A strict disciplinarian and uncompromising fitness fanatic, former Thistle Football Club’s hard-as-nails fullback Edward ‘Nose’ Morgenroth is one of the most revered yet less talked-about personalities in Namibian football.
A dedicated performer, Nose played his club football for Khomasdal outfit Thistles Football Club during an illustrious football career. He also enjoyed success with the youthful Khomasdal outfit Young Ones Football Club as head coach during the club’s formative years.
The no-nonsense mentor transformed the ‘Kings at Night’ into one of the most attractive football entities in the domestic league. Young Ones were, by a decent mile, the most-adored team in the business, capturing the imagination of football followers across the country with their simple one-touch playing style copied from European football.
In today’s edition of your favourite weekly sport feature Tales of the Legends, profiling our sports heroes and heroines past and present, New Era Sport caught up with the humorous retired trainer as he relives his amazing football journey as a player and coach.
Born in Windhoek in 1952, Nose grew up on a small farm called Gaugab in the Rehoboth district before he came to Windhoek to start his education in Khomasdal. In those days, there were only two sporting disciplines for natives – football for boys and netball for girls.
He started playing competitive football for local team Marokko Lions under the guidance of Goliath Cloete.
“We used to compete fiercely in the hotly-contested knockout cup tournaments and exhibition matches against other teams from the neighbourhood such as Golden Arrows, Marists, Strangers, Mighty Boys, Black Spiders, Spartans and later Atlanta Chiefs,” recalled Nose.
Amongst his celebrated teammates were the Coetzee siblings – Ernest and Dawid from Upington, South Africa. It was not long before the hard-tackling fullback developed itchy feet as he jumped ship to join forces with Thistles. However, it was not easy to break into the first team, and Nose had to bide his time in the green and white strip outfit’s second strings.
He was later promoted to the first team, where he found himself facing some of the finest players in the business. The competition was very tough, and marking greats in the mould of Alan van Harte, Kiro Makati and the likes of Henry Brandt was not a walk in the park; one had to be fully concentrated.
Nose tasted provincial club football when Thistles toured South Africa on two separate occasions for exhibition matches in Okiep, Namaqualand, playing alongside the legendary former Atlanta Chiefs and Kaizer Chiefs flying winger, the late Hermann Pele Blaschke.
When Thistles folded, Nose joined youthful Khomasdal outfit Young Ones, assisting the young boys in the technical department. He eventually took over the coaching reigns from Johan Swarts.
Nose hit the ground running, steering the silky ‘Kings at Night’ to several knockout cup finals, winning one in the coastal harbour town of Walvis Bay, before propelling the team to promotion to the highly-competitive Central Football Association (CFA) division one league in 1983.
They announced their arrival in top-flight football with an attractive brand of carpet football never witnessed before on Namibian soil. Nose instilled a sense of confidence and arrogance in the young squad as the fearless ‘Kings at Night’ swept their more fancied opponents aside at will, notably during the popular Friday night league encounters at their fortress the SKW stadium in Windhoek.
But what really made the young and relatively-inexperienced outfit tick in the absence of advanced coaching methodologies?
“Eish.....I used to buy the popular football magazine ‘Shoot’ from Frewer’s Stationeries to study easy ways on how the game should be played, including the application of basics.
“In fact, we modelled our game on Liverpool, Leeds and the Dutch style of ‘Total Football’. The main point was to launch attacks from the back without playing with fear of committing unnecessary costly errors. Ball possession was very key in our approach”.
On a lighter note, tales of strange occurrences off the football pitch stretched to the team’s playing personnel when some naughty players decided to pull a trick on their gaffer. Nose was your typical old-fashioned trainer who did everything by the book.
The former Thistles tough-as-teak defender believed in fitness and to attain that level of fitness, he put lots of emphasis on road work, something which did not go down well the throats of a significant chunk of the playing personnel.
On one such occasion, Young Ones went to participate in a knockout cup tournament in the coastal town of Swakopmund. Nose’s motto was all about roadwork, starting an early morning jog along the beach.
Unfortunately, the freezing weather at the Atlantic Ocean did not play along, sending shivers to run riot in the bellies of his subjects. The players mapped out a plan to skip training at all cost in their desire to escape the impolite cold breeze.
The naughty boys tiptoed to his room and silently rubbed black shoe polish on the coach’s spectacles while he was visiting slumberland with specks on. The unsuspecting mentor waited in vain for sunrise to emerge so that he could take his soldiers through the traditional morning drill.
Realising that something was amiss after the long doze, he summoned his trusted “hoender” (wristwatch), only to find out that morning had already come and passed. Upon closer inspection, Bro Nose eventually realised his glasses were tainted but by this time, the entire squad was in stitches, crawling on the floor in loud laughter.