NAMIBIA Premier League strugglers Civics have sufficient emerging talent to cope with the departure of former talisman Heinrich Isaacs, according to club coach Jeremy Zimmer.
The 27-year-old midfielder sealed an 18-month deal with South African Premier Soccer League (PSL) side Maritzburg United earlier this week.
Isaacks became the fourth Namibian international to join a PSL club in January after Virgil Vries (Maritzburg United), Petrus Shitembi (University of Pretoria) and Willem Mwedihanga (Amazulu) all left the NPL for greener pastures.
Civics team manager Paul Stramis described Isaacks as "a big loss", having been part of the club since 1999. A brief stint in Denmark with HFK Sönderjyske in 2006 ended when he picked up a career-threatening injury that sidelined him for nearly two years.
Isaacks rejoined Civics in 2008 to establish himself as the fulcrum of the team.
"We are losing a key player with valuable experience but we've got good youngsters that can do the job," said Zimmer, whose relatively youthful side hover perilously close to relegation.
"We still have a number of experienced guys in key positions like Brian Brendell, Franklin April, Donelly Nell and Bobby Kaapama. Together with the youngsters I believe we can finish in the top five. We will not be relegated."
Tomorrow, Civics face title-chasing African Stars in a crunch outing set for the Sam Nujoma Stadium (18h00) minus the influential player and with the memory of last week's demoralising 3-1 defeat at home to Eleven Arrows still fresh in their minds.
Stars trail champions and log leaders Black Africa, who overcame Ramblers 2-1 on Wednesday, by two points and will want to reclaim to spot with a win over fourth-from-bottom Civics.
A goal two minutes from time by substitute Tara Katupose gave BA victory against a determined Ramblers.
BA took the lead on 39 minutes through a Marco van Wyk header but Ramblers were level two minutes later through a Heinrich Kazerua effort.
That result would have gotten the attention of Stars' coach Ali Akan, who claims BA are nowhere near as good as his side.
Akan has spent much of the past week dismissing claims by his BA rival Brian Isaacs of tapping up star playmaker Bryan Bantam.
"We don't need BA players. We have enough quality. To be honest with you, BA are not on our level. We have a very strong squad," Akan said.
Tonight, tenth-placed Tura Magic entertain Tigers in fifth at the Sam Nujoma Stadium (20h00), while tomorrow sixth Arrows and ninth Blue Waters will contest their coastal derby at the Narraville Rugby Stadium (16h00).
Second-last Mighty Gunners are at home to fourth-placed Orlando Pirates at the Mokati Stadium (16h00), with SKW hosting basement side Rundu Chiefs at the SKW Stadium (16h00).
SKW will be at their traditional home ground for the first time in more than four months following work on the playing surface.
To mark the occasion, entrance will be free.