By John Tuerijama
WITH the COSAFA Cup and the Euro 2016 tournament done and dusted, attention is now focusing back to domestic football with the Dr Hage Geingob Cup next on the bill of football events in the country.
The much-publicised Dr Hage Geingob Cup, which has attracted multiple sponsorships from some of the leading companies in the country, is scheduled for August 6 and 7 in Windhoek.
To entice spectators, organisers have invited two of South Africa’s leading clubs, Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates to feature in the competition.
Namibia Premier League 2015/16 champions, league champions, Tigers, are one of the two local sides competing in the tournament with the other Namibian club yet to be identified by way of SMS voting.
Tigers coach, Brian Isaacs, has confirmed that his players are back in camp in preparation for the Dr Hage Geingob Cup, a berth they secured by virtue of having won the league last season. “We are currently concentrating on the players’ fitness levels while also sorting out the issue of our new signings to strengthen the team,” said Isaacs.
He said not all the players have reported back after the break but that the club was looking at strengthening the striking force and midfield players while the goalkeeping department was also a priority.
Isaacs, the most successful club coach in Namibia, said his players have been promised a party by President Geingob if they win the tournament and that alone was enough motivation to go all out and wrestle the cup from Sundowns who won it against African Stars last year.
While some clubs, like Tigers, are naturally enthusiastic about the prospects of matching their skills against either Sundowns or Pirates, other clubs seem to be nonchalant about participating in the tournament because of the energy they must expend to make the cut.
Officials of some clubs said they were uncertain if the league will ever kick off due to sponsorship issues and did not want to spend energies on the Dr Hage Geingob which only benefited the four participating clubs. Tigers and the yet to be determined Namibian club are guaranteed of N$400,000 each for participating while fees for the visiting clubs is undisclosed due to contractual issues.
African Stars team manager, Lesley Kozonguizi said no official campaign for votes was attempted but that he has taken his own initiative to encourage those close to him to vote for his team to participate in the Dr Hage Geingob Cup.
Citizen FC owner, Dave Goagoseb said: “Honestly speaking, we didn’t make any attempt to solicit for votes. As you know we are still a fairly new team and our fan-base is not that large, our concentration right now is expanding that fan-base,” said Goagoseb.
“We really have to be honest with ourselves, you know. We had a management meeting where we scrutinised all possible angles but it will be a surprise to us if we learn that our team has been voted to compete in the cup,” said Goagoseb.
Blue Waters FC Team Manager, Tostao Imbili said they only campaigned through the team’s official website and via their WhatsApp social media page.
“We have encouraged our supporters in Walvis Bay and elsewhere to vote for the team. That N$400 000 appearance fee can tie a lot of loose ends,” said Imbili.
Speaking in his personal capacity, Black Africa spokesperson and member of the NPL Management Committee, Cassius Moetie, said the SMS voting system employed by the organisers of the Dr Hage Geingob Cup to determine the fourth team, was morally incorrect. He said it was unfair for a team that has done poorly all season to compete in the tournament on the strength of votes. According to Moetie, the practise lowered the standards and quality of the four-team tournament.
By the beginning of this week, NFA has reported that only 4 049 SMS votes were cast of which the leading club has collected a total of 1 441 votes. The second had 897 votes, while the third placed team had 444 votes and the fourth 431 votes.
Last year, the top two teams, Julinho Sporting and Tura Magic garnered 30 664 and 14 231 votes, respectively.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015