There are hordes of former footballers to whom the beautiful game of football owes a massive debt of gratitude.
These blokes need some kind of acknowledgement and though a significant chunk of them have gone the way of all flesh, others are still around struggling to make ends meet while others are going about their business, totally forgotten.
One of those unheralded sons of the soil is none other than Eastern Jumpers Football Club’s tireless midfield general Striker Makgone.
New Era Sport caught up with the baby-face Jumpers’ engine room technician, and the soft-spoken ‘Silent Assassin’ takes us through his amazing football journey, gracing dozens of uneven gravel fields across the length and width of his motherland during an illustrious football career back in the day.
WINDHOEK – The dominant view amongst football followers from yesteryear is that the overall standard and quality of domestic football has declined significantly over the years.
Many argue that the current crop of footballers would not have held a candle against their more talented and genetically strongly built predecessors.
Back in the day, the game of football was played under very harsh conditions on uneven gravel fields while the officiating left much to be desired with very little if any protection offered to skillful players who became the target of robust defenders.
Teams campaigning in the country’s second tier division were equally competitive and would claim the scalps of big brothers in knockout cup tournaments – much to the delight of adoring fans.
History reveals that the Central Football Association (CFA) second tier division was extremely competitive as teams vied for supremacy.
The league had in her armoury the likes of Khomasdal exciting outfit Young Ones, Hungry Lions, Eastern Jumpers, Acrow Chiefs, African Blizzards, Revivals and in later years Sorento Bucks.
Apart from the abovementioned clubs, the second strings of Katutura giants Black Africa, Tigers, Orlando Pirates, Ramblers Katutura (Ramkat) Orlando Pirates, African Stars, SKW and Ramblers Pionierspark were equally up there with the very best in the business.
However, it was the orange and white strip of Eastern Jumpers Football Club that caught the eye with their eye-catching never-say-die-attitude.
Comprising mainly of athletes from Batswana descendants, residing in the eastern part of the then apartheid South West Africa (SWA) - Jumpers were an absolute marvel to watch.
Though lanky target man, the late Laurentius “Oubaas” Pogisho was the club’s poster boy rattling the opposition’s net at regular intervals, it was in the middle of the park from where the supplies arrived abundantly.
Jumpers’ strongly built midfielder, one Striker Makgone, was the architect of the team’s attacks.
Always cool under pressure, Makgone was your typical modern-day football box-to-box midfielder. He never shied away from tough battles though he admits hating coming face to face with Hungry Lions tough tackling fullback, the late Godwin “Tikkie” Muvangua Kauhetjii.
“Overall, Hungry Lions FC used to give us lots of problems on the playing field – the rivalry between these two teams was always tense, I think it’s because the majority of both sets came from Epukiro,” recalls Striker.
Born in Epukiro Post 3 on the 19th of September 1955, Striker grew up in the village and started playing football at an early age at primary school.
He was a founding member of Eastern Jumpers Football Club, the pride of Batswana ba Namibia and would serve the club with distinction over an uninterrupted career that stretched almost two decades.
There is only way to judge footballers and that’s to watch them bewitch a spherical object – well the author had the rare privilege of not only seeing Striker bamboozle defenders on the right flank, he experienced it first-hand as he played against him on countless occasions.
Eastern Jumpers FC had a couple of very skillful players in their squad but none other possessed the influence of the light-skinned flying winger-cum-midfielder Striker Makgone. Athletes across the globe, footballers in particular come in packages. There are great athletes, highly gifted, best talented but there are those who can influence the entire complex of the match with one simple touch of individual brilliance – Striker Makgone falls perfectly in the latter category.
He was the catalyst behind many of Jumpers FC’s forays as he would masterfully launch attacks from his own half, running with the ball as if it was glued to his feet.
Striker was not only a good passer of the ball, the brother packed a decent shot in his right foot and would register his name on the score sheet whenever the opportunity arose.
A complete all-rounder in the true sense of the word, the well-built midfield anchorman was a one-club man and could have played for any of the top clubs in the business had it not been for his undying loyalty and love towards Jumpers.
Eastern Jumpers FC might have folded but the now defunct Orange and white strip outfit has certainly left a long lasting legacy in the annals of domestic football with their unique brand of carpet football.
The youthful outfit would tour neighbouring Botswana competing in highly contested exhibition matches against local clubs in Ghanzi.
Jumpers FC were also regular campaigners in the popular Knockout Cup tournaments at their fortress, the Epako field in Gobabis, where they enjoyed amazing massive support amongst the locals.
“Football was very competitive back in the day, but I must admit Hungry Lions were our toughest competitors and in later years Sorento Bucks.
“And of course Desert Rollers FC – there was some kind of a bitter rivalry vibe between Jumpers and Rollers, which I think was influenced by tribal supremacy since both teams had a strong connection with the Batswana ba Namibia.”
Sadly, Striker missed out on pitting his god-given skills against the finest footballers in the country’s flagship football league after his team’s numerous failed attempts to gain promotion to the elite league.
Nonetheless, his football legacy will live forever and he will go down in history as one of the finest midfielders this country has ever produced.
2018-11-23 10:50:34 20 days ago