By Carlos Kambaekwa
All roads lead to the coastal town of Walvis Bay this weekend when the 2nd round of the country’s richest football tournament, the MTC NFA Cup, gets under way in earnest at the Kuisebmond Stadium tomorrow.
The peak of the weekend’s last 16 matches is without doubt the clash between Orlando Pirates and Civics on Sunday (15h00).
Pirates have been unbeaten in as many matches since the arrival of young mentor Woody Jacobs earlier this season, while the Civilians are struggling to regain the form that has seen the Khomasdal-based outfit winning back-to-back little titles in the last three seasons.
The new-look Buccaneers look poised to book their place in the quarterfinals at the expense of Helmuth Scharnowsky’s out of sort charges, who will be seriously seeking to restore some lost pride after falling by the wayside in the race for the coveted league title.
The Civilians have been heavily weakened by the inevitable departure of midfield dynamo Brian Gurirab and veteran goal-poacher William Chilufwya, who are now both plying their trade in the more competitive and financially strong Angolan Premiership.
On the other hand, the Ghosts have been boosted by the arrival of discarded Brave Warriors and former Bidvest Wits University striker Paulus “Wire” Shipanga.
The former Blue Waters’ target man has signed with the Buccaneers after jumping ship from Eleven Arrows where he has endured an unsuccessful stint since the beginning of the current league campaign.
But before that, action gets under way tomorrow with MTC Namibia Premiership strugglers Fedics United having a date against lowly Eleven Brothers in the opening match at 13h00. Former champions Tigers should have too much ammunition to negotiate their way past lower division side Black Hawks in the day’s second match at 15h00.
Defending champions African Stars face their moment of truth in the form of a fired-up Oshakati City outfit in a match that promises to have all the required ingredients of a real humdinger, but Stars are likely to come out unscathed because of the team’s vast following at the coast.
Stars inform midfielder Jasmin “Ninja” Karongee will have a point to prove and will be out to convince the national selectors and Brave Warriors’ Technical staff that they made a terrible blunder by leaving him out of the Brave Warriors second strings against Malawi earlier this week.
The hardworking ebony skinned bow-legged midfielder has been in sparkling form for the Reds and has developed a knack for scoring vital goals when the situation presents itself.
In tomorrow’s last match, Hotspurs should expect little mercy from the fast improving APS Blue Waters who have been chalking up decent results of late.
Cymot Sport Klub Windhoek (SKW) will be out to transform their league form into knock-out competitions when the Germans confront lowly Tough Guys in the opening match on Sunday (kick off at 11h00).
On paper, team of the moment Ramblers, still habouring ambitions of a treble following their victory in the season’s pipe opener the lucrative FNB Cup, should prove too strong for Dawid Snewe’s Mighty Gunners but the men in uniform boast a cup pedigree second to none and the Tunchel Street Boys would be well advised to be complacent at their own peril.
KM Eleven Arrows will have a score to settle with Black Africa after the Mighty Lions eliminated the Maroon and Gold outfit in the semifinals of the FNB Cup last year.
Buoyed by home ground advantage coupled with a comprehensive victory recorded over their elder cousin in their league outing recently, the coastal outfit will be confident of putting another one over Smithley Engelbrecht’s “Young Chickens”.
However, Black Africa have shown lots of improvement in key departments under the guidance of Chacklas – a tactician of the modern game and himself a former goal poacher of note with the very same Gemengte outfit.