It’s BA v Tigers As Premier League Resumes

The MTC Namibia Premier League resumes tonight after the festive break when defending champions Black Africa take on Tigers at the Sam Nujoma Stadium.

Both teams find themselves in unaccustomed mid-table positions with BA fifth on the log, seven points behind leaders African Stars, while Tigers are ninth, 10 points behind Stars.

BA’s poor form at the end of last year, when they drew three and lost one match in a row, led to the dismissal of coach Brian Isaacs, who was replaced by Ronnie Kanalelo.

Kanalelo, who was the goalkeeper coach at Bloemfontein Celtic in South Africa last year, said it was good to be back and sounded optimistic of turning BA’s slump around.

“It’s a good place to be. There’s been quite a lot of development at Black Africa and I’m happy to be back. Most of the guys have been available for training twice a day so we have prepared well, we are injury free and ready for the match,” he said.

Kanalelo said he was not worried about BA’s position on the log, saying it could change soon.

“I’m not looking at the log position but at the points difference. We are now seven points behind African Stars but that’s not much. With the double-headers we have now over weekends things can change very quickly and anything can happen,” he said.

“I’m not concerned about the other teams but about what happens at Black Africa. All I know is that BA will play better football this year, I can guarantee that,” he added.

Kanalelo previously coached Tigers about four years ago but he said that would not help him much.

“I know a few of their players but that was quite a while ago and I can’t say much about them at this stage. They have a good coach in Bobby Samaria and are not an easy team to play so let’s see what happens on Wednesday night. I’m just concentrating on how my team plays,” he said.

Meanwhile, BA have signed striker Ronaldo Tsowaseb on loan from Orlando Pirates in South Africa, according to assistant coach Otto Landsberg.

“We have signed Ronaldo Tsowaseb on loan from Orlando Pirates in South Africa. He is still short on match fitness because he hasn’t featured for Pirates for close to a year now, but we are glad to have him, especially seeing that we have struggled up front,” he said.

Another striker who hasn’t featured this season is Pinias Jacob, who joined BA from South African club Amazulu at the beginning of the season. He has recovered from an ankle injury but is not match fit and will not feature against Tigers, according to Landsberg.

“Pinias Jacob fractured a bone above his right ankle and has been out for the whole season. The cast has come off and he has fully recovered but he is not 100 per cent match fit yet. We don’t want to rush him so he wont play against Tigers and will probably only play in the Biest Cup next weekend,” he said.

Other players who will not be in action against Tigers are midfielders Bryan Bantam and Klaas Blom.

“Bryan Bantam is not available due to work commitments while we released Klaas Blom, who was not always available for training, since he is based in Rosh Pinah now,” Landsberg said.

BA still have a lot of talent to choose from in players like Willy Stephanus, Marco van Wyk, Mervin Areseb, Denzil Haoseb and the young Warren Pofadder.

Tigers will also want to get back to winning ways after experiencing a slump in December when they lost three matches in a row against Mighty Gunners, Orlando Pirates and African Stars.

They have an array of talent and experienced players at their disposal like Fox Nambundunga, Peka Hamukwaya, Simon Shikokola, Kaka Nekundi and Letu Shatimuene, while young players Absalom Imbondi and Benyamin Nenkavu have grown in leaps and bounds. Their star Zimbabwean midfielder Protash Kabwe is also expected to be back in action after a lengthy injury layoff.

Source : The Namibian