A product of Mariental’s largest residential area Aimablaagte, much travelled burly defender George Hummel will go down in history as the one and only Namibian athlete to have graced the traditional hostile football fields in communist Russia.
Born in Mariental, George’s genes dictated that he would be a noted footballer. After all, his uncles Funi, Alu, Babes and biological father Pius, were all celebrated athletes in their own right during their heyday in their native Mariental.
It was only a fitting tribute that George junior would resurface at the coastal outfit Eleven Arrows stepping in the footsteps of his late uncle Funi who enjoyed a stellar career with the seasiders in the 70’s.
After successful stints with South African Professional Soccer League (PSL) clubs Hellenic, Marroko Swallows and Jomo Cosmos – the strongly built defender signed a lucrative contract with Russian second tier division outfit Luch Vladivostok.
WINDHOEK – Multi-talented Mariental-born burly athlete George Hummel made waves in his formative years with a flurry of goals as a lethal goal poacher that announced him as a potential super star in the making.
Born George Hummel Jr on the 9th of February, 1976, young George was certainly destined for the big stage at an early age.
His affection for sport started at the tender age of ten chasing an inflated pigskin with his buddies in the dusty streets of Aimablaagte in his native Mariental, holed up in the semi-desert Hardap region.
“I was actually more into athletics than football and it was just because of the influence of my father (Pius) and uncles that I developed an interest in football.”
He rose to prominence as a prolific goal scorer playing for the star-studded Ernst Jagger High School football team in the now defunct popular Coca Cola Youth Cup.
His near faultless display did certainly not go unnoticed as he was rewarded with selection to the George Southern Schools side for trials.
National team selectors cast their net wide as they were looking to put together a formidable team to represent Namibia at an International Youth Tourney (Under-20) in Germany.
Hardly out of his pair of shorts, young George eventually joined exciting Karasburg outfit Tornado Football Club (nowadays known as Young Brazilians FC). His next stop was the city of bright lights (Windhoek) where he joined forces with boyhood team Orlando Pirates FC.
The new kid on the block was bamboozling robust defenders rattling the opposition’s net at will with breathtaking goals that made him the darling of the usually hard-to-please Ghosts’ followers.
George immediately blossomed into a much-feared net buster obliging the Namibian Police Force (Nampol) to dangle a juicy carrot in his face enticing him with secured employment in the police force as a constable.
At the time, the cops had a football team campaigning in the country’s topflight football league and George exchanged the Buccaneers’ black and white strip for the law enforcers’ grey and red attire.
In 1998, the burly striker got promoted to the rank of Warrant Officer (W/O) and was duly shipped to the copper town (Tsumeb). He joined Nomtsoub outfit Chief Santos where he was to establish himself as a lethal goal poacher in the green and gold strip.
The newcomer formed a deadly combination with the free-scoring Engel Johnson and the pair’s goals propelled the Nomtsoub outfit to victory in the NFA Cup, complemented by a runner-up spot in the country’s topflight football league, the NPL.
The bulldozing goal getter caught the eye of the national selectors and it was not long before he was given his big break when co-coaches Peter Uberjahn and his deputy Rusten Mogane included him in the Brave Warriors set-up.
He made his debut against Ivory Coast in an AFCON qualifier at Windhoek’s Independence Stadium. As fate would dictate, the head coach of PSL outfit Hellenic, one Gavin “Huntie” Hunt, was amongst the spectators with the aim to run an eagle eye over Namibian leading striker Ruben van Wyk.
However, the Cape Town outfit was caught by surprise by the exploits of George tormenting the big-frame Ivorians. Huntie wasted little time and signed the Namibian straight away dragging him to the Mother City, and as they say, the rest is history.
It was at Hellenic that big George was converted from the role of holding midfielder to centre back as Huntie was running low on reliable defenders.
“In fact, Brave Warriors caretaker coach Lucky Richter first switched me to a makeshift midfielder before I joined Hellenic.”
After three successful seasons with the Cape Town outfit – George developed itchy feet after the man who brought him to the club parted ways with the club to join fellow PSL side Morroka Swallows in Johannesburg.
As widely expected, he was to be reunited with his boss at the Dube Birds for another three-year spell with the maroon and white strip Soweto giants.
His impressive performance week in and week out caught the eyes of talent scouts from abroad and he was offered a lucrative contract by Russian second tier campaigners Luch Vladivostok.
The big-frame Namibian defender played a pivotal role in his new team’s promotion to that country’s elite league the following season but suffered a career-threatening knee injury that kept him out of football for a considerable period.
Sadly, without having tasted the sweet waters of topflight football in the land of Vodka manufacturers – George made a surprise return to the PSL where he joined Jomo Cosmos under the watchful eye of football great Jomo Sono.
Namibia mining mogul Johnny ‘JJD’ Doeseb came calling. The immaculately dressed football administrator managed to lure the much-travelled veteran defender to the Atlantic Ocean with a tempting offer to join forces with the revamped Kuisebmond outfit Eleven Arrows.
His presence in the heart of the maroon and gold strip alongside the equally evergreen, the late Bobby Kaapama, contributed handsomely to the seasiders’ sudden rise in domestic football.
In 2011, George skippered Arrows to NFA leo Cup victory - dispatching Katutura giants Orlando Pirates 2-1 at Windhoek’s Independence Stadium under the stewardship of former Brave Warriors’ blue-eyed boy Congo “Jakkals” Hindjou.
George also had a brief spell with bitter rivals Blue Waters after Arrows’ honcho Doeseb severed ties with the club he stylishly turned into a much-sought-after commodity in sporting circles in a short period.
As has become customary with many footballers getting a bit long in the tooth, “Big George” tried his hand at coaching.
The brother enjoyed a certain measure of success by ushering Mondesa, Swakopmund outfit Blue Boys FC to the country’s flagship football league (NPL) as player/coach – only to be grounded by internal wrangles.
He came, conquered and saw, and that was to signal the end of an otherwise wonderful football journey for the adorable tough-tackling defender.