Black Africa and Orlando Pirates gave early indications of their aspirations, as they both recorded confidence boosting wins in their opening MTC Namibia Premier League matches over the weekend.
Defending champions BA thumped a hapless Rundu Chiefs 4-1 at the Sam Nujoma Stadium on Saturday, while a gutsy Pirates upstaged 10-man African Stars 2-1 in their match-up at the same venue on Friday night.
Elsewhere on Saturday, Tigers won 2-1 away at United Stars, Blue Boys lost 1-0 at home to Tura Magic, Ramblers were held to a 1-1 draw by Blue Waters and Eleven Arrows lost 1-0 to Civics at home.
To win your first match of the season is always crucial, but to win it emphatically gives you an even better introduction to a long and arduous season, according to BA coach Brian Isaacs.
Brian Bantam, Willy Stephanus, Muna Katupose and debutant Riaan Eugene were on target for the title holders, while Ambrosius Nanuseb scored Chiefs' consolation goal.
"We are the defending champions and for us to lose a game is a disaster. We have to set the tone and show the people that we really want to defend our championship," Isaacs told reporters after the match.
"I'm very happy with the performance because I said to them 'you should take charge of the game and be in control of the game'.
I wanted us to keep possession of the ball, create chances and score. So I'm happy with that."
Despite an opening day defeat, Isaacs believes African Stars, for whom Deon Hotto was dismissed late on for using abusive language towards the referee, will be among the biggest threats to his side's ambitions to win a record fourth consecutive NPL crown.
"Those are strong contenders and I expect tough competition from them," Isaacs said.
A beaming Ali Akan praised his Pirates side's tenacity, saying they deserved the victory over his former employers for their sheer endeavour and following his instructions to the letter.
"Today our players did everything I asked of them. I'm so happy with the response from the players," he said.
"Nobody gave us a chance [against Stars]. That's the reality. But if you believe in the players and if the players believe in themselves then great results will come.
"The most important thing is that our players worked overtime. They worked so hard. They deserved it. I'm very happy with the result."
Pirates' goals came from striker Theophelus 'Ronaldo' Tsowaseb before halftime and a scorching effort from Malawian Likwembwa Chikondi shortly after the break.
Although Joslin Kamatuka's acrobatic finish reduced the deficit for Starlile, who dominated in the second half, the Buccaneers held firm to secure a morale boosting victory. Akan feels his side should be considered serious title challengers.
He said: "We will give BA and Stars a big run [for their money]. Nobody should think that Pirates is a team for fourth place again. That is not going to happen. Pirates is a big team. It is one of the greatest teams in the country. We cannot be runners-up and whatever other positions. We have to fight. If we can fight like we did today, we can win the league."