They have done it again. Several seasons back the Samba Boys, as Conrad Angula of the Namibian Newspaper used to call them, took the nation’s top titles.
They won the league and also the NFA cup and represented the nation in the African Champion of Champions Cup. In that particular season Stars entered the company of the European heavy weights, the likes of Inter Milan, Bayern Munich and Chelsea, all who like the Namibian champions had vowed not to take prisoners in their drive for league titles as well as in their quest to win their national biggest cup competitions. They were vindicated and so was African Stars of Namibia. This time around Stars did it again and the nation is smiling endlessly after they held Orlando Pirates of South Africa to a goalless draw, nogal in Gauteng; not in Katutura.
African Stars have distinguished themselves this time around again and the nation is proud that they have played in the African Champion of Champions Cup Competition, considering the challenge of cross-border competitions with the concomitant travelling expenses and crowd intimidations at the field of play. The team’s sterling performance was against the backdrop of challenges that had seemingly dogged the club for the preceding week or two when the club was preparing for this competition, while trying to stamp their mark on the already heated domestic league campaign. Stars had changed coaches mid-air and seemingly the new coach was faltering; battling to establish a winning combination. The straw that broke the camel’s back, perhaps for the good of the club, was when a week before the team had to compete in South Africa, they were beaten badly by their traditional cross-town rivals, Black Africa on a Sunday afternoon. The following Monday morning newspapers carried reports that African Stars had recalled Bobby Samaria to assume the reigns as head coach, and this provided spelled the supporters cum rank and file of African Stars a sigh of relief.
This arrangement thrust Bobby on the plain to Johannesburg with the Samba Boys in less than five days. He had to land back in his former saddle, but hit the ground running and the results are showing that he restored the old fashioned way of this diminutive, arrogant coach with the heart of a lion.
I did not watch the game on television as most Namibians did as I was locked in work, safe for intermittent radio clips, but I expected Bobby to do what a good coach does when he competes in an environment that bestowed upon him the status of an underdog: you kill the game and you undertake to capitalise on half chances. Bobby did exactly that but unfortunately missed out on the half chances when they presented themselves. Nothing unusual because that is the soccer I know. And as fate would have it, the first round of the campaign was destined to remain nail-biting from Gauteng all the way to the Sam Nujoma Stadium in the ensuing weekend. And nail-biting it will be because, had African Stars scored just a solitary goal, this would have given them a competitive advantage, even more so since it would have carried double weight as an away goal. Now it will be all systems go because the game is a goalless draw and none of the two teams can be construed to be underdog.
Given these circumstances, we all hope and pray that Stars will hold their own against the Buccaneers of Soweto, keep them at bay and prevent them from scoring a single goal because it will make matters harder for us. Theoretically, the best model is for African Stars to jump forward and score two goals to zero. Then play with eight players in their half of the pitch and keep the ball in the grand stand for the duration of the game. This will call for a certain format of play and Bobby is capable of achieving all this.
My last word goes to my brother Patrick Kauta, chairperson of African Stars and the whole leadership: Congratulations and good luck all the way. You pulled it off alright against odds, at a time when the team was seemingly under pressure and it worked. Congratulations Bobby and please keep the players focused and little else.
2018-12-19 10:17:54 9 months ago