Ba Celebrate, Stars Protest

Fervent Black Africa supporters celebrated their club’s historic fourth consecutive MTC Namibia Premier League title triumph amid a chaotic ending to the season at the Sam Nujoma Stadium on Wednesday night.

BA won the championship after closest challengers African Stars lost their disputed match 2-0 to Orlando Pirates.

Stars, who played under protest, failed to overturn the 2-0 deficit in the match that was frantically contested for eight minutes, which led to BA retaining the crown by a solitary point.

BA finished the campaign on 46 points, while Stars are on 45 and Pirates moved to 42 after Wednesday’s victory.

NPL league administrator Josua Hoebeb declared after the match that the Premiership had been concluded and that BA will be awarded their dues on 11 July when the MTC NPL Award ceremony will be held.

“The Premier League events have come to the end. The League has been concluded officially now with the final match of eight minutes. This was the match that was delaying everything,” Hoeumlbeb told reporters after the extraordinary match.

Despite Hoeumlbeb’s assurance that the NPL’s 2013-14 campaign had come to finality, defiant Stars chairman Sidney Martin on Thursday told The Namibian Sport that his club will lodge another protest to have Wednesday’s result nullified.

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Stars’ latest protest stems from their allegation that Pirates fielded an ineligible player during the eight-minute encounter, which contravenes the NPL’s order to resume the match with the same personnel.

Naturally, the NPL have refuted the claim, saying Stars’ accusation is a case of mistaken identity.

According to the NPL, Pirates substituted Terdius Uiseb for Pineas Nzeve in the 59th minute and Marcello Haraseb for Raymond Witbooi in the 75th minute before the match was abandoned on 16 April.

“In terms of the report that I have [from match commissioner] the player that was replaced was Marcello Haraseb [and not Marvin Areseb],” Hoeumlbeb said.

However, Martin, who could be seen motioning to a fuming Stars head coach Woody Jacobs to calm down from the Sam Nujoma Stadium stands on Wednesday, said in the event that it is indeed a mix-up, it had arisen from the match reports submitted to Stars by the NPL, and that it would still not stop them from challenging the outcome of the match.

“In the hand-written match report in our possession that we got from the NPL, it is indicated that M Areseb was substituted and not M Hareseb. Based on that, we protested at the game last night,” said Martin, who added that Stars will not retract their protest if it is established that an error was made during the recording of events from the initial match.

Should the NPL choose to entertain Stars’ most recent complaint, it could result in a further delay to the conclusion of the most troubled domestic league season in independent Namibia.

Especially since Stars have already indicated that they still intend to pursue the dispute in the High Court in the aftermath of their urgent application being struck off the court roll.

The build-up to Wednesday’s match had the rumour mill on overdrive with suggestions that the outcome of the encounter would be fixed to suit Stars.

Hoeumlbeb admitted that there were concerns that Pirates and Stars had colluded to have the match end in favour of the latter.

While the scoreline went against Stars on the day, should it retrospectively emerge that Pirates, deliberately or not, fielded an ineligible player, it would result in them forfeiting the three points. This in turn will most likely end in Stars being awarded the points which would enable them to reclaim the title honours at the expense of BA.

“Anticipation was running that Orlando Pirates will not give their best but they opted to give their best and the match ended 2-0,” Hoeumlbeb said.

Source : The Namibian

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