Every team sets out to avoid relegation, but however it does not always go according to plan and on 10 May, Touch and Go football club saw themselves staring down the barrel of relegation.
With the Otavi based club’s relegation to the first division confirmed, the club’s public relations officer (PRO), Jafta Gaoab said he is well aware of the difficult road that lies ahead as they bid to return to top flight football.
“I am well aware of the difficulties of a first division campaign. The first division has always been the toughest league in the country. Not only is it testing physically on the pitch, but it will be testing financially as well,” he said, adding, “without the N$30 000 monthly grant that we got in the Premier League, we will have to dig deep into our pockets for expenses such as traveling.”
He said the Namibian Premier League campaign that concluded on the weekend of 10 May was gruelling one that offered lessons aplenty.
“When we came into the Premier League, we did not have any experience. It was a learning curve for us all the way through. Our team was also still gelling. By the time the lads started to connect with each other, it was already way too late,” he said.
The team also went through a coaching staff change, hiring new coach Clive Kamarenga midway into the second half of the season after they sacked Ruben Ruiter due to poor results.
Gaoab was cognitive of the fact that gaining promotion back to the Namibian Premier League could be a difficult task without his usual team.
“Our main objective is to maintain the same team we have next season. The group of players we have now is very talented but the chance of them being spotted by other teams is there,” he said. He added, “In order to bounce back, we will have to have the same team that played together this season playing again. They have Premier League experience and will make the task of jumping back into top flight football easier.”
But at the same time, he was aware of the reality that other teams might want to take advantage of their plight and poach on some of their players. He also said he would not begrudge any of his players who might want to leave to play Premier League football next season, however “We will only allow them to go on a loan deal.”
Meanwhile, the new coach Clive Kamarenga concurred with Gaoab’s sentiments, stating the importance of retaining their players.
He further said, “My contract with Touch and Go ended on Sunday with the conclusion of the season, however, they were pleased with my work and offered me an extension which I have accepted. I have reiterated to club officials what needs to happen. The players we have are used to luxuries which they may not get in the first division, so the club must step up their efforts to bring in sponsors to keep hold of those players.”
On how he plans to set his team up in the first division, he said, “I am a Mourinho type of coach. I think defensively first. My aim will be to keep things clean at the back and work on from there.”
Touch and Go were promoted to the Premier League in 2014 after winning the North-West First Division Stream (NWFDS).
However, with the club confirmed as relegated, Gaoab did not pull any punches on what he considers was an unfortunate seasons, as he planned his team’s return to top flight football in, he hopes, the 2016/2017 season.
“If I have to be honest, the premier league is full of match fixing. It is unfortunate because the league also teams that are trying their level best to play according to the rules. A while ago, we played Blue Waters and we were winning 2-1, and the referee indicated two minutes extra time, but after that we played two mo extra minutes and Blue Waters scored. If we had won that game like we were supposed to, we would not have been relegated.” He further said, “I would also propose that teams from the same town not play each other at the end of the season, because teams like Eleven Arrows and Blue Waters always help each other which is unfair to the smaller teams.”