… Stars host Pirates in league opener
WINDHOEK – MTC Premiership perennial underachievers FNB Orlando Pirates are eager to get off to a good start when they come up against traditional rivals African Stars in the opening match of the 2013/2014 MTC Premiership campaign under floodlights at the Sam Nujoma Stadium on Friday night at 20h00.
The revitalized Ghosts, under the stewardship of wily mentor Ali ‘Mr Fix It’ Akan, were brought down to mother gravity when they failed to negotiate their way past the semifinals of the Namibia Premier League (NPL) Cup after they were heavily tipped to replace cup holders African Stars as the new champions.
The much-fancied Buccaneers were surprisingly bundled out of the round robin low profile tourney by league minnows Tura Magic, who went on to claim their first silverware in topflight football after gaining promotion to the country’s elite league last term.
Akan, Namibia’s most decorated football coach in recent seasons, is looking to his young brigade in the current squad to take the Buccaneers to greater heights after an indifferent showing that has left the Katutura based club playing second fiddle to both arch rivals Black Africa and African Stars in recent years.
The usually confident Turkish national believes Friday’s league opener against the equally ambitious Stars is the beginning of a rebuilding process for his new team eager to restore some fading pride and bring back hope to the Buccaneers’ success-starved followers.
“I have a mixture of experienced and young players who are showing tremendous hunger to succeed by winning things and this gives me so much encouragement and we look ahead to a very good season with so much at stake. We might not boast big name players in our squad but we have no reason to bow our heads, Pirates is a massive team and now the time is ripe to lift itself up by starting to challenge for top honours with the elusive league title among our prime targets,” said Akan.
Action continues on Saturday when holders Black Africa entertain Rundu Chiefs to open their 4th consecutive title defence in a potential three-pointer at the Sam Nujoma Stadium at 18h00.
Elsewhere, serious title contenders Tigers are away to newly promoted United Stars at the Rundu Stadium but the unpredictable Shandumbala Boys will be well advised to guard against complacency while they also need to shake off their trademark inconsistency, notably against lesser opponents.
Rejuvenated Eleven Arrows host Civics at the Kuisebmond Stadium in Walvis Bay while the league’s yo-yo team PC Blue Boys welcome ambitious Katutura outfit Tura Magic, in what promises to be an exciting encounter between the two teams.
Ramblers complete the MTC Premiership first round fixtures with a home tie against LHU Blue Waters in the first of a double header at the Sam Nujoma Stadium. Unless otherwise stated: All matches start at 16h00.
By Carlos Kambaekwa