Former MTC Premiership giants Chief Santos have finally made their long overdue return to topflight football.
The Copper Town Lads, as the Tsumeb-based outfit is affectionately known amongst its ardent followers, won promotion to the MTC Premiership – courtesy of a thrilling 7-2 triumph over Oshikango Chiefs in the title decider at the Oscar Norich Stadium in Tsumeb on Saturday.
Going into the match tied on points with rivals the Rundu-based Cuca Tops on 43 points apiece, the fired-up Copper Town Lads needed a victory at all costs, either by hook or by crook.
Buoyed by a vociferous large home crowd never seen in that neck of the woods in a long time, Santos were firing on all cylinders and it came as no surprise when they took the lead through Rodney Damaseb’s astonishing strike in the 25th minute to send the appreciative crowd into raptures.
Fighting back, striker Kadila Erasmus unleashed earth-moving strikes in succession, which both went just inches over the cross bar.
Desmond Khariub settled the home team’s supporters’ nerves when he headed Santos’ second goal on the half hour mark to make it 2-nil in favour of the hosts.
Still, the two-goal lead was not deemed good enough as Kharigub added his second to complete his brace (3-0) leaving the visitors’ shot stopper Baziliu Johannes catching flies with a sublime finish.
The visitors’ poor defence let in another goal as the wide awake Damaseb netted his second of the game to give Santos a well-deserved 4-0 cushion going into the break.
The goal seemed to take the steam out of Chiefs and it was clearly evident that the crowd was in for goals galore as the hosts pressed in search of more.
Botshelo Mogotsi added his name on the score sheet with goal number five, five minutes after the changeover. Though the visitors staged a desperate comeback – their attempts were easily thwarted by the agility of Santos’ shot stopper Calvin Spiegel.
Further goals by Gideon Geiseb and Damaseb completed the riot – giving Santos a 7-2 win – thus securing them promotion to the country’s flagship league for the 2016/2017 campaign.
Nghixulu Gevasius and super sub Simasiku Khune reduced the deficit with a goal apiece for Chiefs but their efforts were just not good enough. Santos’ head coach Bafana Subeb Bafana could not hide his excitement, saying it has been a bad seven years of struggle to attain this achievement.
“We could have done this long time ago but we were financially broke, so we got some finances and this is the result of what money can do,” he said, stressing that the two goals his team conceded were as a result of complacency.
His opposite number Nestor Muahafa was gracious in defeat, applauding Santos’ victory.
“We lost because our defenders were not diligent and strong enough, considering that Santos is a very strong team. So, they deserve to win the title.”
In another supposedly title decider, Bingo FC came from three goals down to turn the tables, seeing off Cuca Tops in a seven-goal thriller at the Rundu sports ground. Bingo emerged 4-3 victors.