Football Is Back With the Super Cup

The new football season kicks off on Saturday when arch-rivals Black Africa and African Stars battle it out for the inaugural Standard Bank Super Cup trophy and prize money of N$500 000 for the winners.

The Super Cup was launched earlier this year with Standard Bank sponsoring N$3 million over the next three years for the season-opening Cup tournament between the league champions and the NFA Biest Namibia Cup champions.

Saturday’s inaugural encounter will have added spice following last season’s lengthy legal tussle resulting from the abandoned match between African Stars and Orlando Pirates.

In the end, Stars dropped their case in the interests of soccer, with the result that Black Africa’s status as the league champions prevailed – now for a record fourth year in succession – while Stars finished as league runners-up, one point behind.

Stars coach Woody Jacobs however felt they were the better team last season.

“We need to respect BA especially since they have won the league title four years in a row, although last season I thought that African Stars were the better team and we deserved to win the league if it had not been for that eight-minute debacle. We had the better of them in our league matches last season and want to keep it that way,” he said.

“I respect the ability of their coach Brian Isaacs and the record that he has built up with BA – he is now our role model and has done something that no other coach in Namibia has done,” he added.

Stars have undergone a lot of changes to their playing personnel with Max Mbaeva and Freedom Puriza joining Golden Arrows in South African, while defender Hartman Toromba has retired.

New arrivals include Pirates keeper Charles Uirab, Tigers wingback Treasure Kauapirura, Blue Waters defender Erwin Kaujende, Pirates midfielder Engelhard Kahua and Blue Boys midfielder Milton Chapo, while national winger Eslin Kamuhanga returns after a long injury layoff.

With their regular stalwarts like captain Pat Uanivi, Dennis Tjetinda, Edy Mangoumou, Meraai Swartbooi, Riaan Cloete, Johannes Seibeb, McBride Ndjavera, Bradley Wermann, Edwin and Heinrich Kazerua also in the mix, Stars will have a powerful squad to choose from.

Jacobs said the fitness levels were not at an ideal level but expected his players to rise to the occasion.

“It’s going to be a massive match and I’m sure my players will rise to the occasion.

I’d like to call on our fans to come out in numbers so that they can provide extra motivation and support to our players,” he said.

Black Africa meanwhile have had several setbacks and will be without some of their top players.

Striker Pineas Jacob whom they recently signed from Amazulu in South Africa, injured his foot in a practise match last week and will be unavailable for at least six weeks according to assistant coach Otto Landsberg.

They will also be without star winger Willy Stephanus who is on trial in Thailand, while goalie Arnold Subeb, midfielder Klaas Blom and striker Tara Katupose are unavailable due to work commitments. Landsberg also acknowledged that former captain Da Costa Angula will leave a big gap in central defence following his move to Free State Stars.

“Da Costa’s loss is a big setback because you don’t easily get players of his calibre in Namibia. We have recruited Ivan Bloom from Ramblers to cover for Da Costa, but we can also choose between Emilio Martin and Erastus Mundjanima,” he said.

BA’s only other significant signing is Orlando Pirates midfielder, Mervin Areseb but they too have quality and depth in their squad, with the likes of Abongile Grootboom, Denzil Haoseb, Bryan Bantam, Junior Gebhardt, Marco van Wyk, Muna Katupose, Roger Katjiteo and Lee Roy Adams.

The match kicks off at 16h00 at the Sam Nujoma Stadium and tickets are available at N$30 at NFA Soccer House and through Computicket at Shoprite and Checkers outlets.

Source : The Namibian