By Carlos Kambaekwa
The MTC Namibia Football Association (NFA) Cup is the most sought after silverware in domestic football and all the brouhaha preceding tomorrow’s final between defending champions African Stars and Civics bears testimony to that.
Apart from the first prize of N$350,000, pride is at stake with both teams looking at piling up their barren trophy cabinet and the fans can expect a humdinger of a match between two sides with contrasting styles of play.
The Civilians are more comfortable in knocking the ball around with their short passing game with slow buildups from the back, while Stars prefer the old fashioned game – using their wingers effectively with former Blue Waters’ overlapping fullback Getzen Ndjiharine the architect behind many of the team’s attacks.
Sharp shooting Zimbabwean import Silver Suriyari is a player with an eye for goal and possesses the ability to score the all important goal when least expected and the Khomasdal-based outfit would be better advised to underestimate the slippery goal poacher at their own peril.
Civics will be relying on the goal- coring prowess of veteran striker and inspirational captain Floris Diergaardt to turn the scales in their favour.
Both teams have won the coveted cup once in the history of the competition and Civics’ team manager Paul “Ma-Willies” Stramis admits his team’s poor record in knock-out competitions.
“After we won the NFA Cup in the 2002/2003 season – we have not been able to live up to our real potential and have been eliminated in the first round by lesser opponents in the last couple of years, but we are more than determined to set the record straight come tomorrow.”
The Civilians have so far rattled the opposition’s net on 17 occasions and only conceded 3 goals in four outings on the road to the final, while the Reds are boasting a patchy record of 9 goals against 3 in the knock-out stages of the lucrative competition.
MTC NFA Cup 1st Round – Otjiwarongo
Civics 11 – 0 Major Power African Stars 3 – 1 Golden Bees
MTC NFA Cup 2nd Round – Walvis Bay
Civics 1 – 0 Orlando Pirates African Stars 2 – 0 Oshakati City
MTC NFA Cup Quarterfinals – Mariental
Civics 1- 0 Fedics United African Stars 2 – 1 Hotspurs
MTC NFA Cup Semifinals – Windhoek
Civics 1- 0 Oshikandela Ramblers African Stars 2 – 1 SKW
(Civics win 3-2 on penalties)