WINDHOEK – Otjiwarongo-based MTC Premiership outfit Mighty Gunners came out tops in the four-team one-day pre-season football tourney, hosted by the University of Namibia (UNAM) Football Club, in Windhoek on Saturday.
The quartet of Premiership campaigners led by hosts UNAM, Katutura giants African Stars and Black Africa were joined by the men in camouflaged uniform as they battled it out for supremacy.
Hosts UNAM confronted incumbent Namibian champions African Stars in the day’s opening match but the Reds, under the stewardship of new gaffer former Kaizer Chiefs and Brave Warriors hard-galloping midfielder Robert Nauseb, got the better of the students. Stars won on penalties after a goalless stalemate.
In the second match, last season’s runner-up Black Africa came face to face with the visiting Mighty Gunners but Gemengde outfit conceded an early goal following a silly mistake by shot stopper Calvin Spiegel.
The fired-up soldiers doubled their lead in the second half to all but end any further interest BA might have had in the outcome of the contest and set up a thrilling finale with Stars.
However, the final match failed to produce fireworks as it ended goalless obliging the result to be decided through the tournament’s prior adopted “sudden death” penalty shootout.
Gunners kept their nerve and emerged victorious 4-3 during the nail-biting penalty shootout. Black Africa redeemed themselves beating UNAM 3-2 for the third-place play-off.
The tourney served as an assessment for coaches to gorge players’ readiness ahead of the new season. UNAM coach, Ronnie ‘the Magnet’ Kanalelo, said he now has an idea of where to beef up his squad and what to work on.
“We used the second match to assess players who have always shown promise whilst also assessing those that have always shown great potential but failed to deliver when it mattered the most,” he charged.
BA new mentor Paulus “Wire” Shipanga, also used the matches to get to know his players up close, including a few trialists who are looking to impress.
“I wanted to see how the players are warming up to my tactics and style of play and I’m quite happy with what I saw but I’m somehow disappointed with the level of discipline from my team,” added the former Bidvest Wits University forward.
Gunners’ head coach Gebhardt Hengari expressed delight at the performance of his new signings, adding they are slowly but surely gelling with the old guard.
Newly appointed Stars gaffer Nauseb said he is impressed with the level of fitness of his team, and that for only three weeks’ pre-season work, his team is on the right track.
The one-day pre-season tourney was also used to raise funds for the Cancer Association of Namibia.