With only two weeks to go before the curtain opens on the domestic football season’s opening mini-tourney, the Dr Hage Geingob Cup, tension is mounting with votes flowing in to determine the local team to join Namibian champions Tigers in the four-team football bonanza.
The ball gets rolling for the two-day football extravaganza on August 6 at Windhoek’s Independence stadium. The star-studded line-up features South African Professional Soccer League (PSL) champions Mamelodi Sundowns, who open up their defense in the mini-tourney with a date against compatriots Orlando Pirates.
The Pretoria outfit have won the cup twice since its inception in 2014. Sundowns are currently riding the crest of the wave – fresh from Sunday’s hard-fought 2-1 win over Egyptian giants Zamalek, away from home.
With stars like Keegan Dolly, Hlopho Kekana and free-scoring Zimbabwean goal-poacher Khama Billiat in the line up, Sundowns are hot favourites to retain the trophy, but could face resistance from the new look Ghosts team.
The Buccaneers have enlisted the services of wily mentor Muhsin Ertugral and have also beefed up their playing personnel with a number of promising youngsters, including Under-23 national defender Abubakar Mobara. Buoyed by their near-faultless display during the last term that saw them losing just two matches during the entire campaign Ingwe will be boosted by home ground advantage and are hot favourites to reach the final – provided they brush aside their yet to be announced opponents in the other semifinal. With man of the moment Abes Iimbondi in top form, Tigers could become the first local team to dethrone their much-fancied South African opponents. A highly gifted athlete, Iimbondi possess all the attributes of a complete footballer and could teach the visitors a thing or two in their own game. Votes for the inclusion of the remaining team are open until Saturday, July 23. Football lovers are encouraged to vote for their favourite team by texting the team’s name to 5003 at a cost of N$3 per sms.
Namibian champions Tigers and the other yet to be named local club will be N$400 000 richer in appearance fees, almost half the amount paid out to MTC Premiership winners.
Tickets can be obtained from Computicket for a paltry N$20 for a double-header. However, fans can also purchase a N$30 ticket for both days.
The annual Dr Hage Geingob Cup is jointly sponsored by Namibia Breweries and MTC, Namibia Airports Company (NAC), Air Namibia, MMI, Profile Investments and Agribank, amongst others.