Rundu Chiefs, Arrows in Battle for Survival

WITH the MTC Premiership reaching Round 15 on Saturday, the title race is hotting up with four teams separated by only four points at the top of the log. But the relegation battle is also intensifying with Rundu Chiefs and Eleven Arrows in serious trouble of failing to make the cut.

Chiefs are bottom of the log with only eight points and Arrows second last on 10 points, and they are now well behind the rest of the pack, with third-last Blue Boys five points ahead of Arrows.

Both teams have been struggling lately and will have to start winning if they stand any chance of remaining in the Premier League.

Rundu Chiefs travel to Windhoek for the second successive weekend and can expect another tough encounter against Tura Magic, after their 5-0 drubbing against African Stars last weekend.

According to Chiefs’ PRO Thomas Shapi, silly mistakes and a lack of confidence led to the defeat against Stars but he was confident that they could turn it around against Tura Magic.

“Against Stars we conceded an early goal due to a silly mistake and then the players’ morale dropped, while our defence was not good. But we have talked to the players and we are confident of doing much better this weekend,” he said.

Shapi admitted that they were in serious trouble and needed to start winning.

“We are not in a good position. There are still nine matches to go and mathematically we still have a chance, but it’s going to be very difficult. But then again, last season, we avoided relegation on the final day, so it’s not impossible,” he said.

“About 80 per cent of the players from last season have left us and we had to rebuild with a new, young and inexperienced squad, but the players know the seriousness of the situation and we will fight for 90 minutes,” he added.

Eleven Arrows are in turmoil following the dismissal of their coach Wallace Doeseb, although he insisted that he has not been fired yet.

According to Doeseb he was asked to stand aside for one match following their 2-1 home defeat against Orlando Pirates on 8 March.

“After the Pirates defeat, I had a meeting with three Arrows officials who were not happy with our results and asked me to step aside for one match. But since then they have not come back to me and I haven’t received an official resignation letter, despite several emails from my side. It’s quite disturbing because some other clubs have already enquired about my services, but I cannot join them if I am still employed by Arrows,” he said.

Arrows’ chairman Gabriel Tjombe however said that Doeseb was no longer the coach.

“Wallace has been relieved of his duties and the assistant coaches Dankie Hipundjua and Graham Swartz are now the caretaker coaches. I don’t know what happened in the meeting in Walvis Bay, but I presume Wallace was informed verbally that his services were no longer required,” he said.

Tjombe said they were in a difficult position but would fight for their survival.

“It’s unfortunate that we are in this position but we can definitely survive. We just need to collect a few points to close the gap and I have faith in our caretaker coaches. They might not have the necessary coaching badges, but we trust them,” he said.

Arrows however face a tough task this weekend when they travel to Windhoek to take on high-flying Tigers, who trail log leaders Black Africa on goal difference.

In Saturday’s other matches, Ramblers host Orlando Pirates at the Ramblers field, United Stars host African Stars in Rundu, and Blue Boys host Blue Waters in Swakopmund.

Black Africa take on Civics next Wednesday evening.

MTC Premiership – 201314

Team P W D L GF GA P

1 Black Africa 13 8 4 1 18 8 28

2 Tigers 14 8 4 2 22 13 28

3 African Stars 13 8 2 3 25 13 26

4 Orlando Pirates 13 7 3 3 16 11 24

5 Civics 14 6 3 5 15 13 21

6 Tura Magic 14 5 4 5 11 13 19

7 Ramblers 14 5 3 6 17 18 18

8 United Stars 14 4 4 6 21 24 16

9 Blue Waters 14 4 3 7 17 20 15

10 Blue Boys 14 4 3 7 15 19 15

11 Eleven Arrows 14 3 1 10 14 23 10

12 Rundu Chiefs 13 2 2 9 13 29 8

Source : The Namibian