By Carlos Kambaekwa
Both African Stars and Sport Klub Windhoek had to dig deep into their reserve tank when the two giants played out a 2-all stalemate in the MTC Namibia Premiership at the SKW Stadium in Windhoek last night.
Stars were the livelier side in the opening minutes and had the Germans’ rearguard at sixes and sevens with Ninja Karongee at the heart of the Stars attacks, but wayward shooting from Lisaku and Katjatenja cost them dearly.
The Reds piled on the pressure and were awarded a penalty when defender Sledge Gowaseb was adjudged to have propelled Browers Litambo’s goal-bound grass cutter with his outstretched arm.
Striker Dennis Ngueza took the responsibility and blasted the spot kick inches over the cross bar.
However, the penalty miss appeared to ignite the Reds more as they kept on launching attack after attack with the livewire Karongee dictating terms with some darting runs through the middle of the park.
The bow legged midfielder found some space on the left wing and weaved his way past a few defenders before firing a low shot which was blocked by veteran goal keeper Heribert Kapeng.
Soon afterwards, Karongee made up for his earlier miss when he connected masterfully with Edison Muheu’s floated cross from the left wing to give Stars a well-deserved lead with a glancing header in the 31st minute.
The Germans picked themselves up and started to dominate proceedings with the skillful Marco van Wyk gaining the upper hand over his counterparts in an overcrowded midfield.
The Reds captain Andrew Tjahikika became the first player on the pitch to fall foul of the referee’s crime sheet for a professional foul on the stroke of halftime.
The hosts were a much-improved outfit in the second half and gave the visitors all sorts of trouble with quick counter attacks but young goalkeeper Max Mbaeva thwarted everything thrown at him.
Former Black Africa striker Tjono Jagger, making his debut for the Germans after his recent move from Black Africa, got the teams back on level terms with a clinical finish shortly after halftime after some sloppy defending by the Stars rearguard.
With fatigue clearly getting the better of both sets of players, changes were inevitable and Stars brought on veteran striker Nico Andima, while SKW retaliated by sending on beefy goal poacher Frans “Keff” van Wyk, and the former Friends striker repaid the technical staff with a cracking left footer in the 60th minute to give the Germans the lead for the first time in an otherwise evenly balanced match.
Stars finished the match with ten men on the pitch after striker Browers Litambo was stretched off the field with a heavily banded knee following a nasty tackle that escaped the referee’s attention. Stars had already exhausted its allocated number of three substitutes.
With time ticking by, Stars were awarded a free kick in an inviting position and veteran substitute striker Nico Andima curled the dead ball around the SKW wall right into the top left hand corner of the net – leaving Kapeng for dead.
The result meant the Germans replace Ramblers at the summit of the MTC Namibia Premiership, albeit for 48 hours, with the Tunchel Street Boys back in action against defending champions Civics at the Khomasdal stadium in Windhoek tomorrow evening.
Despite their failure to collect maximum points from last night’s match, the Germans remain one of two unbeaten teams together with Ramblers in this season’s league campaign so far.