Champagne on ice for Stars

Simon Elago of FC Ongos in action against Ronald Ketjijere of African Stars. Photo: Helge Schütz

African Stars can start putting the champagne on ice before they are officially crowned the 2023/24 Debmarine Namibia Premiership champions next Saturday. 

Following their goalless draw against FC Ongos on Sunday, Stars now lead Ongos by three points, and even if Stars lose their final match against Orlando Pirates next Saturday, Ongos will have to beat Young African by at least 15 goals, which is mathematically possible, but practically impossible. 

Ongos had to beat Stars on Sunday to maintain their title challenge and although they created some good scoring opportunities, they couldn’t find the net. Captain Junias Theophilus, Nicodemus Haikali and Wangu Gome all came close, while Kapundjiri Tjingee missed their best chance when he blasted over the goal in the closing stages. 

Stars also had their chances through Uetuuru Kambatu, Willy Stephanus and Ibroihim Youssouf, but they could not break down Ongos’ defence. The draw, though, was good enough as Stars captain Ronald Ketjijere said after the game. 

“Ongos needed to win today to remain in contention and to fight for the title, so for us it was a good result,” he said. 

“There’s a big gap in terms of goal difference and I think it will be impossible for one team to score about 15 goals, unless there’s some sort of manipulation of the result. But we don’t want to think about that – all we need to do to make sure is to get a draw against Pirates, so that we dont need to worry about the other results,” he added. 

Stars’s evergreen striker Awilo Stephanus congratulated Ongos on a good match. 

“I think it was a good game and Ongos really played well today – they had more chances, but they dont have a clinical player up front that could capitalise on those balls. We also had a few chances but we didnt take them,” he said. 

“I think Ongos have to score about 15 goals to catch us with the goal difference, so you can say we are there now. I think it willbe my sixth title so for me its a great feeling, but I’m also pleased for Stars’ younger boys who are now playing for the first time in the Debmarine Namibia Premiership,” he added.

Ongos coach Agnus Elemu said it was a tactical game.

“We played a tactical game today, it was not a game where you can just jump in and do what you like, it needed a tactical reading of the game, and to see the options and the openings,” he said. 

“Yes it’s the end of the league, but we will see how it ends with the last game. We have to finish high, I think the boys, the director and the management have shown great character this season so we are aiming to finish on a high,” he added. 

Although the title race is now concluded, the relegation battle is still raging as three teams battle it out to avoid the drop. 

Life Fighters became the first to be relegated when they lost 3-1 to Eeshoke Chula Chula on Sunday. Their 1-1 draw against Otjiwarongo rivals Mighty Gunners on Friday gave them hope of survival, but Sunday’s defeat now leaves them on 20 points – six points behind the other basement dwellers. 

The final two relegation spots will now be determined next weekend when Okakarara Young Warriors and Orlando Pirates (both on 26 points) and Julino Sporting (28) play their final matches.

Julinho collected maximum points over the weekend against Okahandja United (1-0) and Blue Waters (1-0); Okakarara collected three points against Blue Waters (1-0) and Pirates collected four points after a goalless draw against FC Ongos and a 1-0 win against Young African.

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