Top Namibian clubs aim for silverware

The reigning league champions, Civics crushed a stubborn Oshakati City 1-0, while former league three time champions and current FNB Cup holders, Blue Waters dumped Ramblers, 2-0 to both progress in the country’s traditional league curtain raiser tournament. The two powerhouses of Namibian football have now progressed into tricky coursework where they meet last year’s FNB runners up, African Stars as well as dethroned Cup Kings Black Africa.

The semi-finals are set for Windhoek’s Independence Stadium on December 9, where Black Africa will lock horns with the African Stars. Blue Waters will face Civics in top teams clash where the winners will meet in the finals set for December 16 in the capital.

Shepherd Murape’s Blue Waters have maintained that they will retain their title despite fielding a new team this season. “We have come through the worst already and I don’t think the next stages will be as suspicious as what we have gone through,” said a confident Murape who lost a host of players in the off-season South African great trek. The coastal giants have pummelled their Walvis Bay rivals Eleven Arrows 2-1 before meeting Ramblers.

Civics’ Helmuth Scharnowski says he has taken this tournament as serious as any other match in the league as the team is preparing for its second African Champions League campaign next year. Arguably the richest club in Namibia, the flamboyant Windhoek side believes it has what it takes to clinch its first title of the season. “We need a moral booster, before the year ends and it can only be the FNB Cup,” said Scharnowksi whose side crushed first division side Mighty Gunners, 4-1 to progress.

Both sides are still to find the right rhythm in the league although their coaches claim that it is still too early to define the premiership at the moment. African Stars are unfazed, however. They have always been underdogs and seem to be taking over the Cup Kings tag from Black Africa. Stars, traditional mid-table dwellers in the premiership, gave stiff resistance to Blue Waters in last years’ final of the FNB Cup, stretching the three time champions to the penalty shoot-outs.

Black Africa are yet to lose a match this season and have been on song, lying second on the log only separated on goal difference by lo leaders, Sports Klub Windhoek (SKW).Coached by former Namibian national team and Mamelodi Sundowns goalie, Ronnie Kanalelo, Black Africa have maintained consistency both in the tournament and in the league. “We have stopped playing for money, we are playing to win, because money is lust and the day we fail to get money players will rebel. So our weapon is that we are playing professionally like champions, even if we are not yet champions and sooner we will be one,” said the 1998 Brave Warriors African Nations Cup goal minder.

The winners of Namibia’s second richest tournament will walk away R170 000 richer will the runners up will take home R70 000.The FNB Cup final will be the last match the year, as the premiership will go on the festive break.

December 2006
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