‘YB needs PstBet NFA Cup more than Stars’

Christinus Windstaan of Young Brazilians in action against Willy Stephanus of African Stars. Photo: Helge Schütz

The general expectation is that African Stars will beat Young Brazilians (YB) and add the PstBet NFA Cup to their bulging trophy cabinet.

Stars are back to back Namibia Premier Football League champions, while YB barely secured topflight survival.

Factor in the 10-0 drubbing in a lopsided away league clash in December and the argument leans heavily in Stars’ favour.

However, YB were much improved on their Karasburg home turf the last time the teams met in February, with Stars second-best and lucky to escape with a point from the goalless draw.

YB are looking to use that match as a blueprint to upset Stars and claim the coveted cup, says assistant coach Elrico Smitch.

“We’re a small group, so we don’t have many options to choose from but we are very united. We have to fight together and die together,” Smitch said when unpacking his team’s journey in an interview with The Namibian Sport yesterday.

“We’ve taken it one game at a time and taken every opponent seriously. So, we got this far because we prepared well and played as a unit and to our strengths.

Winning the PstBet NFA Cup would be seismic moment in the club’s history, Smitch said.

“African Stars don’t need it, we need it more.”

“It [winning the cup] will bring a big change to our club. It will mean the world to us. We want to make our home town proud.”

Despite retaining the league crown, Stars have uncharacteristically flattered to deceive this season, alternating between sublime showings one week and lethargic displays the next. The coaching upheavals have arguably been the main contributors to a topsy-turvy campaign, in which the club has had three coaches at the helm.

Nonetheless, Stars remain a tough proposition and have mastered the art of winning without necessarily having to play well.

Saturday’s 3-2 penalty shoot-out victory over Khomas Nampol was such a scenario. A disjointed display saw them fall behind early to a George Frans strike.

But influential Stars’ skipper Ronald Ketjijere rolled back the years to equalise before half-time with a rasping drive from range.

“It was always going to be a slow start from us, we haven’t played in a while. Nampol was a team that wanted to prove a point and got out of the blocks as fast as possible. I always knew that at some point, we would come back,” said Stars third head coach of the season Fillemon Kanalelo.

Shoot-out hero Ndisiro Kamaijanda downplayed his role in Stars’ reaching the decider after saving two spot-kicks.

The agile stopper hopes they can make it a clean sweep of domestic football silverware.

“It was just about keeping a cool head and helping my team. I had to save the team and there was nothing special about it. We’re in the final and we will do our best to win the trophy,” he said.

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