Stars Can Do It – Jacobs

African Stars coach Woody Jacobs has challenged his side to come through a gruelling five-day fixture-laden period with flying colours.

Firstly, Stars will need to negotiate a successful weekend’s shift in which they host defending MTC Premiership champions BA in a match that could decide the title race at the Sam Nujoma Stadium on Friday night, while they also face South African Premiership champions Mamelodi Sundowns in the inaugural Dr Hage Geingob Soccer Cup at Windhoek’s Independence Stadium on Sunday.

Two days later, Stars face another Namibia Premier League title rival in Tigers, who were held to a 1-1 draw by Tura Magic on Wednesday night, before completing their packed schedule with their final league contest of the season against Blue Boys on Saturday.

Jacobs feels his side has received a raw deal from the football authorities, who have planned poorly with the result that matches had to be crammed into a short period of time.

The hastily arranged new one-day Cup tournament and the Brave Warriors’ Africa Cup of Nations preliminary fixtures, which do not fall on Fifa internationals dates, are the primary reason for Stars’ fixture overload.

“I don’t know if they are doing it deliberately. We could have finished the League much earlier. Our league administrators never get fired like we do. If things don’t go our way during these congested fixtures then we take the rap and not them,” Jacobs told The Namibian Sport on Thursday.

“It’s not right. It dilutes the quality of football. But we have to obey the football bosses and honour our fixtures,” he said.

Be that as it may, Jacobs said Stars has adequate personnel to deal with their schedule predicament.

“We have depth and quality in the squad to deal with the congestion of fixtures. The type of players I have can come in at any time and not weaken the team,” said Jacobs.

He added that Sunday’s showdown carries with it national pride and the small matter of bragging rights to the victor, so it was important that Stars win it.

“I’m hoping we will be successful on Friday and set the tone for us for a good game on Sunday.

We’ll put up a good showing. We want to keep it [winners trophy] in Namibia. Even though it’s an exhibition match we will go all out. It’s not just about Stars, we will be representing the nation against one of the big clubs on the African continent,” Jacobs said.

THE STRUGGLE CONTINUES

On Friday night, Stars will continue their quest to end BA’s Premiership dominance. The champions lead the log with 42 points from 19 games and have a six point cushion over Friday’s challengers, who occupy third position behind second-placed Orlando Pirates, who have played one match more and have 38 points.

BA only need four points from their remaining nine on offer to win a record fourth consecutive League title.

However should Stars, who are still hopeful of replaying their disputed match against Pirates, win tonight’s contest, they could force the title race to be decided on the final day of action, depending on them winning their match against fourth-placed Tigers on Tuesday.

“Of course the belief is there. If my team plays well then mathematically we can still win the title,” Jacobs said when asked if his side can still win the league. “It’s not an easy task but BA and Tigers are not unbeatable. It makes it much more interesting. These games normally bring out the best in my players.”

His opposite number, Brian Isaacs, would not be drawn into the permutations debate, saying BA were only concerned with amassing maximum points from their remaining three games.

“We don’t care about what is happening with the teams in second and third or fourth position. Our main objective is to win all our remaining games and show that we are true champions,” said Isaacs.

“We have momentum. Fortunately we are in the driving seat. If we beat Stars then we can relax a bit. We need to win the game so that we can give ourselves more breathing space.”

Elsewhere, United Stars can effectively relegate Eleven Arrows to the first division with victory at the Rundu Sport Stadium on Saturday (15h00), while Rundu Chiefs can also be guaranteed a scrape for Premiership status in the season ending play-offs if they too lose to Ramblers at the Ramblers Stadium (15h00).

The Premiership’s top-scoring side Blue Waters can move up the table from sixth to fifth if they defeat Civics, who occupy seventh, at the Kuisebmund Stadium (15h00).

Saturday’s other fixtures pits third-bottom Blue Boys against Pirates at the Vineta Central Stadium.

Source : The Namibian