Another football giant perishes RIP – Erich ‘Bomber’ Hanstein 1952 – 2024

Home National Another football giant perishes RIP – Erich ‘Bomber’ Hanstein 1952 – 2024
Another football giant perishes RIP – Erich ‘Bomber’ Hanstein 1952 – 2024

History reveals that the forced removal from Windhoek’s Old Location to the slightly modest Katutura location left many of the residents in tatters and homeless in 1968. 

Some members of the Pirates football and netball teams had the shock of their lives upon returning from their southern safari in Lüderitzbucht. 

The entire Pirates playing squad, including a handful of supporters, went on a marathon tour to Lüderitz in the southern part of the country to explore the beauty and uniqueness of the Naukluft in-between exhibition matches against local teams.

Pirates’ mode of transport was an old Chevrolet pick-up that had seen better days to tackle the long journey to Lüderitz. The historical tour was initially planned to finish in the Mother City of Cape Town, South Africa. 

The troublesome pick-up belonged to one of the club’s founding members Freddy ‘Axarob’ Haoseb, a schoolteacher. It took the travelling entourage almost a week to reach their destination as the unwilling, clearly-tired and overloaded van broke down at the slightest provocation. 

The vehicle breakdown and significant number of days spent on the road sliced into the team’s skeleton budget, obligating team management to exclude Cape Town from their radar. 

This left many in the travelling entourage heartbroken. The disappointed team members dearly wanted to feed their eyes on the famous Table Mountain. 

Sadly, upon their arrival in the city of lights (Windhoek) late in 1968, members of the travelling team were shocked to the core when they learned that their sacred shack dwellings were demolished by the merciless jaws of municipal caterpillars on the instructions of a hardcore racist cop known as ‘Colonel Bowker’, who had very little regard for the plight of the Bantu folks. 

As if this was not enough, their valuable belongings had been removed without their consent. 

“Imagine looking forward to returning home after being away for such a long time, only to be greeted by ashes where our houses used to be stationed,” recalled Hanstein during an exclusive interview with New Era Sport in 2008.

Despite their customary wayward behaviour on the playing field, Pirates was able to attract some of the finest talents on offer to their stable in the following sequence: Zimmer-Goreseb, Anton Hoebeb, Simon ‘German Fox’ Tsigeib Xoagub, Kuvare, Philemon ‘Safe’ Kuruseb, ‘Zorro’ Haoseb, Johannes Hans, Walter Hanstein, Naftalie Xoagub, Zebulon ‘Honnie’ Ochurub, Kamundu Horaeb, Zebedeus ‘Flicken’ Garoeb, Moles Owoseb, Flicken Garoeb and Emile Horaeb.

The gold and black strip outfit was a major force to be reckoned with, competing fiercely in the popular knockout cup tourneys. The inevitable arrival of neighbours Ramblers Katutura (Ramkat) ignited the competition with teams such as Orlando Pirates, Black Africa, Flames, Tigers and African Stars all reigning supreme. 

Under the tutelage of a charismatic elder statesman ‘German Fox’, Pirates were fearless opponents. Many teams never felt comfortable confronting the bone-crunching Dolam outfit’s rearguard. 

Pirates made their presence felt in the domestic knockout cup competitions at the old Katutura stadium, rubbing shoulders with the legendary Percy ‘Chippa’ Moloi, featuring for Nomtsoub Etosha Lions (Chief Santos) as a guest player in 1969. 

Pirates won their first silverware, defeating Black Africa in the final of the knockout cup tournament at the old Katutura stadium, the Mega of domestic football in days gone by. 

The team was amongst the founders of the new dawn when apartheid authorities reluctantly gave the thumbs-up for the amalgamation of the two different leagues (blacks and whites) to form one strong league under the same umbrella body, the South West Africa Football Association (SWAFA) in 1977.

As much as Pirates crafted a reputation for being a robust side with very little respect, if any, towards the basic laws and rules governing the game, Pirates unearthed some quality footies. One of the club’s stalwarts, ‘Brazello’, was a regular starter for the central and provincial teams. 

Apart from the old generation of Zimmer-Goreseb, ‘German Fox’, Ericke Paulino, Haoseb and Kuruseb count among the finest players to have emerged from the shores of the fearless Dolam outfit. 

As fate would dictate, Pirates’ existence was prematurely abbreviated when an angry bunch of their players lost their cool in a league match against Black Africa at the Windhoek Showground stadium. 

The agitated players, led by burly defender Bernard Kamundu Horaeb and his partner in crime, another toughie simply going by the name of ‘Zambia’, took the law into their own hands. The pair ‘bliksemed’ the lights out of match official Martin Kehrmann, accusing him of giving preferential treatment to their more celebrated opponents. 

That nasty incident signalled the end of the once-darlings of domestic football. Football authorities from the predominantly white-dominated Central Football Association could no longer stomach such acts of violence in the gentlemen’s game. 

Subsequently, Pirates got kicked out of all football-related activities, thus ending the era of this great institution.

Well, even though the severe sanction was received with mixed feelings in football folklore, Pirates’ players were declared free agents, and were allowed to join other teams of their preferred choice. Haoseb and Kuruseb joined Orlando Pirates and Black Africa, while most of the squad members decided to call it quits. 

However, one of the club’s stalwarts Moses ‘Moles’ Owoseb, turned to refereeing. Owoseb became one of the best whistle-men in the business, in addition to tasting international football when he was assigned to handle international matches in neighbouring Angola after Namibia’s independence in 1990. 

Though ‘Bomber’ unfortunately exited the game whilst still at the pinnacle of his flourishing football career, the strongly-built attacker will go down in history as one of the most outstanding players for the now-defunct Dolam outfit. He was one of four football-playing siblings alongside elder brothers ‘Ou Tsigeib’, Mandla and Walter. 

He leaves behind his beautiful spouse Catherine, who bore him a sextet of siblings – a son and five daughters. One of his daughters lives in New York City, United States of America with her Namibian hubby.