All at Stake in FNB Semis
07 Dec 2006
By Kuvee Kangueehi Top Namibian clubs are up in arms in the semi-finals of the country's second richest silverware, the FNB Cup this weekend. Former Champions and defending champions Blue Waters will be in the capital to fend off their pride against marauding premiership giants, Civics in what will be the match of the tournament, so far. Belittled Cup Kings, Black Africa, who have struck fine rhythm in the early stages of the premiership, will also face party spoilers, African Stars, in two matches that can go either way. Civics are chided by their goal-scoring machines, William Chilufya, Rudi Louw and Floris Diagram while the visitors will rely on seasoned Fischer Kalimba to keep their hopes of a December 16 final alive. Civics coach, Helmuth Scharnowski who is in Germany has vowed to be in Windhoek early Saturday morning to witness the battle of cities take place in the capital. The FNB Cup will be the sending-off silverware as clubs take a festive season breather. Already the remaining four now qualify for the semi-final N$20ÃÆ'Æ'ÀÃ...ÃÆ''šÃ‚ 000 incentive. A titanic battle is expected to erupt when Civics take on defending champions, Blue Waters, in the lucrative FNB Cup semi-final clash at the Independence Stadium on Saturday. The game is a repeat of last year's quarter-final match, and Civics have been given the perfect opportunity to avenge their bitter defeat almost twelve months ago. Civics Manager, Paul Stramis, who was the first to fire the warning shots, told Nampa yesterday that his players would go all out to ensure a convincing win. He said that Civics will live up to its slogan 'Victory is Duty' and that come Saturday, it will be an absolute victory for the Civilians. Stramis pinned his hopes on home advantage after having played the Cup in Walvis Bay over the past years. Civics have what it takes to secure a place in the final, but the coastal-giants are equally endowed with the similar talent and skill to put up a tooth and nail fight. However, the maroon and white outfit would be without striker Jeffery Roman, who picked up a knee injury, and Cameroon-born Jerry Matik, who pulled a hamstring. Midfielder Brian Gurirab is said to be recovering well from an injury, but his start is still in doubt. The match will kick off at 18h00. Another semi-final clash will be between Black Africa and African Stars at 16h00. Black Africa definitely has a slight mental advantage over their opponents for being ruthless when it comes to tournaments, while African Stars' performance has taken a nose-dive with their sub-standard display in the elite league campaign. African Stars' strikers have showcased a lack of enthusiasm to score goals, whereas Black Africa have done the opposite. The two losing sides would each pocket N$20ÃÆ'Æ'ÀÃ...ÃÆ''šÃ‚ 000 while the winner of this year's edition will walk away with a cool N$170ÃÆ'Æ'ÀÃ...ÃÆ''šÃ‚ 000 and the runners-up taking home N$70ÃÆ'Æ'ÀÃ...ÃÆ''šÃ‚ 000 at the final scheduled for December 16. Meanwhile, the four semi-finalists were yesterday presented with their playing gear. The event was witnessed by the sponsors' representatives, Namibia Football Association (NFA) Acting Secretary-General Barry Rukoro, Namibia Premier League (NPL) Management Committee Acting Chairman Mabos Vries, as well as the NPL League Administrator Joshua Hoebeb. Gates will open at 12h00 to avoid any stampede, and supporters of the different clubs are expected to fork-out N$10 to see their stars in action. - Nampa