New Era (Windhoek)

4 February 2013

Namibia: Furious Akan Shoots Back At Critics

Windhoek — The race for the MTC Premiership League title is building up steam and football pundits are already predicting a two-horse race between reigning champions Black Africa and ambitious Katutura glamour football club African Stars - going into the home stretch.

And while many believe the coveted title will be settled in the decisive second round match between the two Katutura giants - tension is mounting between the two gaffers on opposite ends with Ali Akan coming out with guns blazing, accusing his Black Africa counterpart of lacking respect.

Never shy to speak his mind, Akan went on the counter-offensive this week with a blistering attack against Brian Isaacks over an article attributed to him that appeared in a local English daily recently. At the centre of the storm is Black Africa's unsettled midfielder Bryan Bantam, who is apparently trying to force a move to Stars.

The want-away nimble footed midfield kingpin is reportedly unhappy with his continuous lack of game time at the Gemengde-based outfit and wants out. BA made it categorically clear that they would have none of that and have placed the blame squarely at the door of Akan, whom they accuse of trying to poach the player and to destabilise harmony in their ranks.

"That's utter rubbish!" charged an angry Akan in reaction last week. Bryan Bantam approached Stars with the view to join the club at the beginning of the current season before my appointment as coach." Sources close to Diaz House say the player still had a binding contract with BA when he made the overture and was advised by Stars to settle his contractual obligations with his club before they could enter into any negotiations, since Stars were clearly not prepared to buy a pig in a poke.

Feeling left high and dry for failing to get his own way, Bantam approached Stars again and this time the club wrote a letter to BA requesting a loan move for the unsettled midfielder during the January transfer window period, but their request fell on deaf ears.

The aggrieved player followed up with another letter of his own, but his effort merely amounted to flogging a dead horse.

In the meantime, Black Africa have finally issued an official response to the request by demanding an outrageous and eye-popping fee of N$500 000 to release the player.

Akan, however, is adamant that the Reds do not necessarily need the services of Bantam.

"I'm really pissed off by all these unfounded allegations of poaching, because in all honesty, I've never approached any players from Black Africa since my arrival at Stars."

He said it's totally unethical for a coach to accuse his rivals of poaching, and implying that they are unscrupulous and hell-bent on winning the league title by hook or by crook. "I have enough quality at my disposal to win the title and there is absolutely no need to reinforce the current squad," Akan said.

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