By Carlos Kambaekwa
Its official! Former MTC Namibia Premier League champions APS Blue Waters will join fellow strugglers Namdeb Fedics United in the Southern Stream Division One League next season.
The coastal outfit has been relegated from the country’s elite league following their 3-1 thrashing at the hands of Tigers in an MTC Namibia Premiership match at the Khomasdal Stadium in Windhoek over the weekend.
Going into the match with their backs to the wall, the writing was already on the wall for the out of sorts coastal outfit who arrived for their league encounter against Tigers without an alternative playing gear – much to the amazement of their opponents.
The match was delayed for almost 20 minutes as the hosts scattered around to find a suitable playing gear for their opponents – a gesture that demonstrated hospitality way beyond the norm, but the hosts had no further intention of extending their hospitality to the playing field.
Tigers’ talented but sometimes wayward striker Tangeni Shipahu, gave his team a well-deserved lead in the third minute when he latched onto a through ball and coolly slotted home after some confusion between Blue Waters’ burly defender Nico Kootjie and goalkeeper Charles Uirab.
The clearly dejected visitors could not penetrate the watertight Tigers defence that was well marshalled by Lubingisa Lubingisa, and it was indeed the hosts who almost extended their slender lead when Shipahu’s powerful header was palmed away for a corner by Uirab, on the half-hour mark.
Three minutes later, Lubingisa played a neat one-two with Neville Nanub and the skillful Tanzanian defender got to the end of the final pass and left Uirab rooted to his goal line with a cool finish to put the hosts firmly in the driving seat.
Two minutes into the second half – Shipahu completed his brace with a clinical volley after the lanky striker connected beautifully with Lubingisa’s well-taken free kick.
The goal lifted the striker’s tally to 11 and saw him leapfrog the Oshikandela Ramblers’ pair of Pineas Jacob and John Samson (10-goals each) into first place for the Golden Boot Award.
The visitors were reduced to 10 men when defender Gottlieb Nakuta fell foul of referee Mathew Katjimune’s crime sheet in the 57th minute. The tough as nails burly defender received his marching orders for a second caution after he roughed up Nanub – a challenge that did not impress the FIFA accredited official.
Blue Waters’ leading marksman Kenny Malgas pulled a consolation goal back for the coastal side. He beat the offside trap and rounded off the onrushing Fox Nambundunga in Tigers’ goal before he rolled the ball into an empty net in the 69th minute.
Shortly afterwards, Nambundunga was stretched off the field with a recurring knee injury and was surprisingly replaced by Simon Shikokola, an infield player with the versatile Lubingisa taking over the gloves between the sticks.
Blue Waters’ ageing striker Armando Pedro tried all tricks in the book of tricks to salvage some lost pride, but there was very little the veteran striker could do and the closest he could trouble the watertight Tigers’ rearguard was a tame left footed volley that went harmlessly past the upright in the dying minutes of the match.
When Katjimune blew the final whistle, the expression on the face of the players was enough to make a seasoned journo shed a tear or two as the players bowed their heads in shame, pondering the long journey back home – a journey of uncertainty and life of hell in the first division as the reality of relegation sank in.
And whilst the Khomasdal Stadium resembled an atmosphere of a funeral with tears of agony flowing freely down the cheeks of Blue Waters’ diehards – tears of joy were the order of the day across town at the SKW Stadium, amongst the Buccaneers supporters.
Orlando Pirates put one hand on the coveted MTC Namibia Premiership title with a hard fought 2-1 win over a stubborn Eleven Arrows at the SKW Stadium after coming back from the jaws of defeat.
Defending champions Civics were held to an uninspiring goalless draw by the defence-minded Sport Klub Windhoek (SKW), at the Independence Stadium in Windhoek.
The result gave the Buccaneers some breathing space and Brian Isaacs’ charges only need a draw in their last match away to Mighty Gunners to clinch the elusive league title.
In other action, Ramblers all but kissed their fading title aspirations goodbye with another lukewarm performance that saw the star-studded Pionierspark-based team suffering a humiliating 1-Nil defeat at the hands of lowly placed Oshakati City at the town’s Independence Stadium, on Saturday.
Elsewhere, Fedics United’s reign in top-flight football came to a premature halt but the Keetmanshoopers bowed out in some kind of fashion as they held African Stars to a 1-all stalemate in a fast-flowing match at the J Stephanus Stadium in Keetmanshoop under freezing weather on Saturday evening.
As widely speculated, Black Africa succumbed to the might of Gunners as Dawid Snewe’s men in uniform ran riot against the Lively Lions at the Mokati Stadium in Otjiwarongo on Saturday.
Inspired by their midweek sponsorship of N$300,000 – the men in uniform were out to impress their new partners and certainly lived up to the occasion. NDF Lawsure Mighty Gunners taught Black Africa the finer laws of the game – albeit when it comes down to finding the back of the net.
A goal apiece from Dawid Anton and Sageus Narimab put the soldiers ahead in the opening 15 minutes and Percy Khairabeb made it 3-Nil before the changeover.
Dixuxa Nanuseb put the final nail in Africa’s coffin with goal number four to end Smithley Engelbrecht’s charges slim hopes for the coveted league title.
Final Score: NDF Lawsure Mighty Gunners 4 – 0 Black Africa.
Blue Waters and Fedics United are relegated from next season’s MTC Namibia Premiership and their places will be taken up by Chief Santos (Tsumeb) and Hotspurs (Windhoek).
The promotion of Hotspurs to the elite league will bring the total number of Windhoek-based teams in the Premier League to eight. The others are African Stars, Black Africa, Civics, Orlando Pirates, Ramblers, SKW and Tigers,