TURA Magic captain Oswaldo Xamseb believes a positive result against MTC Namibia Premiership leaders Black Africa at the Sam Nujoma Stadium on Thursday night could spark an extended consistent run for the remainder of the season.
Mid-table Tura Magic "are a work in progress", while Black Africa - with six wins, a draw and loss thus far - are arguably the team to beat at the moment, Xamseb said.
BA, the record national championship winners, enjoy a nine-point advantage over Thursday night's opponents and two ahead of second-placed Mighty Gunners, who don't play until Saturday afternoon when they host Eleven Arrows at Otjiwarongo.
While the Magicians dither over consistency, form has favoured the Lively Lions so far while they also have a settled team, Xamseb noted.
A determined 3-2 win when down to 10 men against NPL debutants Young Brazilians on Sunday highlighted BA's resilience and intent to wrest the title back from African Stars, who are 13 points adrift of the summit, albeit having played four games less due to their ongoing involvement in continental competitions.
In contrast, Magic were held to a goalless draw, their fourth stalemate in eight matches this season, at home by strugglers Okahandja United last time out. Two wins and as many defeats have left them in ninth position, a mere five points better off than Okahandja, who occupy the last relegation zone spot.
"BA are currently on a good run of form. They've been playing good football, and their players understand each other. They are scoring lots of goals, but we're not scared of them. We respect them, but we're not scared of them," Xamseb boldly told The Namibian Sport on Wednesday.
At just 24 years of age, he ranks among the old guard at the club, and will be key to Magic's chances in what is anticipated to be an entertaining showdown.
"I think it will be a mouthwatering clash. It's one of the games of the season, it's gonna be fireworks. Tura Magic's plan remains the same; it never changes. Our plan is to dominate the game, possession, and to attack and press them," he enthused.
The combative midfielder attributes his side's roller-coaster performances down to losing several regulars at the start of the season, as well as adapting to life under new Ghanaian coach Mohammed Gargo.
"It's not the Tura Magic that people know. We've lost a bit of bite due to the fact that we've lost about 80% of the players we had. These are good players who know the Tura Magic culture. We have a [largely] new team, which is not that bad. We are a work in progress," Xamseb said.
While the results have been patchy, he is adamant that Gargo is the right man for the job, and will eventually mould them into a formidable side.
"He's a great coach; very professional and humble. He's trying to bring a different brand of football to our club, the kind of football you see in Europe with good teams," explained Xamseb.
Gargo, who spent most of his playing career with Udinese in the Italian Serie A, most notably coached Real Tamale United and Okwahu United in Ghana before venturing into the Land of The Brave.
In June last year, the 42-year-old ex-Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich midfielder joined Udinese's technical staff on their summer pre-season tour as he sought to enhance his coaching skills.
"You can see he's coming from a professional set-up. His training sessions and team talks show that he knows what he's doing. With the right type of players, I think he's destined for great things," a hopeful Xamseb said.
"He's brought something different to our team. With all due respect to our previous coaches [including present BA coach Paulus Shipanga], you can see he's cut completely from a different kind of cloth. We've had great coaches before, but he's something special."