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Boot to toe with Johannes ‘Vialli’ Ortman

2023-06-09  Staff Reporter

Boot to toe with Johannes ‘Vialli’ Ortman

Former Orlando Pirates and Civics attacker Johannes Mabos Ortman, famously going by the adopted nickname of ‘Viali’, borrowed from Italian giant Gianluca Vialli, was a marvel to watch. 

Blessed with a brilliant first touch and an eye for an unexpected killer pass, the left-footed boy from Katutura ‘Vialli’ was the kind of athlete many would gladly pay any kind of money to squeeze their bodies through the turnstiles. He was introduced to topflight football at a very early age but did not show any signs of a young rookie footy as he went about his business like a seasoned campaigner.

Elder son of former Orlando Pirates long-serving team manager Simon Bock, ‘Vialli’ comes from a football-playing family whose uncles Willem and Romus Bock also played competitive football for Katutura giants Orlando Pirates. 

Like many other young boys his age, ‘Vialli’ started his flourishing football career at the popular Ellis Park gravel field sandwiched between the Roman Lutheran Church and Immanuel Shifidi Secondary School in Katutura. He made his senior debut in topflight football with the Buccaneers at a very young age barely out of his pair of shorts. 

His arrival at Pirates coincided with the unavoidable departure of club legend Norries Goraseb and stepping into the footsteps of the latter was no mean feat but the left-footed youngsters took the responsibility on his tiny shoulders. 

A highly gifted baller, ‘Vialli’ quickly established himself as a vital cog in the Buccaneer’s engine room pulling the strings in the middle of the park with relative ease much to the delight of the usually hard-to-please Ghosts followers.

It will be an understatement to state that his vision and overall playing style did not exactly tie in with the team’s style of play leading to frustrations as he was often left on the substitutes’ bench. Well, players of talent and calibre are not cut for watching their teammates strut their stuff on the field while they are watching from the touchline. 

Fed up, young ‘Vialli’ decided enough was enough, he packed his boots to find refuge elsewhere as he was itching for more game time. He joined cross township rivals Civics and made an immediate impact to the extent that he was called up to the country’s senior football team the Brave Warriors, and as they say, the rest is history. 

He went on to establish himself as a vital cog in the Warriors’ untouchable ‘Class of 98’, and subsequent teams that took continental football by storm in the last 90s right into the 20th century. Unlike many of his peers who have gone the wrong way upon retiring from playing competitive football, some not even knowing where their next meal is going to come from, ‘Vialli’ is the epitome of the scary phrase ‘live after football’. 

The jazz-fanatic local socialite has ventured into business and runs his own company New-Point E Solutions, living life to the fullest. ‘Vialli’ was instrumental in the successful hosting of the recently concluded international exhibition match between Pirates’ Golden Oldies and their South African counterparts, at Windhoek’s Independence stadium, last weekend.  

2023-06-09  Staff Reporter

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