By Carlos Kambaekwa
A goal apiece from Donny Isaacs, Frans de Muinda and Riaan Cloete ensured that the Buccaneers overtake Civics at the top of the MTC Namibia Premiership summit by two points.
The fired-up Buccaneers demolished an out-of-sorts Tigers at the Khomasdal Stadium in Windhoek, by 3 goals without a reply on Sunday.
In the only Premier League match played last weekend, Tigers hosted Pirates with the hosts taking the game to their more fancied opponents. Tigers’ leading marksman Tangeni Shipahu squandered a glorious chance just within four minutes after failing to control a perfect cross from the enterprising Gregory “Tommy” Horaeb.
Mervin Mbakera was tenacious in the middle of the park, policing Pirates’ wunderkind Cloete and at the other end, Shipahu continued to threaten the Ghosts’ rearguard manned by the towering Eric Ouseb and newly capped Brave Warriors defender Steven Goaxab.
Moments later, Eusebio Fredericks connected well with Klaas Blom’s cross, nodding the ball on for the lurking Donny Isaacs, whose ambitious shot sailed over the crossbar from just four metres out.
With tension growing by the minute, both sets of players tried their utmost best to settle their nerves whilst some resorted to using dirty tactics – much to the annoyance of referee Jimmy Rukanira.
Tigers’ controversial striker Wesley Kinda made way into Rukanira’s bad books following a dangerous tackle on Fredericks and team mate Knowledge Iipinge joined him soon afterwards when the former Blue Waters’ defender tried to emulate his team mate with an illegal challenge of his own with De Muinda the victim.
The usually energetic Fredericks looked totally out of depth and lacked composure after a Johannes Malgas’ free-kick bounced ominously in the box but the National Under-20 striker elected to go for power when a simple tap-in could have done the trick.
Pirates’ coach Brian Isaacs was certainly not impressed and immediately hauled off the youngster – replacing him with the more-hungrier Victor Blaauw on the half-hour mark.
Blaauw was hardly four minutes on the pitch when he charged at Iipinge, leaving the makeshift defender for dead, before his inch perfect low cross was perfectly dummied for the marauding Isaacs, who controlled well before placing into the far low corner of the net past the hapless Fox Nambundunga.
The goal ignited Pirates as they started to pay frequent visits into their opponents’ danger zone, and Nambundunga added to his team’s misery when the short-tempered goal keeper elbowed Cloete in an off the ball incident.
Referee Rukanira was left with no other option than to abbreviate his involvement in the match.
The clearly irritated short-fuse net minder retaliated by kicking the ball against the man in black, before embarking on his long lonely walk to the bin.
Tigers’ trainer Willem Kapukare sacrificed Kinda for reserve goalkeeper Bonny Tsoub, who immediately announced his presence by saving the resultant spot kick taken by De Muinda.
As the match wore on, Kapukare received his marching orders for allegedly interfering with the assistant referee Benedictus Nashenda’s interpretation of rules, but the clearly irked coach required a security escort as he vehemently protested his removal with the match officials.
In the second half, former Pirates player Neville Nanub was slow to react to an inviting cross, allowing Athiel Mbaha enough time to avert the danger.
Pirates caught Tigers on the break with Cloete the mastermind and De Muinda the beneficiary as he made amends for his earlier miss from the penalty spot – scoring goal number two for the smooth-sailing Buccaneers.
Isaacs continued to impress and his perfect cross from the left was met on the volley by Seibeb, that was deflected for a corner by the timely intervention of Tigers defender Lubigisa Lubigisa.
With 15 minutes left on the clock, Mbaha was yellow-carded for time wasting and Pirates resorted to some sort of showboating.
Etienne Beukes came on for Isaacs and immediately found space on the far left, slicing past Levi Muhura with his resultant chip inside being tapped against the crossbar by Tigers’ defender Willem Mwendihanga, ricocheting off onto the head of Cloete who gladly guarded it into the net to make it 3-Nil with two minutes remaining.
With three games left for Pirates in the campaign, coach Brian Isaacs is confident but cautious: “The competition is now very tight and every game will be vital for the premiership title, so we have to be consistent. But the long season will have effect but we have to ensure that we maintain mental and physical strength.”