Three-horse title race intensifies

Wangu Gome of FC Ongos in action against Absalom Iimbondi of Khomas Nampol. Photo: Helge Schütz

The Debmarine Namibia Premiership resumes this weekend with the early title contenders all facing tough double-headers. 

With close to two-thirds of the league completed, the 2023/24 campaign has already developed into a three-horse title race with Khomas Nampol, African Stars and FC Ongos having pulled away from the chasing pack.

Nampol lead the log on 41 points, followed by Stars on 40 and FC Ongos on 39, while a host of other teams trail 10 points behind in fourth place.

A fascinating title race has developed with Nampol replacing Stars at the top of the log three weeks ago, but with only two points separating the top three, there could be more changes in store. 

In a crucial encounter at Windhoek’s Independence Stadium tonight, Nampol take on a resurgent Ongos, who got off to a great start under new coach Agnus Elemu a fortnight ago.

With the former Life Fighters coach at the helm, they collected maximum points on the road, beating Okahandja United 2-0 and Blue Waters 3-0 to close in on the leaders. 

Nampol by contrast, could only collect one point after drawing 0-0 to Eeshoke Chula Chula and losing 3-2 to Mighty Gunners, and with another tough encounter in store against Young African in Gobabis on Sunday, tonight’s match will be crucial to their title challenge.

FC Ongos host Young Brazilians on Sunday and if they collect maximum points they could go to the top of the log. 

African Stars, though, will be hoping for a resurgence under new coach Ronnie Kanalelo, who took over from Mervin Mbakera after Stars lost 2-0 to Unam on 18 February, and could also return to the summit. 

Tomorrow they take on Civics who are struggling in the relegation zone, while they face mid-table Tigers on Sunday. 

The battle to avoid relegation is, meanwhile, intensifying with Orlando Pirates’ recent resurgence under Woody Jacobs strengthening their chances. They collected maximum points against Unam and Life Fighters to move off the foot of the table, but Jacobs’ recent departure and return to Matebele FC in Botswana has left them in limbo while they search for a new coach. 

Assistant coaches Costa Khaiseb and Geoffrey Roman will continue to steer the ship in the meantime and Khaiseb was in a positive mood ahead of their matches against Tigers and Civics this weekend. 

“We acquired a good squad of players in the interim break and we will continue with Woody’s philosophy and tactics. We signed 14 new quality players and you can see we got good results,” he said. 

“We are injury free and positive that we will reach our target of avoiding relegation,” he added. 

The order of the chasing pack can also see some changes as the four teams currently joint-fourth on 29 points each, all face each other. Eeshoke Chula Chula travel to the coast to take on Blue Waters, while Okahandja United host Mighty Gunners at Okahandja on Sunday. 

In other matches, Okakarara Young Warriors host Unam at Grootfontein and Life Fighters host Julinho Sporting at Otjiwarongo. 

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