Ba Brace for Tough Task

Black Africa will need to be at their best to keep African Stars and Tura Magic from derailing their title defence ambitions when they clash in enticing Namibia Premier League fixtures this weekend.

Coach Otto Landsberg’s table-topping charges are scheduled to face African Stars in a Katutura Derby at Windhoek’s Independence Stadium on Saturday, before taking on the unpredictable Magicians at the same venue the following day.

Starlile are a point adrift of BA in second position on the log, while Tura Magic lie seventh and seven points off the top.

“We are going to have two very important games this weekend with six points available and we want them all,” Landsberg told reporters at a media briefing in Windhoek yesterday.

“I expect two very tough games against two very well organised teams. Stars are our closest challengers in terms of points and Tura Magic have a habit of giving us a hard time. But we are ready for the challenge,” he added.

Recent history slightly favours the champions, who have won three of the last nine meetings in league and cup competitions.

In fact, Stars have only defeated their rivals once in the last four years when briefly stalling the Lively Lions’ march towards a fourth consecutive NPL title in May.

The last encounter between the country’s top two clubs ended in a 3-2 victory in the season-opening Standard Bank Namibia Cup two months ago.

While BA lead the standings and, along with African Stars, are yet to lose a match this season, they have been far from their scintillating best, a situation that Landsberg and club captain Willy Stephanus believe will soon change for the better.

“We have played seven games and collected 17 points, so it’s not too bad. We lack a bit (of an edge) upfront upfront. The winning margins are not that good,” Landsberg said.

“We’ve changed the playing system a bit and we also have a few new players that have come into the team so it will take time to get to the level we want to be,” he added.

“Another thing is that when teams play BA, they step up their game. We would appreciate it if they can do this for every game they play so that it makes our football more competitive.”

However, the off colour displays should not be taken as a perceived lack of desire to remain the top team in the country, as BA still intend capturing a record-extending fifth straight NPL crown.

“The motivation is still there. We still want to win titles. Currently we are lacking unity because we have had lots of injuries. But I think from this weekend going forward you will see us return to that level,” Stephanus said. “One thing I have noticed in this league is that there is no big and small teams. Each game is tough. So we’ll treat every match like a cup final.”

Meanwhile, Tura Magic, who have also not been producing spell-binding football of late, are intent on making up the deficit on the leaders to maintain their ambition of challenging for the honours.

Now in their second season in the top flight, the Magicians, who have finished among the leading sides in the league over the last two years, believe they have what it takes to challenge for trophies.

They play third-placed Unam at the Unam Rugby Stadium on Saturday before Sunday’s clash against BA.

“We need the points. We dropped points last time out so we are hoping to get better results and improve our position on the log,” said Magic’s defender and vice captain Robinson Iyambo.

“We plan on getting silverware this season. There’s no point in playing if you don’t plan to win something. It won’t be easy but we are well prepared for the challenge,” he said.

Transport for Tura Derby

The Black Africa Supporters Club Committee will provide transport for fans to and from the Independence Stadium for their team’s Katutura Derby showdown against African Stars on Saturday.

According to the committee’s marketing officer Lukas Victor, this is part of the club’s new drive to attract more supporters to matches.

“We are busy working on ways to improve attendances at the stadiums. We have seen this being done is South Africa and it works,” Victor said.

“This is a trial run. We want to be able to do this for all our home games,” he added. “We know that the venue is far for many supporters who don’t own cars so we made transport arrangements with about 15 minibus taxis to ferry fans to the stadium and back. It will cost only N$8 to go and the same amount for the return trip,” he said.

The pick up points are at the Katutura Central Shops, Herero Mall, Golgota 14, Wanaheda Bus Stop and the Otjomuise shopping complex.

The taxis will start to ferry passengers to the stadium from 17h00 and the return trip will be from 21h00.

The match kicks-off at 19h00 and entry is N$50.

“We want to entertain and let football be the winner that is why we urge supporters to behave to avoid unnecessary issues at the stadium,” said Victor.

“DJ Baggio and Webster Snewe will provide entertainment before the match and at halftime so fans must come early to create a condusive atmosphere (for the game).”

Source : The Namibian