13 March 2018

Namibia: NPL Drama - Coach Arrested, Stitches and Players Fired

Sunday's MTC Namibia Premier League match between Young Chiefs and African Stars at Oshakati's Independence Stadium had the hallmarks of a big-screen blockbuster as Young Chiefs' recently installed head coach Fillemon 'Kaskas' Angula was reportedly arrested for assault during the match; his counterpart Bobby Samaria was red-carded for a foul-mouth rant at the head referee; and four players from the title-chasing visitors' side ended up in hospital.

Two days earlier, and just over 955km away at Gobabis, high-flying NPL rookies Young African axed their captain Wesley Katjiteo and two others for their roles in apparently instigating a failed players' mutiny over unpaid wages.

However, the dilapidated Oshakati sports facility was the setting for the rowdy, unrehearsed Hollywood-style scenes for the 'match of the weekend', overshadowing the eight-goal thriller between Unam and Eleven Arrows in Windhoek on Sunday.

Young Chiefs are fighting so hard to remain in the top-flight that it got the police involved when police officers revved into the stadium and picked up Angula from the touchline during the first half of " a very rough" match, which ended goalless, and with the league's leading marksman Panduleni Nekundi needing treatment for a fractured nose.

His teammates, Denis Tjejinda Ngueza, Tjiuana Tja Tjinotjiua and Elvis 'Ruhere' Tjivasera also needed stitches for varying head and face injuries sustained from roughhouse treatment by their opponents, said Starlile assistant coach Andrew Tjahikika.

"The referee could not handle the match. He allowed too many rough tackles. Our head coach [Bobby Samaria] was sent off for questioning the referee's decisions, and one of our players Treasure [Kauapirura] was also red-carded," Tjahikika, who also witnessed Angula's incident, told The Namibian Sport yesterday.

Ex-Brave Warriors striker Angula was arrested after one of his players Efraim 'Fimbi' Wilbard apparently opened a case of assault against him.

However, Oshana police's regional investigations coordinator Deputy Commissioner Hilja Haipumbu told The Namibian Sport on Monday that they were not aware of events at the stadium

"We do not have anything like that on our incidents report. We are also not aware of such a case being opened," Haipumbu said.

UNREST

The alleged assault happened following an altercation between the pair on Thursday during Young Chiefs' practise match against Ongwediva City at the same venue.

The struggling club has been dogged by persistent infighting, with management "deciding who plays and who doesn't", which has resulted in an exodus of playing and technical personnel over the past two seasons.

On Sunday, relegation-troubled Chiefs prevented log leaders Stars from picking up maximum points as the sides shared the spoils.

While Stars remain top of the pile, the result offered Amathekie no respite from their relegation worries, and possibly left them without a coach for the foreseeable future as Angula has no assistant.

In February, the club unceremoniously dumped former head coach Alex Itumba, who had become fed-up with management's intrusion into technical affairs.

Young Chiefs, who lost to Civics 1-0 on Saturday, are third-last on 20 points, which is only two better than second-last Rundu Chiefs, and four more than bottom side Chief Santos.

Meanwhile, newcomers Young African fired Katjiteo and his cohorts on Friday after failing to influence the rest of the squad into going on strike.

The Debmarine Namibia Cup holders moved swiftly and ruthlessly to quell the unrest within the club as Katjiteo, Semfried Maharero and Crispin Mbewe were all expelled.

The trio were not in the team for Saturday's one-all draw at home with Life Fighters, or Sunday's goalless stalemate with Orlando Pirates at the same venue.

"The players in question are no more with the club. Ballack [Wesley Katjiteo] is released from his contract, it's terminated with immediate effect, and so are [Semfried] 'Giggs' Maharero and Crispin Mbewe," Young African chairman and head coach Maleagi Ngarizemo said in a WhatsApp voice note to club members.

"These players are released after being found guilty of instigating players not to train because of late payment. This late payment cannot be blamed on the club because it was something that was out of our control," he stated.

NOT PANICKING

Also released from the club is Uaua Kamberipa, who was let go because of continued inactivity, while goalkeepers' trainer Denzel Bruwer has been granted special leave to attend to a private family matter.

"And even after explaining that the pay will definitely be there before this past weekend's games, they continued to instigate players to refrain from training. When players were asked to do something, they [dismissed trio] were the ones telling players not to. This information we got from the players who saw that their career would be put in jeopardy," Ngarizemo explained.

The pay dispute has been settled, and the club is already looking forward to realising their objectives, he added.

"All players got their salaries on Saturday morning. The players who were released also got their salaries," said the former Brave Warriors defender.

Despite dropping four points over the weekend, Young African stay third with 38 points accrued from 23 matches.

They trail leaders Stars by 13 points and second-placed Black Africa, who beat Orlando Pirates 3-0 on Friday before being shocked 2-1 at home by Life Fighters on Sunday, by five with seven matches remaining.

"We're not panicking whatsoever. We still have a chance to do what we want to achieve, which is a top four or top three position.

"Unfortunately, there's no way these players will come back. They are officially released from this club. This chapter is closed.

We'll work with what we have. If people are unhappy or don't believe in the players we have, with the booing that was going on there [at the Legare Stadium], just don't come to the stadiums. Don't come to our games. For those who support us, we are very grateful for your support," said Ngarizemo.

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