The battle to avoid relegation from the Namibia Premier League reaches a climax this weekend when the second last round of matches takes place.
There are several possible scenarios depending on the outcome of the various matches, and the relagation battle will probably only be decided when the final round of matches take place on May 19.
But one thing is certain. If Eleven Arrows beat African Stars at the Sam Nujoma Stadium on Saturday afternoon, they will remain in the top flight while United Stars and Hotspurs will be relegated.
Hotspurs and United Stars are both on 14 points at the foot of the table while Arrows are third from bottom on 17 points.
Arrows also have a much better goal aggregate, that the bottom two clubs will not be able to haul in if they all finish on the same points. If Arrows beat African Stars, they will still finish ahead of Hotspurs and United Stars even if they both win their remaining two matches because of their better goal aggregate.
If United Stars and Hotspurs both lose their matches this weekend they will also go down even if Arrows also lose. Hotspurs face a tough encounter against the champions Black Africa on Friday night, while United Stars host SKW in Rundu on Saturday afternoon.
If Arrows lose and Hotspurs and United Stars pick up any points in their matches, the relegation battle will only be determined on May 19.
Any way one looks at it, Arrows are in the pound seats and they will secure their survival if they beat African Stars on Saturday.
Arrows have been rejuvenated since Woody Jacobs took over as coach at the beginning of the year and managed to wipe out a six-point deficit along the way. They will certainly be fighting for survival so the outcome will hinge on how seriously Stars approach the game.
Stars’ manager Lesley Kozonguizi however said they will be playing for pride and are determined to win the match.
“We wont underestimate Arrows because they are fighting for survival, but every match is important for us and its all about our prestige. We still hope to finish second so a win will be vital for us,” he said.
After the recent parting of ways with coach Bobby Samaria, his assistant Wagga Wagga Goagoseb took over the hot seat and managed to secure a draw against SKW last Saturday.
Stars were also without the injured strikers Muna and Tara Katupose who are both nursing niggling injuries and if they are fit to play they will certainly improve their strike force.
Goagoaseb will also want to stake his claim for the permanent coaching position next season following rumours that experienced coach Ali Akan has been approached by Stars to take over the hot seat next season.
Approached for comment, Akan did not want to confirm or deny whether he had been in contact with Stars but was adamant that he would only consider a written proposal, which has not been the case till now.
Hotspurs have been desperately unlucky this season, losing several matches in the dying minutes of the game. Black Africa’s aura of invincibility was however seriously dented last weekend when they gave a lacklustre and erratic performance in their 1-0 defeat to Ramblers.
There have also been rumours of discontent among the players over financial issues, while technical director Brian Isaacs accused them of a lack of commitment in their defeat to Ramblers. All these issues may just play into Hotspurs’ hands, but one must add that a Hotspurs victory looks highly unlikely.
United Stars have been bottom of the log for most of the season, but picked up some valuable points over the past few rounds.
On April 13 they beat Ramblers 1-0 in Windhoek, on April 28 they drew 1-1 against Hotspurs and last weekend they drew 2-2 away to Civics. Playing in front of their home fans and fighting for survival they will start the match as favourites, although SKW are also still in the hunt for the second place prize of N$400 000.
In other matches on Saturday, second placed Civics face a tough encounter in Otjiwarongo against seventh placed Mighty Gunners, and they ill have to work hard if they hope to get anything out of this match.