Stars, Civics gear up for final 13.12.2006
Cortesy by Namibiasport
African Stars and Civics are both struggling with injuries but both hope to be at full strength for the FNB Cup final which takes place at Windhoek's Independence Stadium on Saturday.
Stars received a blow after their captain Andrew Tjahikika picked up two yellow cards in earlier rounds, with the result that he will miss the final. Stars' coach Gilbert Rwasoka said they would miss his leadership, but that they had enough defenders to take his place.
"It's not such a big setback, because I have a number of defenders to choose from, but we will miss Andrew's leadership," he said, adding that another defender Maleagi Ngarizemo would now captain the team on Saturday.
Besides Tjahikika's absence, Stars are also struggling with some injuries, notably to midfielder Brouwer Litombo and striker Gerson Katjitenja.
"They are still receiving treatment and we hope they will be fit for the final," Rwasoka said. Rwasoka said his team was ready for the match and that the spirit was high in the camp.
"We always play as a team, so I don't want to single out any players, but we are ready and looking forward to the final. Civics are a good side, they are not the defending league champions for nothing, but we will play our hearts out," he said.
Roman, Chilufya injured
Civics are struggling with injuries to strikers Geoffrey Roman and William Chilufya, while defender Franklin April will miss the final after being red-carded in the semi-final against Blue Waters. Meanwhile, Civics have appealed against a yellow card that star midfielder Rudi Louw picked up against Blue Waters and hope that he will be available for the final.
Louw picked up a yellow card after the collision with Blue Waters defender Bullet Gaingob, which led to him suffering a cracked skull, but according to Civics' coach Helmuth Scharnowski, Louw was not involved in the incident at all.
"We have video evidence of the incident that proves that Gaingob clashed with Frans de Muinda, while Rudi was not involved at all. We have submitted this evidence to the FNB Cup disciplinary committee who will decide on Thursday whether Rudi can play in the final or not," he said.
"Rudi is in great form at the moment and is a crucial player for us. However, Brian Gurirab and Jamu Ngatjizeko have also been outstanding lately and there is no one who can challenge them in the country at the moment," he said.
Scharnowski said that Chilufya, who is suffering from a groin injury, might start the match, but it was unlikely that Roman, who has a knee injury, would start.
"We have rested William for the past week to get over his groin injury and he might be ready - he is definitely hungry enough to play. Roman's injury is more serious and we don't want to take any unnecessary risks with him," he said.
Scharnowski said that Stars were a well-organised team and he expected a strong challenge from them. "They will go full out in the final, but if we play according to our team structures we should be able to contain them," he said.