WINDHOEK – Now that the balance of power has shifted, one of the former football powerhouses in domestic football Ramblers Football Club is finding the going extremely tough in the dog-eat-dog business of semi-professional football.
Ramblers have been one of the dominant forces in the country’s topflight league since the inauguration of multi-racial football in Namibia in 1977 that saw the Pionierspark-based outfit finish runner up to Katutura glamour football club African Stars in both the national division one league and the now defunct Mainstay Cup.
The club enjoyed success over the years winning the Tuckmantel Cup, Horst Pitch Pokal and the Matandor Trophy among its collection of silverware. Ramblers won the coveted national league title under the stewardship of shrewd mentor and former player Gary Sales in 1992.
It was among the very first clubs in the domestic setup alongside Civics to remunerate its playing personnel and coaching staff handsomely when the game was still under amateur status.
The club assembled a very good squad comprising of young and exciting footballers led by towering defender Michael Pienaar and the free-scoring gangling forward Henrico Botes. The pair led Ramblers to victory in the final of the Namibia Football Association (NFA) Windhoek Lager Cup in 2005.
Soon afterwards, Botes and Pienaar were rewarded for their immerse contribution when they were snapped up by professional clubs in neigbouring South Africa, where the latter has established himself as one the most prolific net rattlers in the Professional South League (PSL), where he still rules the roost despite his advanced age.
Despite the club’s rich history, Ramblers are finding the going tough in the current term and are dangerously perched joint bottom of the MTC Premiership log standings after eight rounds of matches with a paltry 5 points from a possible 24, but Rammies former winger and incumbent club director Jorge Da Purificacao is not losing any sleep over the club’s current worrisome position on the log standings.
“Not every bad result means the end of the road. I must admit we endured a bumpy road since the start of the current campaign but our lowly position is a result of a combination of things, ranging from injuries to key players and lack of luck,” says Da Purificacao confidently.
“Obviously we have lost matches we could have won easily on a good day but looking at the overall performance of the team, it’s not really that bad as many would like to believe considering the fact that the team started the campaign with the bulk of the leading players on the treatment table. It should also be noted that we did not have favourable fixtures in our opening eight matches since we had to engage the big four – African Stars, Black Africa, FNB Orlando Pirates and Tigers.
“That’s certainly not the best of starts one would have liked but we will soldier on because I strongly believe we have a decent squad capable of climbing the ladder and one thing is for sure, we will be up there among the top eight teams come end of the season.”
Da Purificacao did admit that the club is a bit thin in the striking department and assured the club’s followers that they will invade the transfer market during the transfer window in January to beef up the squad, while he also expressed satisfaction with coach Jeremy Zimmer despite the team’s lowly position.
By Carlos Kambaekwa