By Carlos Kambaekwa
Strong contenders for the coveted MTC Namibia Premier League title Sport Klub Windhoek, still savouring their unbeaten record in 10 league outings since the start of the 2007/2008 campaign, will be put to the sword when they face Ramblers in what could be prematurely labeled “the title decider” as the curtain closes down on the first round’s activities this weekend.
After surrendering their unbeaten run in the league this season – unexpectedly going down by 3 goals to 1 against reigning champions Civics, Ramblers’ skipper Michael “Dolam Tower” Pienaar and his comrades will be called into action to exhibit the fighting spirit and mental toughness in what promises to be a tension-filled encounter against their nemesis at the Ramblers field on Sunday. For the Germans, playing the Tunchel Street boys at this juncture would give them an ideal platform to settle old scores and ensure a much-needed leap closer to laying their hands on the coveted trophy that has eluded them for decades, having to play second fiddle to their cross-town rivals at almost all levels of competition between the two clubs.
“I must admit Ramblers have got the better of us in previous encounters but our main objective now is to keep the momentum going because every match is important for us, and frankly speaking, our primary aim was to finish amongst the top three on completion of round one and that objective remains within striking reach,” confessed the SKW mentor Richard Starke.
“Of course, we owe them one, but Ramblers is a very difficult side to beat and highly-charged whenever playing against us and besides that, they have a more balanced team than most of the teams in the league.”
The early pacesetters could be without the services of stalwart defender and nippy striker Tjono Jagger with both players battling against time to shake off bad bouts of flu.
“This match could not have come at a better time,” said Ramblers coach Tollie van Wyk.
“We know exactly what to expect from SKW, their game plan is mainly based on defence in the hope of catching their opponents on the counter-attack, but we are not bothered by those tactics because we have the material to gatecrash that oak door of their rearguard.
“As much as we respect SKW for their never-say-die attitude, in all honesty, I just don’t think they possesses the quality to match us in all departments as we will opt to play an opening game with lots of emphasis on attack. Anyway, the maximum points are there for the taking because the lads are itching to reclaim top spot on the MTC Namibia Premiership log standings.”
Ramblers are struggling to get the spine of their team fit for the eagerly-awaited clash on Sunday, with the defensive pair of inspirational captain Michael Pienaar and Donnelly Nell both on the treatment table, with serious doubts also hovering over the availability of the league’s top goal scorer Pineas Jacobs while midfielder Dicky Akwenye is a definite non-starter.
The quartet sustained an assortment of serious injuries during Ramblers’ comprehensive victory over division one campaigners Deportivo Alaves during the first round of the lucrative MTC NFA Cup at Keetmanshoop last weekend – a triumph that came at a heavy price.
What makes Sunday’s match more intriguing is that SKW have conceded the least number of goals – 5 to be precise – while Ramblers have scored the most number of goals (19) after 10 matches each.
Ramblers’ defence has been quite generous after it had gifted away 12 goals in 10 matches, the same number of goals conceded by lowly-placed Mighty Gunners and the 4th worst defensive record in the league this season.
Victory for Rammies will see them leapfrog SKW into first place on 22 points while the Germans could open a four-point lead with a rare win over their arch rivals.