Black Africa, Pirates Poised for Scintillating Derby

Cross-town rivals Black Africa and Orlando Pirates have engaged in important matches over the years, and Friday night’s derby scheduled for the Sam Nujoma Stadium in Katutura is another such encounter.

Kick-off is at 19h00.

A win for defending champions Black Africa aka Lively Lions will consolidate their position at the summit of the log standings and enhance their chances of claiming their fourth consecutive league title.

Pirates, on the other hand, would fancy the opportunity to spoil their bitter-rivals’ chances of putting one hand on the league trophy by coming up with an excellent strategy and claim a famous victory over coach Brian Isaacs’ charges.

Isaacs was very optimistic about his side’s chances of registering a win in Friday night’s encounter saying that his players were fully aware of what a win could means for their title aspirations.

“The players don’t need any motivation for this encounter because of the rivalry that exists between the two teams. However, we are on a mission and that is to defend our championship title successfully and Pirates can expect a very competitive game.

“In addition, we consider Pirates as our closest rivals and it will only do our chances good if we win this match against them. What I can say is that my players are highly motivated and the mood in our camp is great. We will definitely rise to the occasion,” the Black Africa mentor enthused.

Pirates coach Ali Akan was equally optimistic about the chances of his team picking up maximum points against the defending league champions.

Said Akan: “We are standing on the brink of one of our most important games of the season. Playing Black Africa was never going to be easy at any given time because of the rivalry that exists between the two teams. This is the biggest derby in the country.

“We respect BA although their spokesperson Cassius Moetie didn’t show any respect to us during a recent interview in the local media. We know that we have the ability to win against them and we have prepared very well for this game. We are ready to tackle BA this time.”

Both coaches confirmed that they will field their gest teams for the encounter, adding that besides the three valuable points at stake, the victor also gives their supporters bragging rights in all the corners of the country.

“I have coached both teams,” said Akan, “and I know the importance of a win for both the supporters and management of the two teams. These teams have a long history of success in the country and that was not built overnight.

“I am aware of the fact that Pirates have not been as successful as our fans would like them to be. However, this encounter presents us the chance to rectify that deficit. A win will definitely change the mentality of our players because of the opponent we are playing.”

He pointed out that Black Africa will make a very big mistake if they underestimate his charges because of the teams’ log positions at the moment.

“Yes, BA are on top of the log and they are defending champions going into this match but we all know what complacency has done even to the top clubs in the world. We know what we want from this clash and we have a perfect game plan to counter Black Africa’s strategies.

“Our aim this season is to win something for our supporters and we know that we can achieve that. We know that we are up against a great team with great players but we are up to the task and want to make our supporters happy again,” he noted.

Isaacs, meanwhile, stressed the importance of the encounter adding that matches against teams like Pirates always brings the best out of any Black Africa player.

“We know that this is the biggest match of the season for our players and, most importantly, our supporters. We know too well that a victory against Pirates gives them the right to walk very tall in Katutura or wherever they are in all the corners of Namibia.

“It is just a matter of the players rising to the occasion because this is the Katutura derby and a positive result will put us all in a positive frame of mind in all the other remaining matches to become champions of Namibia again. We must cement our spot at the top,” Isaacs said.

This encounter will need more than the tactical approaches from the two coaches and a lot will also depend on the two captains of the two teams – Orlando Pirates’ Brian Gurirab and Da Costa Angula of Black Africa – to drive and motivate their teammates with top performances of their own.

In addition, Black Africa’s midfield playmaker Willy Stephanus, is expected to be at his devastating best as he always seems to pick up his best form against Pirates, a team for which his father Steve Stephanus starred during his heyday, while Pirates can pin their hopes on Gustav ‘Image’ Isaak, to pull the strings for them in the engine room.

Also, the hard-working Klaas Blom, who made his name in local football in the famous black and white colours of the Sea Robbers, will be out to stop the attacks of his former side in the heart of Black Africa’s midfield, while the team in red and black can expect an uncompromised performance from the tough Mervin Areseb.

All in all, the spectators can expect an entertaining encounter as it has always been the case during matches featuring the two Katutura giants. This is definitely one encounter not to be missed.

Entrance is N$50 and the fans are urged to come early in order to avoid disappointment.

Source : The Namibian