… As Civics, Ramblers and BA Surrender
By Confidence Musariri
The curtain came down in style on the Namibian Premier League as favourites Orlando Pirates became the undisputed 2007/8 Namibian champions with an exasperating 3-1 win over Mighty Gunners in Otjiwarongo on Saturday.
Johannes Seibeb, Paulus Shipanga and Chepela Chepela were on target as they cancelled Gunners’ one-goal threat converted by Sageus Narimab in an exciting encounter, while championship contenders Civics faltered at the last huddle, drawing one-all to Fedics.
The victory sparked wild celebrations from the travelling 2000 Pirates faithful that had been starved of such carousing since independence, as Pirates had become premiership lightweights.
But for new club owner Hendrik Dawids, the triumph was more poignant as it came with a N$500 000 winning prize which no other club had pocketed except Civics since its inception three seasons ago.
According to Namibia Sport, Narimab almost silenced the roar in the Mokati Stadium when he beat Pirates keeper Athiel Mbaha, but Brian Isaacs’ charges were not to be deterred as they bounced in style, dominating a thrilling game which was capped with passages of fast football of the highest calibre.
No sooner had Seibeb equalised in the 26th minute than Shipanga capitalised on a goalmouth scramble and released a 30-meter scorcher, which ricocheted into the net.
Super-sub Chepela Chepela was to do the same in probably his most important goal of his career with a 67-minute strike courtesy of a Klaas Blom setter.
Victory celebrations started at Mokati Stadium on Saturday but the team chose to drive on the same night to Windhoek, where parties had already started late Friday night.
Dawids and coach Brian Isaacs are already relishing the prospect of being in next year’s champions league and have courted the services of former Brave Warriors player Mohammed Ouseb, who was forced out of professional football in South Africa by a niggling knee injury.
Isaacs says the 13-match unbeaten streak will continue next season from where it ended.
Civics needing three points and a Pirates loss to win the league, all but failed to achieve both. With top marksman Floris Diergaardt injured, Danny Chilufya and Geoffrey Roman carried the misfortunes of the club upfront as they fired blanks the whole afternoon.
It needed Tugela Tuyeni to find the consolation goal against an already relegated but stubborn Fedics side who played as if it was a cup final.
It became the proverbial last kick of a dying horse when Ashley Jossop put Fedics ahead and marshalled the team into 60mintues of serious defending, against numerous Civics raids.
Out of frustration, defender Franklin April got his marching orders for a second bookable offence towards the end of the match, as news filtered into an empty Independence Stadium that Pirates were 3-1 up in Otjiwarongo.
Civics thus pocketed the N$225 000 while Ramblers, also chasing a second spot, fatigued in their 2-all draw to SKW to earn themselves N$130 000.
Black Africa, also chasing both second and third spot, received a 4-2 thumping at the hands of comeback boys Oshakati City and will only pocket a fourth-place N$90 000 pay-off, followed by N$45 000 richer SKW and sixth-placed Eleven Arrows who beat Tigers to pocket N$30 000 and complete the top six bracket.
Fedics and Blue Waters are now first division material along with Max Johnson’s Chief Santos, and Hotspurs, while other traditional clubs Tigers, African Stars and Oshakati City will live to fight another day.
But for Pirates, the party continues.