BLACK Africa took a big step towards retaining the MTC Premiership title when they beat Rundu Chiefs 2-0 on Saturday. With their closest rivals African Stars being held to a 2-2 draw by Tigers on Friday evening, BA have now opened up a six-point lead at the top of the table with seven matches remaining.
Black Africa took an early lead against Rundu Chiefs through a great goal by Denzil Haoseb who struck home a cutback by Willy Stephanus on 10 minutes.
BA kept up the pressure with Stephanus and Roger Katjiteo coming close, while Da Costa Angula had a header cleared off the line.
Rundu Chiefs however gave a courageous performance, with Alex Goxab, Alfeus Ngwezi and Mogale Naruseb all coming close to scoring, but BA sealed their victory in injury time when Rundu's keeper Edward Maova rushed off his line to clear the ball and Muna Katupose slammed the rebound into an empty net.
With just seven matches remaining, Black Africa now are clear close to winning their third consecutive league title but coach Brian Isaacs was not taking anything for granted.
"There is still a long way to go and even if you look at this game, it was very tough and Rundu Chiefs were unfortunate not to score. They created a lot of chances and they also had good ball possession," he said.
"We can still lose players in key positions. We can get injuries and we can also lose some points so its not over and anything is still possible," he added.
On Friday evening, Stars were held to a 2-2 draw by Tigers after leading 2-1 at the break.
In a high-tempo game, Tigers took an early lead when Stars' keeper Lloyd Kazapua tried to dribble out of trouble but Protash Kabwe intercepted the ball to put it into an empty net.
Stars however struck back through goals by Bradley Wermann and Edwin Korukuve to take a 2-1 halftime lead.
Stars continued to attack in the second half, with Riaan Cloete impressing with his ball skills while Wermann scored, only to be ruled offside, but it was Tigers who caught them on the counter when Kabwe scored his second goal to grab a share of the spoils.
Stars suffered several injuries in the second half and their coach Ali Akan said this cost them in the end.
"We dominated the first half and created a lot of half chances but in the second half the injuries destroyed us. Jamu (Ngatjizeko) and Riaan (Cloete) got injured and Ikua (Tjozongoro) immediately got an injury after just coming back. Rudi (Louw) is also just coming back from injury, so that destroyed us. So it wasn't that Tigers were better than us, it was just because of the injuries that we didn't win and that cost us in the end," he said.
Akan acknowledged that the title race was now nearly over.
"We will see what happens tomorrow but I think Black Africa are good enough to beat Rundu Chiefs. If Black Africa win I think they will be close to winning the league title," he said on Friday evening.
In other matches on Saturday, Orlando Pirates beat Eleven Arrows 2-1 in Walvis Bay, while Civics beat Blue Waters 3-1 in Windhoek. Nico Narib scored a brace and Penias Nzeve one goal for Civics, while Paulus Job replied for Blue Waters.
In Otjiwarongo, Mighty Gunners eased their relegation fears after thrashing SKW 6-0, with Harold Ochurub and Vernon Klaazen each scoring a hattrick.
With the victory, Gunners moved up to 10th position on 15 points, while Tura Magic on 14 and Rundu Chiefs on 11 points now occupy the bottom two places.