17 April 2019

Namibia: Pirates Remain Bottom After Agonising Defeat

ORLANDO Pirates remained rooted to the bottom of the log after suffering an agonising 2-1 defeat to Unam on Tuesday night.

Pirates dominated the first half and could have scored several goals, but Unam managed to survive their onslaught.

Jackson Eliakim and Denzil Narib applied constant pressure on Unam's defence, while Aphinda Zodala impressed with his pace as Pirates launched one attack after the other in the opening stages.

George Haikali shot over the crossbar from close range midway through the first half, while Narib had two shots saved and Elvis Tjivasera another.

In the second half, Narib hit the back of the net early on, but the goal was disallowed for offside.

Pirates, however, continued to attack and their pressure finally paid off when Narib headed in from a corner on 69 minutes.

Their lead was short-lived though as Unam drew level six minutes later when Godwin Jena curled in a free kick from the edge of the box.

The momentum shifted to Unam with Petrus Kamati shooting over from close range, before Tara Katupose got the winner with an excellent glancing header with six minutes to go.

It was an agonising defeat for Pirates who now remain at the bottom of the log on 10 points from 17 matches, trailing second-from-bottom Civics by four points.

Despite the defeat, Pirates coach Lucky Kakuva was proud of his team.

"It was a tough game against a good team, but I think we manned up and played very well in the first half. I think the difference was in the second half, we lost some players due to injuries and as a result it broke our rhythm and then they started to overload the wide areas and then unfortunately we had to concede from a free kick and ultimately from a header. But I think we can be proud of our performance it was a game that could have gone either way so its tough for us, but good luck to Unam," he said.

Although they are still rooted to the bottom of the log, Kakuva said he was confident that they would avoid relegation.

"One can see that we are heading in the right direction and our next game is against Civics so we have to start picking up some points and we are confident that we can get the team out of the relegation zone," he said.

Unam, on the other hand, are on a roll and have put together a winning streak of five matches that has seen them climbing six places up the log to third place.

Their assistant coach Marcello Wakadumo commended Pirates on their performance.

"We should commend Pirates, they came out with guns blazing and controlled the first half and that is why the scored the first goal. But in the second half we came out strongly, we were playing the balls into the wide areas and whipping in those crosses and eventually the goals came. So I think it was a game of two halves," he said.

Regarding their strong run of late, he said it came down to their hard work during training.

"It's all about hard work and what we put in at training. It's all about the spirit in the camp and our belief and our drive. The players are responding well to our training tactics, so it all starts at the training grounds. They say fortune favours the brave, so I think we have fortune on our side and the team is doing well and I think we can only improve from here on," he said.

There are a host of matches this weekend as the NPL continues with its double headers over weekends to try and finish the league in time.

Log leaders Black Africa face a tough test against Tigers at the Sam Nujoma Stadium tonight, while they will once again be in action against Unam on Monday.

Second-placed African Stars have a tougher schedule though - they played Tura Magic at the Sam Nujoma Stadium on Wednesday night and will be in action 48 hours later when they take on Young Brazilians at the same venue on Friday night.

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