After a thrilling season, the MTC Namibia Premier League reaches its climax in June with up to four teams still in the running for title honours. African Stars however struck a decisive blow when they beat SKW 1-0 on May 20, to replace the German club at the top of the log. With a game in hand, Stars are now well placed to win their first league title since the start of the Namibia Premier League in 1990.
If Stars win, it will be a great achievement for coach Bobby Samaria in only his first season in charge of the Samba Boys. He has created an attacking team and players like Edison Muheua, Ninja Karongee and Rudi Louw (on the cover) have thrilled the crowds with their exciting performances. Stars have been the best-supported team in the league by far, with thousands of fans turning up to watch their matches, and if they win the title, the fans too will have played an important role.
But it’s not over yet, and SKW, Civics and Black Africa are all still in with a chance of winning the title. None of these teams were willing to concede the title to Stars and one can expect fireworks and some more upsets when the final matches take place this month.
Civics’ president Helmut Scharnowski best summed up this spirit when he vowed to fight till the end after their victory against Eleven Arrows.
“If we win the league there will be a lot of luck involved. We have to hope till the last minute – a real sportsman always does that. He will never give up and so we will also not give up. If African Stars make a mistake then they will be under pressure, but we will only give up when the last whistle goes,” he said.
The Brave Warriors meanwhile take on the DR Congo in a friendly match in June, which should provide a tough test for national coach Tom Saintfiet. The Leopards are one of Africa’s most improved sides over the past year and won the inaugural CHAN competition for home-based players earlier this year.
Athletics Namibia faces its D Day on June 20 when a new president has to be elected. The world governing body, IAAF, dispatched its representative, Cheikh Thiare to Namibia in May to hold urgent talks with the opposing factions and he warned that if Namibia does not sort out its affairs by the end of June, it could be suspended by the IAAF. In the meantime, Namibia’s athletes are suffering since they cannot participate internationally without a legitimate national body in place, and it is to be hoped that this long-winded saga will now finally come to an end.
In boxing, Namibia’s WBA lightweight champion Paulus “The Hitman” Moses is due to make his first title defence in Windhoek on June 27, but a lot of money is needed to stage the fight in Namibia – about N$8 million, in fact. Local promoter Nestor Tobias has called on Namibia’s public for their support to bring the title fight to Namibia, and several fundraising drives, including a glittering gala dinner on June 11 have been planned. It would be great to see our own world champion defending his title on home soil, so make sure you contribute to the cause.
In more boxing news, Rambo Hantindi’s long awaited comeback was stopped in its tracks when Ali Nuumbembe knocked him out in the second round, while Martin Haikali clinched the vacant Namibian lightweight title after a thrilling points win against Peter Malakia.
In our June issue we also report on rugby, bowls, the Cell One NFA Cup and women’s football, and bring you an in-depth interview with Brave Warriors captain Quinton Jacobs.