Premier League wait is over
With the Namibian Premier League less than two weeks away, it is time to officially kick off the football season officially.
After running away with the league last season, champions the African Stars began working on defending their title, but without Woody Jacobs, who many felt was a key component in raising the club to champion standard.
Of course, it is common for coaches to jump ships in Namibian football. Not long ago, Jacobs was the coach of Eleven Arrows, but now he has the chance to prove whether the Stars’ victory was down to the man on the touchline and whether he can repeat it with his new team, Black Africa.
The winter, that we spent languishing in bars supporting a South American team that we only follow during the off-season of a World Cup or European Cup, is finally over. As the Namibian summer finally drags its feet to wrap the firmament, soccer fans poke their heads out and make their way to a stadium to attend a match. As fun as the English Premier League is; to watch the goals being scored thousands of kilometres away which are delayed by a few milliseconds by satellite, nothing beats the ecstasy of celebrating a goal in front of about a thousand (hopefully thousands soon).
Of course with frenzy of the new season, both good and bad come. The atmosphere is fun but we still remember that things can turn nasty. Black Africa fans last season threatened match officials with violence when the referees’ decisions went against their team. Also, Pirates fans began to throw beer bottles onto the pitch as soon as their team lost the penalty and ultimately the glory of the Bidvest Cup final to the Tigers, just a few months ago.
Hooliganism is not part of football. As much as we like to say that football is more than a sport, and in some ways football can be more than just sport, we should remember that it is really still just sport. There is absolutely no reason to get violent and spend a night in prison because of a football match.
Indeed, the start of the season is not far. Another nine months, a full pregnancy term of good and bad refereeing decisions, great tackles, laughable misses, non-ending arguments among fans.
Every year, we hope that the standard of the Premier League will improve, not just because we keep losing our stars to neighbouring South Africa who poach all our best players such as Wangu Gome who is off to Bidvest Wits, because without improvements, the league will not attract as many sponsors as it needs. With MTC on the last year of its current contract, we hope negotiations for a renewal will start again soon, or that a better sponsor can come along.
With all that, bring on the beautiful football.