Namibia: Jacobs Faces Baptism of Fire Against Tigers

UNAM's new coach Woody Jacobs faces a baptism of fire when he takes on former club Tigers in an NPL Round 11 match at the Sam Nujoma Stadium on Wednesday night.

The much-travelled Jacobs, who resigned from Okahandja United on Wednesday last week, just to be unveiled as Unam's new coach a few hours later, said it was a tough decision.

"I put my heart into that job and gave it my all, but the results were not forthcoming. It's not easy being the coach, because you are judged by your results and I had to take responsibility for that. So when I got the offer from Unam I thought maybe it's time to go and try out a new challenge," he said.

Jacobs, however, takes over a side that is struggling just above the relegation zone on seven points, with only one victory from their eight matches to date. Besides that they have a congested fixture list with four matches over the next 10 days, but Jacobs said he was up for the challenge.

"The matches are coming thick and fast now and we start off against a very competitive Tigers team. But we have a good side, we want to move up the log and we are looking forward to a positive result," he said.

Unam certainly have the potential to be one of the best teams in the league, with a core of experienced players and some exciting young players coming through.

Their experienced players include former Brave Warriors players Charles Uirab, Heini Isaacks and Tara Katupose, as well as defender Willem Mwedihanga who recently returned from South Africa where he played for several clubs including Amazulu, Amatuks and Platinum Stars.

They also have national wing back Edmund Kambanda and one of the top midfielders in the country, Marcel Papama, who recently returned from trials in Botswana, as well as several talented youngsters coming through the ranks.

These include winger Hija Katjivena, midfielder Manchester United McGyver and striker Jandja Maharero who have all represented Namibia at u20 or u23 level.

Tigers, on the other hand, had a hesitant start to the league with four draws in their first four matches, but since then they have upped the tempo, recording three wins in their last four matches. Their only defeat came away to Mighty Gunners last month, who are currently top of the log with Black Africa on 20 points.

After beating Young African 1-0 last Friday, they moved four places up the log to join Life Fighters, Julinho Sporting and Eleven Arrows on 13 points.

Tigers coach Mervin Mbakera said the belief and confidence in their squad was growing.

"We are now trying to push up the log with each opportunity that we get. We are not yet where we want to be, but we are taking it one step at a time and each success gives us confidence and boosts our morale.

Mbakera didn't want to be drawn into speculating about their title chances and reiterated that they will just take it game by game.

"Our goal is to get as close as possible to the log leaders Black Africa and Mighty Gunners. They now have a seven point lead, but if we can build small blocks at a time, then we will have built a big block by the end of the season that we can all be proud of," he said.

Tigers, however, have several players who are nursing injuries and are doubtful for the match. Midfielder Manfried Kazondume is definitely a non-starter after picking up a knock against Black Africa, while their captain Absalom Iimbondi is also a doubt after injuring his achilles heel while playing for the Brave Warriors against Ghana last November.

"Some of our players are doubtful starters, but we will just wait for the doctor's report, although we hope to have Absalom back for the match," Mbakera said.

Regarding Unam, he said he expected a tough match, but he had full confidence in his team and technical staff to deliver the goods.

"We have a very capable technical team in Oubaas Mokwena, Da Costa Angula and Letu Hamhola who always analyse our opponents and will know how to handle Unam," he said.

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