Posts Tagged ‘Namibian football’

Western Spurs v Sorento Bucs, Sunday 15th February 2015, 1pm

March 14, 2015

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After watching the closing stages of the morning game at Swakopmund Sports Centre Jen and I had driven into town to have a look around. Apparently the architecture is very German influenced but as I’m not expert on that sort of thing I’ll have to take their word for it.

One thing I was sure about though was that there were camels in Swakopmund. This surprised me as I’d assumed that they were more of a northern african thing. Perhaps someone just bought a few for the back garden on the basis that with all the sand Namibia has then they’d feel perfectly at home.

Swokopmund camels.

Swokopmund camels.

We stopped for something to eat at a hotel where we spotted a german couple that we had noticed in at least two of the places that we’d stayed earlier on the trip. I suppose that’s how it works with everyone using the same hotel review sites prior to booking.

In a nod to home I had a warthog parmo for lunch, or a schnitzel, which I suppose is near enough. It was certainly better than the ones I’ve had in Teesside although I suspect that may have been due to the quality of the ingredients and cooking rather than the warthog. Even so, I can’t imagine it replacing chicken or pork in the Norton High Street take-aways.

As we drove out of town after lunch on the way back to Walvis Bay I stopped at the Sports Centre on a whim, just on the off-chance that another game might be taking place. It’s not that unusual for a pitch to be well utilised on a weekend. As it happened, there were players on the pitch and so we parked the car.

Second game of the day.

Second game of the day.

We took up seats on the other side of the pitch this time and whilst the fella next to us on the raised platform was able to tell us that the score was one each, he struggled with the team names.

Fortunately the fourth official was only a few feet away and he was able to confirm that Western Spurs were taking on Sorento Bucs in another Erango regional second division game. He was also able to tell us that there was half an hour remaining and that Western Spurs were in blue, whilst Sorento Bucs wore yellow. I should have asked him what the story was with the camels.

The Bucs bench.

The Bucs bench.

The respective managers were good value for money, although with it being free to get in I’m not sure that’s necessarily the right term. The Sorento Bucs boss had a hat that Malcolm Allison would have been proud of, whilst the Western Spurs gaffer went the other way, deciding that bothering with shoes and socks was one distraction too many.

The Spurs bench.

The Spurs bench.

The play was end to end, with both teams seeming to fancy their chances of clinching the win. It was Spurs who pulled it off though when a cross from the right was nodded home ten minutes from time. We could have stayed on for a third game of the day, but the lure of the Boro’s game with Arsenal being on the telly had us heading back to Walvis Bay at the final whistle.

The two Swakopmund matches took the total for the ten day Namibian trip to five football games and a cricket match. I’d been confident of seeing football in Windhoek but the last two games were a definite bonus.

Namibia is a country that’s well worth a visit and with us not having got to the Skeleton coast or Etosha National Park on this trip, we’ve got every excuse to return.

 

 

Buffaloes v United Stars, Sunday 15th February 2015, 10.30am

March 11, 2015

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One week on from the matches in Windhoek, we caught our next Namibian game over on the east coast in Swakopmund. We’d travelled a fair distance in that time, driving south to Fish River Canyon, then across to Luderitz, then back up to Walvis Bay via Sossuslvei  on the east coast.

Fish River Canyon was spectacular. We stayed on the edge and were able to hike along the top in the early morning before it got too hot. We were also driven down to the bottom where the lack of rain meant that the river had dried to no more than a number of rock pools. The fish that were concentrated within these were happy to share our crisps with us.

We were over a hundred kilometres  from the nearest town and with the lack of artificial light it’s the best place I’ve been for looking at the stars.

Fish River Canyon

Fish River Canyon

After the canyon we headed west to the port town of Luderitz. Whilst the drive through the desert was impressive, Luderitz itself was less so. It was windy with not a lot going on, although we did drive past a ‘ghost town’ where an abandoned mining settlement had been left to the encroaching sand dunes.

Part of the ghost town.

Part of the ghost town.

From Luderitz we drove a few hours north to Sossuslvei to see some even bigger sand dunes. We arrived in the evening and went straight out into the desert where the highlight was spotting a couple of jackals.

He blends in pretty well.

He blends in pretty well.

Next morning we were up at four to watch the sun come up over the dunes. We stayed away from the organised tour and after parking up ignored the paths and just wandered off by ourselves. We climbed a couple of dunes, pausing to look at the tracks. Sometimes you’d see where a mouse had crossed the path of a lizard, sometimes a bird had brought the evidence of it having been there to an end by taking off.

There were bigger tracks too of various boks and what was probably a jackal. Maybe one of the ones that we’d seen the previous evening.

Early morning.

Early morning.

Walking down the sand dunes was much more fun than going up as you could sink your feet in a few inches and just let the shifting sand carry you down.

Still early morning.

Still early morning.

An hour or so after sunrise it was already too hot for wandering around and having left our tracks for the next visitor we resumed our journey north.

The next stop was Walvis Bay. It was ok, but nothing special compared with Sossuslvei. It had a few thousand flamingos which are always good for a bit of entertainment and a salt works which was less so.

You don't often see one flying.

You don’t often see one flying.

We then had a drive up the coast to Swakopmund and that’s where we stumbled across a third tier, Erongo region second division game at the Swakopmund Sports Centre.

Buffaloes in green were taking on United Stars in white and green. Green is a popular football colour in Africa. I asked around and learned that we had arrived halfway through the second half with Buffaloes leading 3-2.

United Stars clear their lines.

United Stars clear their lines.

There were around a hundred spectators or so lining the pitch. Some had seats on an four level stepped bench, others just sat along the side on whatever was available.

The main stand.

The main stand.

We found a space near to one of the corner flags which gave us a close up view of a linesman with a large square hole in his shorts. I’m surprised that he hadn’t patched it with a FIFA badge. Most of the officials in Africa seem to have one.

View from down the side.

View from down the side.

The standard was better than I expected, although after watching Cowdenbeath play at New Year everything looks decent in comparison. United Stars put the pressure on in the closing minutes but couldn’t get past the Buffaloes goalie.

Twenty-odd minutes after we’d arrived it was all over and we continued into the town centre for some lunch.

 

UNAM FC v Touch and Go, Sunday 8th February 2015, 2pm

March 11, 2015

1 - opening shot

Most of the football teams in the Namibian Premier League are based in Windhoek. That’s not surprising as most Namibians are based in Windhoek. The geographical imbalance meant that Jen and I got the chance to see another game on the Sunday before we headed south in the direction of the Fish River Canyon.

In theory we could have seen two games at the University of Namibia Stadium. There was a match between Rebels and Julinho Sporting Club scheduled for noon followed by the UNAM FC v Touch and Go fixture straight afterwards at two o’clock. We got there at 11:30am only to find the ticket windows unmanned and to be told by a steward that they would open ‘just now’.

View from outside.

View from outside.

‘Just now’ is about as vague as it gets over here. ‘Now now’ is the expression for imminently, whilst ‘just now’ could mean anything from ten minutes to next week.

Forty five minutes later the window opened and we bought our thirty dollar (£1.70) tickets. The latest advice was that a game would start at half past twelve and this was backed up by the information on the ticket. It’s a shame that nobody had mentioned it to the newspapers.

3 - ticket

The stand appeared to have been constructed from chipboard, but at least it had a roof. I was prepared to risk it disintegrating to get a bit of shade though. There weren’t many people in there early on but the crowd swelled to around a hundred or so eventually.

Perhaps someone had been expecting more people to turn up as there were a dozen baton wielding security men lining the gravel running track. Still, I suppose you never know what japes students will get up to next.

View across the chipboard stand.

View across the chipboard stand.

Half past twelve came and went without any sign of the players. Eventually the UNAM team appeared for a warm-up with the obligatory university team nickname ‘Clever Boys’ on their training tops.

The game finally started at two o’clock, which I suppose is just as the newspaper stated. It was the cancellation of the noon game beforehand and the misinformation about the actual start time that was so frustrating. We could have stayed at the cricket had we known that nothing would happen until mid-afternoon.

View to the right.

View to the right.

UNAM were in white with red shorts whilst Touch and Go were in yellow and maroon hoops. Anyway, Touch and Go? Who would name a team something like that? Jimmy Savile?

View to the left.

View to the left.

The pitch was in poor condition, although I suppose the Namibian climatic combination of strong sunshine and infrequent but heavy rain isn’t really conducive to a Wembley standard pitch. Maybe the university should offer a groundsman degree and get those students to spend their days looking after the grass.

Early action.

Early action.

Watching the two o’clock game hadn’t really been in our plans as we needed to get on the road, but there was no way that I was going to hang around for two and a half hours without seeing some football and so we stayed for the first fifteen minutes. Nothing worth mentioning happened and we left with the game goalless. I checked afterwards and and learned that Touch and Go had won three-nil.