going into round eight with two wins, two draws and three losses each from seven matches, which could just be what the good doctor has ordered to set up an appetizing encounter.
Team of the moment Ramblers entertain Eleven Arrows in the top-of-the-table clash at the Ramblers Stadium in Pionierspark tomorrow at 16h00.
Ramblers will be minus three-quarters of their second last line of defence with Captain Fantastic Michael “Dolam Tower” Pienaar, Luther “Bigman” Kanalelo, Jeremiah “Bull Frog” Baisako and midfielder-cum-striker Pineas “Heel Extension” Jacobs all notable absentees.
The quartet is currently on tour with the national football team in Germany where the Brave Warriors are preparing for next month’s African Cup of Nations finals in Ghana.
The teams are equally depleted with Arrows taking the field without their talismanic net rattler Rudolph Bester and striking partner Reinold Andima, and reliable defender Chris Katjiukua. The trio is on national duty with the Warriors.
Victory for either team will put them firmly in the driving seat on 14 points, provided closest challengers SKW drop points against the low flying birds when the Germans welcome struggling APS Blue Waters across town in Olympia at the SKW Stadium in one of three matches scheduled for the capital tomorrow (19h00).
The Germans are level on points with log leaders Eleven Arrows, Ramblers and Black Africa and will be hoping to consolidate their position at the top of the log standings with a comprehensive win over the coastal outfit that are yet to test victory in their league campaign this season.
Last season’s runners-up Oshakati City will be playing their first league match at home since the beginning of the current season after the northerners were forced to use an alternative venue in Tsumeb as their home base almost 300 kilometres away from home following renovations to the overly used Oshakati Independence Stadium.
City host basement residents Fedics United tomorrow at 18h00.
United received a morale boosting shot in the arm earlier this week when Diamond Mining Company Namdeb announced a staggering sponsorship of N$150 000 in a desperate bid in assisting the southern lads to retain their much-sought after premiership status.
Defending champions Civics have a date with Dawid Snewe’s fast-improving Mighty Gunners at Windhoek’s Independence Stadium in tomorrow’s final match (19h00).
The plucky Civilians will be without the services of four of their stalwarts as Donelly Nell, Brian Brendell, Tugela Tuyeni and Franklin April are all on national duty with the Brave Warriors in Germany.
Such is the intensity of the competition this season, with only six points separating the top team from the 10th placed side – meaning a single bad day in the office could see teams in the top bracket tumbling dangerously all the way down to the relegation zone.