Fierce battles in store

Wesley Urion of Pirates and Paulus Gideon of Unam in action during Unam’s 2-1 victory on Wednesday night. Photo: Helge Schütz

With more than a third of the matches in the Debmarine Namibia Premiership completed, the battle for supremacy is still wide open with several teams amongst the early title contenders.

Defending champions African Stars went to the top of the log on 26 points for the first time since the first round last weekend, but Khomas Nampol and FC Ongos are breathing down their neck a point behind, while Blue Waters are within touching distance, a further three points behind in fourth place. 

Behind them, six teams are separated by only three points, and with the relegation battle also heating up, some explosive matches can be expected this weekend. 

African Stars only have won match in store this weekend, but will be firm favourites to pick up maximum points against Young Brazilians at Windhoek’s Independence Stadium tomorrow afternoon. 

Marvin Mbakera, back in the hot seat after replacing Prince Koffie last week, got off to a great start with wins against Life Fighters and Unam, while Young Brazilians are struggling in 13th position, just above the relegation zone. Last weekend they got only their third win of the season when they beat Eeshoke Chula Chula 4-3, but the next day once again tasted defeat when they went down 3-1 to Mighty Gunners. 

Khomas Nampol are not in action this weekend, but FC Ongos, who also fired their coach Paulus Shipanga over the past week, have a chance to replace Stars at the top of the log.

They were due to play Tigers last night and face a struggling 12th-placed Civics on Sunday, with former goalkeeper coach Ephraim Tjihonge in charge for the time being. He has already had some success, taking Ongos to victories against Julinho and Okakarara Young Warriors when Shipanga was on assignment with the Brave Gladiators, and favourable results this could strengthen his chances of remaining in the hot seat.

Blue Waters have dropped a bit off the pace and will be eager to close the gap on the leaders when they host Julinho Sporting and Life Fighters at Walvis Bay. 

They are now six points behind Stars, but a maximum points haul could put them right back amongst the early pace-setters. 

Tigers, Chula Chula, Okahandja United, Young African, Mighty Gunners and Unam are separated by just three points in the middle of the log, and all

could still close in on the leaders.

Chula Chula, who are sixth on 15 points, will fancy their chances when they host Unam and Okakarara Young Warriors at Oshakati’s Independence Stadium tomorrow and Sunday respectively, while Okahandja United (seventh on 15 points) will also be aiming for maximum points when they host Life Fighters and Julinho Sporting. 

Young African (eighth on 14 points) also have two home games against Civics and Tigers, as do ninth-placed Mighty Gunners (13 points), who host Okakarara Young Warriors and Unam at the Mokati Stadium in Otjiwarongo. 

Unam, meanwhile, moved up to tenth position on 13 points when they beat Orlando Pirates 2-1 at Windhoek’s Independence Stadium on Wednesday night. 

Godwin Eiseb gave Unam the lead after 35 minutes, but Giovanni Engelbrecht equalised for Pirates two minutes later. Eiseb, however, sealed Unam’s victory with a great freekick eight minutes from time. 

The defeat leaves Pirates rooted to the bottom of the log and they will be desperate to get maximum points when they host Young Brazilians at the Windhoek Independence Stadium on Sunday. 

Khomas Nampol, meanwhile, will resume their campaign next week with two enticing matches in store – against Pirates next Tuesday, 8 December, and against African Stars three days later. 

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