Who will win the NPL?

05 May 2014 23:00

This year’s title race is one of the most open in the history of the MTC/Namibia Premier League (NPL), with Black Africa, Tigers, Orlando Pirates and African Stars in a four-way tussle.
BA has the upper edge over its rivals after two big successive victories against Tigers (3-0) a fortnight ago and another 2-0 win against Pirates last Friday, to increase its lead at the top to 42.
Muna Katupose and Gerbardt Ananias who scored against Tigers were again on the score sheet last Friday night at the Sam Nujoma Stadium, against Pirates.
Katupose scored the opening goal in the 38th minute, with Ananias sealing victory in the 79th minute.
BA remains the only unbeaten side in the league this year. Its only defeat was a 1-0 in Rundu against United Stars last October.
Tigers remains second-placed with 35 points, despite a 2-2 all-draw against Blue Boys in Swakopmund last Saturday.
Pirates are in third place with 34 and the defeat means it blew its chance to go top. It, however, draws consolation in the match against Stars, which was abandoned a fortnight ago, in which it led 2-0, with only eight minutes remaining set to be played this Wednesday.
Stars is in fourth position with 33 points but unlike Tigers and Pirates, it can still win the title if it wins all its remaining games and BA loses.  
Both Stars and BA have potential banana-peel fixtures coming up, notwithstanding the fact that they still have to face each other.
Before their meeting, Stars will have to battle it out against another title-hopeful in Tigers while BA will face Blue Boys that is fighting for survival and then its tricky last-of-the-season match against Tura Magic that had knocked it out of the Bidvest Namibia Cup.
Points required to win the league have been changing over the past five seasons, since 2008. Last season, BA won the title with 47 points but this time around, it might need more than that if its rivals continue to win.
In 2009, Stars won the title with 49 points but this time around, 42 or 45 points might be enough, if BA loses its three remaining matches and Stars wins all its games, including this Wednesday’s match.
Pirates won the title in 2008 with 41 points but that tally of six years ago cannot be enough now, especially after Friday’s defeat. Meaning, Pirates will need 46 points to win the title, if BA loses two matches.
Tigers remains the only side in the race not to have won the league title and if it wins all its remaining matches and BA loses its remaining three, then it will be crowned champion for the first time.
The league winner’s prize money is a cool N$1m, which BA has won in the past three seasons.

Below are the full results in the NPL:

African Stars 2-0 Ramblers
Blue Waters 5-1 United Stars
Blue Boys 2-2 Tigers
Magic 2-0 Arrows
Rundu Chiefs 0-1 Civics
BA 3-0 Pirates