Title Race Is Not Over – Jacobs

AFRICAN Stars coach Woody Jacobs said the MTC Premiership title race was far from over and that they still had a chance to win the league and the Cup double this season.

Stars, who take on Civics at the Sam Nujoma Stadium on Friday night, are currently fourth on the log, eight points behind the leaders Black Africa, but with a game in hand and Jacobs believes that they are still g contenders for the title.

“The race is far from over and we will fight them all the way. There are some very tough matches ahead for all the teams. Tigers, for instance, must still play Black Africa, Pirates and us, while there are also tough matches against the relegation threatened teams who are fighting for survival, so in the end it will be all about consistency,” he said.

“In the first round we were seven points behind Tigers at a stage but at the end of the first round were only one point behind them, so this is nothing new to me. Our next three games will be vital and if we can win them, with our match in hand, we can close the gap to two points,” he added.

Jacobs said he respected Civics, but was confident of victory.

“I hold Civics in high regards and they have proven to be a team to be reckoned with. We are taking this very seriously, it will be a tough match, but we are well prepared and determined to win,” he said.

Jacobs acknowledged that the pressure on him and his players was mounting but said he was used to it.

“This is a pressure game – if you do well, you are the best, but if you don’t, you are the worst, but I’ve been coaching at this level for the past 12 years and this is nothing new to me. I told my players the pressure is mounting, but they must just stay focussed and do their best and must not lose hope,” he said.

Ramblers hold BA to a draw

Meanwhile, Black Africa replaced Tigers at the top of the log when they drew 1-1 against Ramblers on Wednesday night.

Ramblers took the lead against the run of play through Timoteus Hambanda with five minutes of normal time remaining but BA struck back barely a minute later through a goal by substitute striker Riaan Eugene to take a share of the spoils.

It was a great response by BA, who displayed their championship credentials, and are now one point clear of Tigers, who have a game in hand.

But despite their fine comeback, with their surfeit of possession and scoring chances, the defending champions will rue not making better use of their chances.

After the game, BA coach Brian Isaacs acknowledged that it was a missed opportunity to collect three points.

“It was not a good performance in the attacking zone, we had good ball possession, but failed to capitalise on our chances. It’s disappointing that we dropped points and it will make life difficult for us,” he said.

“But our position is not so bad. We still have a game in hand and still have to play Tigers, Pirates and African Stars so it’s in our hands,” he added.

Isaacs said he was impressed by the character shown by his team to come back from a goal down.

“Ramblers always give us a difficult game and you can see why they have done well lately. But I’m very impressed with the excellent character shown by my team to strike back after we conceded a goal,” he said.

Ramblers coach Jorge de Purificacao said they just tried to catch BA on the counterattack.

“We had to be careful against the defending champions, so we came to play counterattacking football, and just tried to keep it tight at the back. It worked for 85 minutes, but you cannot contain BA with all their experience, and they showed tonight that they have the character and are a championship winning team,” he said.

In other Round 17 matches on Saturday, Rundu Chiefs take on United Stars at the Rundu Sport Stadium and Blue Waters host Tura Magic at the Kuisebmond Stadium with both matches starting at 15h00. In Windhoek, Tigers take on Orlando Pirates at 17h00 at the Sam Nujoma Stadium.

The match between Bluer Boys and Eleven Arrows has been postponed to 10 May, due to the continued upgrading of the Vineta Sport Stadium in Swakopmund.

Source : The Namibian