African Stars smiling after dress rehearsal

NPL resumes next weekend
Led by Willy Stephanus, the A side won 3-0 against the B team, with two goals scored by striker Daniel Salazar.
Andrew Poolman
African Stars, log leader and the only unbeaten team in the Debmarine Namibia Premier League (NPL), showed the depth of their playing squad in a friendly 'tournament' format which also involved fellow premier league clubs Tura Magic and Unam, as well as a second African Stars combination.

At Unam Stadium on Saturday morning, the host team was eliminated 1-0 by the African Stars’ 'second' combination, with the winning goal scored by Kaejarukako Katjimune.

In match two, Tura Magic were overshadowed 5-3 by the African Stars team for which Willy Stephanus, Tjahikika Mbakondja (two), Edmar Kamatuka and Katoorua Mbuenda found the goal net.

Later the afternoon, Tura Magic redeemed themselves with a 4-0 win against Unam, before the 'final' between the two African Stars teams.

The A side - led by Willy Stephanus, one of several experienced Brave Warriors stalwarts at the club’s disposal – won 3-0 against their B team, with two goals scored by striker Daniel Salazar, including one at an angle from the left-hand side about 25 metres out.

Worrying moment

A worrying moment for African Stars coach Mervin Mbakera may have been the aerial challenge to first-choice goalkeeper Kamaijanda Ndisiro, which left him needing medical attention before later being replaced.

Speaking to reporters afterwards, Mbakera seemed in good spirits following the competitive match practice for his extended squad.

African Stars is scheduled to travel to the north this coming weekend for the resumption of the NPL season, facing Life Fighters at Otjiwarongo on Saturday before their Sunday appointment at Rundu against Julinho.

Life Fighters are currently second on the NPL log (15 points from five wins and two losses), just four points behind leaders African Stars. Julinho is in seventh spot, jointly on 11 points each with Civics (fifth) and Might Gunners (sixth).

Mbakera pointed out that the support staff – including African Stars’ recently appointed director of football, former Brave Warriors coach Ricardo Mannetti – should be a telling indicator of the club and its players moving into an upward curve.

“Remember that Ricardo was the one who introduced stars such as Peter Shalulile, Petrus Shitembi and Wangu Gome to us. He has a wealth of experience and a proven eye for talent development, which should serve our club very well from the academy level upwards.”

The coach believes it is high time for Namibian clubs to be much more active at continental level in competitions such as the CAF Champions League.

Mbakera further expressed appreciation to Unam and Tura Magic for their involvement in the exercise and wished them well for their remaining NPL campaigns.

Other friendly results on Saturday

At Okahandja: Okahandja United beat Spoilers 2-0; Okahandja United beat Tigers 3-2.

At Outjo: Life Fighters beat African Lions 4-1; Life Fighters beat Outjo Academy 1-0.