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Tigers, Khomas Nampol out to settle a score

The Debmarine Namibia Premiership resumes tonight when two of the early pacesetters Tigers and Khomas Nampol clash at the SKW Stadium.

Both teams won their opening round matches, with Tigers beating Civics 1-0, while Khomas Nampol beat Young Brazilians 2-0 at Keetmanshoop, and both coaches – James Britz of Tigers and Fortune Eichab of Khomas Nampol – are upbeat and looking forward to the match. 

“We are excited and happy that we got off to a winning start against Civics. In the past Tigers have normally started slowly, but now we want to maintain the momentum and try and get as many points as possible in the first round,” Britz said, adding that they had made a lot of changes to their squad. 

“We let a lot of players go and brought in a lot of new players. We are still working on our combinations, but I’m excited about our squad – we’ve got exciting young guys with quality, and we are excited to see what we can achieve this season.

“Some of the players who didnt play much last season and were mostly on the bench, have improved a lot and they are now pushing for places in the starting 11,” he added. 

One of these is their young Ghanaian striker Emanuel Ampofu who scored the winner against Civics, while some of their newcomers include national midfielder Devin Somseb from Life Fighters; former national goalkeeper Max Mbaeva; midfielders Stanley Neumann, Juninho Jantze and Quinton Khuruseb; all from Civics; Ramblers’ talented defender Tuli Nashixwa; and Unam defender Ferdinand Amutenya. 

Besides that Tigers have also made some changes to their technical team. Mec Naholo remains as Britz’s assistant coach, but Thiro Thlabanello replaces Heribert Kapeng as the goalkeeper coach, while Henrico Botes takes over the newly-created strikers coach role. 

“I realised that we needed a specialised striker coach, so we brought in former Brave Warriors striker Henrico Botes for the role. He has performed at the highest level for Namibia and in South Africa, so I think there is no one better for the post and we are blessed to have him,” Britz said. 

‘We couldn’t match their offer’ – Britz

Newly-promoted Khomas Nampol, however, have also been busy in the transfer market and amongst others signed up three former Tigers players  – Absalom Iimbondi, Rehabeam Mbango and Rewaldo Prins – which will add further spice to the game. Their long-serving stalwart and captain Imbondi will be difficult to replace, but Britz said they couldn’t match Nampol’s offer. 

“Khomas Nampol gave him an offer which he couldn’t refuse, and we could not match it, so he joined them. Absalom has been a stalwart for Tigers and we appreciate what he has done for the club and wish him well, but it also opens up opportunities for some exciting newcomers,” he said, adding that they could not compete financially with Nampol.

“Nampol get extra money from the government, but we just get our monthly grant from the NFA, while some good samaritans are also assisting the team financially,” he said. 

Khomas Nampol coach Eichab, however, disagreed.

“That’s a misinterpretation. We work on a shoestring budget and don’t have a lot of money to offer, but all the players were free agents and they bought into our vision for the club. We offer a sense of security and they want to be part of our new journey and the history we want to create,” he said, adding that there will be extra

“I see it as an inhouse derby, while there will also be some extra needle to the match. We signed three of their players, who they didn’t want to release, but we got the deals done, so they will be fired up and out to block them. They know how they play, but we have devised some new strategies for the game,” he said. 

Eichab said they had prepared well for the match. 

“We are excited and looking forward to the game, because it will be our first match against one of the big guns since we joined the premier league. We have prepared well and also watched and analysed their match against Civics,” he said. 

“Our first match against Young Brazilians was a bit tricky, but I’m happy with the chances that we created, although we need to improve our finishing. But we worked on our weaknesses and I hope to see an improvement against Tigers,” he added. 

Nampol have made several other signings including experienced national defender Denzil Haoseb from Black Africa, Tjiuana-Tja Tjatindi from African Stars and Ben Namib from Swallows, while they also have a ‘new weapon to unleash’ in former Pirates and Brave Warriors striker Terry Uiseb, according to Eichab.

“Terry has joined us from Botswana club Township Rollers – his papers have finally been cleared, so he will be available for the match, either in the starting lineup or from the bench,” he said. 

“I don’t think we will be title challengers this season, and for now our main aim is just to survive in the Premier Legue, but we are excited to be here and anything beyond that will be a bonus,” he added.