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Abraham Striker Hengari The lethal goal-getter at Play

2022-06-03  Carlos Kambaekwa

Abraham Striker Hengari The lethal goal-getter at Play

Without a shadow of doubt, Abraham “Striker” Hengari was one of the most dangerous goalscorers ever to emerge from the Cattle Country (Gobabis). 

The former Young Ones and Epukiro Chiefs Football Club’s speedy lethal netbuster, who made the art of goal-scoring look like taking candy from an unsuspecting toddler, relives some of his memories of the game, with tales of those thrilling times, some dangerous, and others


The Gobabis-born attacker is one of many players to whom the game of football owes a huge debt of gratitude and some kind of acknowledgement. Striker joined exciting Khomasdal outfit Young Ones as a fairly unknown raw young boy from village team Epukiro Chiefs. However, it was not soft and pedalling and foam rubber-sailing for the rookie marksman.  

Usually operating from the right fullback position during the better part of his playing career, Hengari’s nickname “Striker” somehow became a bone of contention. 

Head coach Edward “Nose” Morgenroth, an uncompromising strict disciplinarian, was not keen playing the boy from the Cattle Country in his preferred fullback position, arguing that he should live up to his nickname and be compatible with his name tag “Striker”, challenging him to take up his rightful position in the frontline for the sake of doing justice to his adopted name.

Joining a new club, new environment and different culture, Striker had to work very hard to reach the fitness levels and playing standards set by the coach. “It was quite an experience, but I was determined to succeed, though it was not easy because the club had a lot of quality players”. 

“Luckily, I had my homeboy and striking partner Kosie Springbok next to me, who gradually ushered me into the team’s culture, and the set-up on how things were done. To be brutally honest, it was not easy to adjust and break into the first eleven, but I was eager to prove my worth. 

“Back then, Young Ones were at a totally different level as opposed to other teams in the league. They played the kind of football people nowadays watch on telly. The playing system placed lots of emphasis on ball possession, kind of zonal football, running off the ball, knocking the ball into open spaces, and more importantly, starting attacks from well-orchestrated slow build-ups from the back.

Born in Gobabis, the commercial capital of the vastly-populated Omaheke region in 1968, Striker started his football career with the Epako Primary, Drimiopsis Primary  and Mokganedi Tlhabanelo  Public Secondary School, before he joined local club Desert Rollers.  

However, his uncle Esegiel Hengari, who happened to be a schoolteacher at Drimiopsis, was not very happy with his cousin’s flirtation with Rollers, and tried by all means to dissuade him. Hengari senior would cunningly pull all tricks in the book of tricks to discourage his nephew from carrying on wearing the green and black strip of the Epako outfit, a prominently Motswana ethic entity. 

Hengari senior finally managed to persuade his football-playing nephew to jump ship and join Epukiro Chiefs, a non-league village team largely made up of players from sub-villages in the entire Epukiro reservat. 

Chiefs joined the newly-formed Cattle Country League, and started playing serious competitive football in organised structures, courtesy of competing fiercely in several knockout cup tourneys with a great measure of success.  

Some of his celebrated teammates in the Chiefs lineup were Vemuna “Roadblock” Hoveka, Adam Jomo Tjiveta, Kapora Murangi, Mitiri Kaindjee, Kaamberua Hambira, Uahindjua Five and Uaire Moloi Korupanda, Mannetjie Kaimu, Cliff Kamarenga, Mbeuu Tjozongoro, and many others.    

At Young Ones, “Striker” made waves with a flurry of goals whenever he was given the chance to unleash his full potential on the playing field that finally announced him as a potential partner for leading marksman Kosie Springbok, marshaling the firing line of the “Kings at Night”, as Young Ones was affectionately known amongst its ardent fans.  

It was not long before he was given more game time, which he certainly grabbed with both hands, repaying the faith with breathtaking match-winning goals. One particular match that stands out is the Metropolitan Cup semifinal clash against Katutura giants Orlando Pirates at their fortress, the old Katutura stadium. 

The silky Khomasdal outfit completely outplayed Tigers in the quarterfinal and were four goals (4-0) to the good, with “Ingwe” sliding towards an embarrassing defeat. It needed the unpleasant intervention of the notorious self-proclaimed “Rooi Oog” gang to stop the onslaught.

Katutura giants Pirates were the next victim. The Kings at Night found themselves 1-0 down with a few minutes left on the clock when the wide-awake mentor Morgenroth unleashed his lethal weapon via a cleverly thought-out double substitution, dismounting Striker and attacking midfielder Dan-Boy Ndjadila from the substitute’s bench.

With his first touch, Hengari reduced the deficit, latching onto the end of a long throw-in from Lance Willemse, turned his marker Frans Kazimbu and left him for dead before placing the ball neatly beyond the reach of Ghosts’ shot-stopper Frederick Nana Namaseb’s outstretched hands. 

The combination of Willemse and Hengari still had some unfinished business after the former sent the latter through with a delightfully executed defence-splitting pass. The deadly striker made no mistake, weaving his tiny body past the intimidating, imposing figures of both Kazimbu and Salathiel Ndjao to complete his well-taken brace, which gifted Young Ones a hard-fought come-from-behind 2-1 victory.       

In the meantime, unfavourable work commitments rendered him unavailable for training sessions, thus limiting his playing time. He decided to rejoin parent club Chiefs, campaigning in the lower tier league, before making a surprise retreat to the Khomasdal outfit to wind up his remarkable football career in the red and white strip of his beloved “Kings at Night”. 

Arguably one of the most underrated goal-poachers of his generation, Striker boasts a fairly appetising football resume that includes a gold medal in the Castle Classic Cup. Young Ones saw off cup favourites Black Africa 2-1 at Windhoek’s Independence Stadium in only his debut season with the Kings at Night in 1990. 

Quizzed about his toughest opponent during his playing days, the now-retired goalpoacher, still wearing his usual athletic slender frame, was quick out of the blocks and loudly called out the name of former Liverpool and Brave Warriors’ tough-tackling, inspirational captain Bimbo Tjihero. 

He proudly holds former Young Ones’ teammates Jacobus “Kosie’ Springbok, Ricthie “Ski” Steenkamp, Rudolf “Dolfie” Camphell, Martin “Speed Trap” Ndandu, Dawid “Donkey” Majiedt and evergreen Daniel “Capes” Nel in high esteem. 

Striker also showered praises on joint coaches Dove Fransman and Boet Mathews for the important parental role they played in making him understand the basics of the game, ultimately shaping him to become a deadly net-

2022-06-03  Carlos Kambaekwa

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