African Stars FC releases benchwarmers
By John Tuerijama
AFRICAN Stars Football Club (FC) in preparation for the 2019/20 MTC Premiership that is scheduled to start later this year has released seven players as the team hopes to beef up its strike force and midfield department for the challenges ahead.
Headlining the list of released players was the 2017/18 Player of the Season and top goal scorer Panduleni Nekundi, who has had recurring injuries over the past season, which negatively affected his performance at both club and national level.
Former Tura Magic FC midfielder Neville Tjiueza also had a turbulent football season as he struggled with his weight and could not secure a first placement in the regular team, while Engelhardt Kahua was also shown the door.
Talisman Roger Katjiteo, who moved to African Stars FC from township foe Black Africa FC, also struggled to find the back of the net during the past season, while Protash Kambwe does not feature in the coaches’ plans for the future of the team.
Striker Tapiwa Simon Musekiwa previously had a run with Young African FC from Gobabis and got arrested by immigration officials earlier this year in Rundu, during his club’s fixture at the town against Julinho Sporting.
Long-term club player Ngutirua Korukuve officially retired from football and the blue-red-white outfits are planning a testimonial match for Korukuve as a farewell for his illustrious contribution towards African Stars FC.
Speaking to Confidente, African Stars FC executive director Salomo Hei made the decision to release some players following the comprehensive technical report from the head coach. “We ascertained the report and came to the conclusion to have some players released,” said Hei.
The team’s executive director said the objective of such a decision was two-fold in that the team has to prepare for the upcoming MTC Premiership football season including the Confederation of African Football (CAF) champions league.
African Stars FC will once again compete in the continental spectacle following the withdrawal of reigning champion Black Africa Sports Club (SC) due to financial constraints.
The recently conducted CAF Champions League draw saw African Stars FC pitted against Ugandan side Kampala Capital City Authority Football Club (KCCA). Should ‘Starlile’ beat the Ugandan team in both the away and home ties the team will face either an opponent from Angola or Lesotho.
Hei added that it is important for the team to consider both the national league and the CAF campaign, adding that they would undoubtedly make a few signings both within the country and abroad. The important signings will be made public Thursday as the team gears up for yet another local football extravaganza.
“Yes, we will sign two internationals in the striking and midfield department while another young talent will come from Windhoek United FC. We also signed Deon Tjirimaue from Tigers FC.”
African Stars FC have also roped in the services of Coco Katjimune from Tura Magic FC.
“We want a comprehensive and tactical team to compete fiercely during the group stages of the CAF champions league, and our average age is 26 years, while we have established the under-19 football team as a feeder team,” revealed Hei.
On the draw against the Ugandan team, Hei felt relieved that they avoided clashing with the traditional football powerhouses from Africa, including the teams from South Africa. He said looking at the Ugandan opponent, they had three players in the national team at the just concluded TOTAL Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) finals, while African Stars FC had four players.
“There is nothing to fear from the Ugandan side and we will be equal to the task to deliver a competitive campaign both in the domestic league as well as the CAF Champions League.”