By Fikameni Mathias
Mathematically, Tigers are still not the Namibian Premier League champions despite their 11 point lead with four matches to go, but the odds of throwing their healthy lead away is almost zero.
‘Ingweinyama’, as the team is affectionately known in the streets of Shandubala, need only two points from their remaining four games to be crowned champions.
If the team beats Young Chiefs tomorrow, they will take charge of the league cup that has evaded them for the past three decades.
The team has confirmed that despite the high costs involved when it comes to participating in the CAF Champions League, it will make its CAF Champions League debut during the next continental showpiece.
“We will take part in the CAF Champions League next season,” said an excited team spokesperson Hafeni Hiveluah yesterday.
Namibian teams have over the years failed to consistently take part in continental championships due to a lack of finance.
Tigers are well aware of this said Hiveluah, adding that: “Arrangements are in place to secure funds to enter the league. We are hoping to start as early as possible to get sponsorships and we also hope to see MTC increase the league money next year.”
The arrival of Profile Investment (Pty) Limited owner Vaino Nghipondoka as owner and bankroller of Tigers last year has turned the club’s fortune around. Nghiondoka’s deep pockets are said to be playing a major role in Tigers ambitions to be part of the CAF Champions League next season.
Blue Waters, Black Africa and Civics are some of the Namibian teams that competed in the continental showpiece.
Although the league is yet to be clinched, Hiveluah said: “Our victory is the beginning of big things to come. And as such, we are definitely planning to take on the African league.”
“This victory serves as a warning to other teams that the sleeping tigers have finally awakened. We are getting our winning formula almost on track and we have learned from our mistakes in every game. We will dedicate this win to our players, supporters, and the old guns that started steering this ship since day one,” he said.
Last year, Tigers also scooped the 2015 Bidvest Namibia Cup against Orlando Pirates, Hiveluah said the Bidvest victory was the beginning of the search for greater victories.
To celebrate their weekend victory, Hiveluah says the team will organize a braai at the Tigers Sports Field behind Hakahana Service Station prior to their afternoon game against Young Chiefs at the Sam Nujoma Stadium.
At a media conference earlier this week, the team’s assistant coach Oubaas Mokwena said the match against Young Chiefs will not be easy “but we are prepared to collect the much needed points to be crowned NPL champions for the 2015/16 season.”
Tigers are currently on 60 points from 26 league games, while second-placed Black Africa (BA) has 49 points from the same amount of games. They are leading BA by 11 points with only four league games (equal to 12 points) left to play. All Tigers has to do now is win one game to be crowned champions of the 2015/16 NPL season.
“When we lost to Tura Magic two weeks ago, we did not prepare well. This time around, we are well prepared and want to win at whatever cost when we play a team that has produced most of our players.
Young Chiefs will want to prove a point because if you look at our current squad, a number of players come from their team. When we step onto the field, they will want to make life difficult for us,” he said.
Also speaking was Young Chiefs’ board of governance member Primus Shilunga Kapule, who said his team will not hand Tigers the three points on a silver platter, adding that Katutura outfit can “start looking elsewhere” if they want to be crowned champions.
“We are here to pick up the three points and improve our position on the log standing. If Tigers wants to be crowned champions, they will have to wait, maybe until Sunday when they play Rundu Chiefs because that will not be happening with us,” said Kapule.
Young Chiefs are currently 12th on the log with 28 points from 26 games. A defeat in any of their games at the weekend will see them dropped into the relegation zone if United Stars, who are 13th on the log with 27 points, win any of their games.
Additional reporting and
photograph by NAMPA