Nampol ‘not yet’ title challengers

George Frans of Khomas Nampol in action against Vitapi Ngaruka of African Stars. Photo: Helge Schutz

Khomas Nampol are celebrating surviving relegation and not leading the title race, head coach Fortune Eichab said following Sunday’s stunning 2-0 victory over Debmarine Namibia Premiership title-holders African Stars.

The win at Windhoek’s Independence Stadium puts topflight debutants Nampol three points clear of Stars at the summit of the log on 40 points from 17 matches.

Goals from veteran utility man Denzil Haoseb and forward Terdius Uiseb either side of half-time secured a relatively routine win.

“It was all about sorting out the mistakes and taking your chances. If you don’t make mistakes, you’ll always win games. We wasted chances in the first half. But what a game, the top two teams cancelling each other out,” said Eichab.

“I’m happy. I can say eventually, I have survived relegation with the 40 point margin that we reached.”

Even though Nampol appear to be in a three-way tussle for the league crown with Stars and Ongos just past the mid-point of the season, Eichab dismissed suggestions that his newcomers should be considered in the mix to claim honours.

“We’re not yet in the title challenge. As I told you before, we are relegation fighters. [We reached the] 40 point target and now we need to go back and plan for the next target. It will be very difficult games that will be coming up,” Eichab said.

“To beat African Stars is one of the few times that you will get [to do so]. But I’m happy, we’ll set the targets and see what will happen,” he continued.

“These boys just want to perform. We’ll go back and tell them, ‘relax, we have not won anything’. There’s still lots of games to come and we’re going to fight for everything that is there. As long as we play football, the results will come and the results will take us where we want.”

Stars captain Ronald Ketjijere said the nearly 1 000km journey from Windhoek to Keetmanshoop and back took its toll on his side and was the primary factor for the jaded display. Starlile dropped two points at Young Brazilians on Saturday when playing out a goalless stalemate.

“Tough game and tough day at the office, having a Nampol [team] very fresh; I think they last played on Thursday. We arrived about three hours before this game, straight into the pre-match meal and then we had to come and play the game,” Ketjijere said.

“They knew that we were coming from Keetmans, they were harassing us on the ball and being very strong on the offensive. They were running us and throwing bodies at us. That was their game plan and they gave us a lot of problems today,” the seasoned defensive midfielder said.

“The fans must always be behind the boys. In football there will be days like this but it’s not the end of the road. It’s a league, a marathon, we still have games to play before the end of the season.”

Stars coach Marvin Mbakera said his team was inexplicably lethargic.

“It was a disappointing result and performance. We just didn’t get out of the first gear. The [lack of] energy was the biggest factor today. That spark just could come,” Mbakera said.

He believes the teams character and pedigree will see them bounce back after the underwhelming weekend.

“We don’t need to beat Nampol to win the league. So, yes points dropped but there are lots of points to be picked up. We’re now three points behind but we’ll work hard to make sure we get back to the top of the table,” said Mbakera.

FC Ongos remained third after being held 1-1 away on Sunday by third-last Civics, who lost 2-1 to mid-table Young African a day earlier.

Sunday’s other results saw the Brazilians beating bottom of the table Orlando Pirates 2-1; second-last Life Fighters lost 1-0 at home to Okahandja United; Eeshoke Chula Chula beat Okakarara Young Warriors 3-1; Mighty Gunners were held 1-1 at home by Julinho Sporting; Tigers and Young African drew 1-1 and Blue Waters versus Unam ended goalless.

On Saturday, Life Fighters lost 0-2 Blue Waters; Chula Chula went down 3-2 to Julinho Sporting; and Okakarara lost 2-0 against Gunners.

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