By Carlos Kambaekwa
Not even a handsome midweek sponsorship could inspire a clearly dejected Ramblers team to greater heights, after the star-studded Pionierspark-based outfit only managed to muster a lucky draw against league rookies Mighty Gunners last weekend.
The current MTC Namibia Premiership log leaders, now officially known as Oshikandela Ramblers, have been going through a rough patch of late and the wheels of fortune are certainly coming off at an alarming speed.
Already, the red lights started flickering after the team’s lukewarm showing against lowly Mighty Gunners in the last 16 of the MTC NFA Cup at Walvis Bay, where Rammies scraped to an unconvincing win.
The Tunchel Street Boys were humbled by a 10-man African Stars in their next league match and have now only collected a single point from a possible six in their last league outings – a scenario that saw their healthy lead cut down to 3 points by 3rd placed Orlando Pirates, who on current form look a sure bet to walk away with the coveted league title.
Second placed Sport Klub Windhoek (SKW) are also finding the going tough in top flight football and find themselves in the same boat as their neighbours, following their failure to collect maximum points from their last two matches as the race for the elusive title intensifies.
After a shaky start, defending champions Civics have been slowly making serious inroads into contention and are now lying in 4th place – 5 points off the pace of Ramblers, and remain on course for an unprecedented 4th consecutive league title.
Early pace-setters Eleven Arrows are also back in contention after an indifferent spell in their last couple of matches which saw them being bundled out of the lucrative MTC NFA Cup by Civics on home turf.
Despite a having a match in hand and looking at the depth in the playing personnel – both Black Africa and African Stars appear to have kissed goodbye to their fading title aspirations with seven rounds of matches to go.
Though miracles do happen in global football, and only a fool will place a bet on Tigers to be amongst the title contenders at this stage after the “Donkerhoek Boys” lost plenty of ground after a slow start to their league campaign, coupled with inconsistency – a regular occurrence with the country’s oldest football club in recent years.
Last year runners-up Oshakati City appear to have rediscovered the form that made them a feared combination last season and have recorded impressive consecutive home wins against Civics and Tigers respectively.
At the foot of the table, Dawid Snewe’s Mighty Gunners can hardly afford to rest on their laurels with APS Blue Waters breathing heavily down their neck with only 4 points separating them as the debate continues as to who will accompany rookies Fedics United to the country’s second tier division next season.
With the league taking a breather this coming weekend – the bulk of the country’s elite league would certainly welcome the break as they seek to regroup and ponder their future in top-flight football.
Local “Cup Kings” Black Africa and defending champions African Stars are likely to turn their attention to the lucrative MTC NFA Cup when the finals of the quarterfinals of the lucrative knock-out tournament get under way at the Mariental Showgrounds this weekend.
Tigers will also have their eyes fixed on retaining the cup which they have a record four times while the title-chasing pair of SKW and Civics are still habouring ambitions of claiming a double.
Ramblers remain on course for a clean sweep as they chase a second with the league’s pipe opener – the FNB Christmas Cup – already gathering dust at the Ramblers Club in Pionierspark.