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Fare thee well legends

2021-04-16  Carlos Kambaekwa

Fare thee well legends
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Another dark cloud has befallen the Namibian football family following the sad passing of Black Africa Football Club staunch supporter and co-founder Uncle Paul Modise, former Orlando Pirates tough-as-steak-fullback Willem ‘Tsotsie’ Afrikaner, famously known as ‘Tostao’ in football circles, and devastating retired Chelsea FC sharpshooter Daniel ‘Pieces’ Damaseb.

The trident went to meet their maker earlier this week and will be solely missed by those who got to know them up close through their association with the beautiful game of football. ‘Bro Tso’ was a formidable defender with Katutura giants Orlando Pirates and will be remembered for his tight marking during an illustrious career with the Ghosts, which ended unfortunately prematurely. Pieces is arguably one of the finest footballers of his generation to have played the beautiful game of football on Namibian soil. May their soul rest in power, collectively!

Needless to note that Namibian football will just never be the same again without the ever-present Uncle Paul, who never missed matches where his favourite team, Black Africa, was playing. The always-immaculately-dressed-polite Uncle Paul’s trademark smile on his baby face will no longer be spotted at football matches, as the man who lived and ate football has now been reunited with his ancestors. 

Uncle Paul was the touchstone of the Gemengde outfit, Namibia’s most successful football team. Well spoken and very respectful towards fellow mankind, uncle Paul would never let a moment pass without talking about football whenever our paths crossed. His untimely death follows short on the heels of that of another former BA versatile midfielder Duncan Subeb, whose death plunged the club’s supporters into deep mourning, as they were still reeling from the sad passing of club legend Seth Mataba Boois. 

A football giant has gone to rest – Pieces Neumbo Damaseb

Exciting Grootfontein outfit Chelsea Football Club invaded the domestic football scene with breathtaking performance and became the toast of domestic football with their trademark style of playing attractive one touch carpet football, complemented by an avalanche of goals that arrived from all corners of the field. 

The deadly quartet of the Francis brothers Erich and Tiger, Pieces and his cousin Orlando Damaseb, was a nightmare to many opposing defenders – let alone poor goalkeepers who finished their careers with disfigured fingertips trying to shield bullet like shots via the deadly boots of the Omulunga outfit’s devastating sharp-shooters. 

Dear readers, excuse the pun but on a lighter note, we all at some stage have some unpleasant episodes in our life; Bro Pieces will go down in history as the only player to have occupied two contrasting different roles simultaneously in the same fixture. 

Back in the day, finding impartial neutral match officials was very hard to come by – and when Katutura outfit Hungry Lions arrived in Grootfontein for the crunch NSSL tie against hosts Chelsea in 1986, Bro Pieces, who did not make the match day squad, was clad in his civilian attire before he was fast-tracked to take the whistle. 

By halftime, the ‘Brave Lions of Judah’ have taken a healthy two-goal cushion (2-0)... but shock was awaiting when the players trotted back to the field for the re-start; a new referee was about to take over proceedings as Bro Pieces re-surfaced in a new identity of second half substitute. 

Despite heavy protests by the visiting team, the ref-cum-second-half-sub would go onto play the entire final 45 minutes. However, the fired up visitors held on for a hard fought 2-1 victory despite the home side being awarded a pair of highly disputed penalties in the marathon extended added time. Nonetheless, Chelsea went onto clinch the coveted NSSL title to be crowned Namibian champions in only the 2nd edition of the rebel National Super League (NSSL).  

And while many of his celebrated teammates retired from the game prematurely following their double tragedy in consecutive finals of the coveted Mainstay Cup against Black Africa, citing unfair treatment, Pieces temporarily relocated to the city of bright lights. He wound off his astonishing football career with Katutura giant killers Hungry Lions. 

Pieces also represented his motherland (SWA) in the annual prestigious South African Inter-Provincial Curie Cup in 1982. He won several high profile knockout cup tourneys, notably in the maize triangle with his beloved Chelsea. Pieces is rated the best dead ball specialist in the business.   

Go well ‘Bro Tso’

The name ‘Tsotsie’ is enough to send shivers running riot in the bellies of hardened criminals, including the notorious staunch Ghosts’ supporter-cum-habitual-jailbird /Ai-gams, aka ‘Ou Windhoek’. 

The definition of ‘Tsotsie’, according to the Oxford Dictionary, is a South African boy, capable of producing a sharp object (Okapi) in township slang, at the slightest provocation. Contrary to his nickname, ‘Tsotsie’, also famously going by the name of ‘Tostao’, named after Brazilian football legend and World cup winner Eduardo Goncalves de Andrade, generally known as Tostao, was by no means a troublemaker or knife carrier. 

‘Tsotsie’ started playing football with a tennis ball in the highly competitive popular three A-side after school games at the Katutura Central Big Shops. Young boys from the adjacent Rhenisch Nama and St Barnabas Senior Primary Schools would converge at the compact makeshift indoor STOEP, sandwiched between Paulus/Dawid Cafe and uncle Kaputara’s grocery outlet to showcase their God-given talents. 

The likes of Willem Eichab, Pedro Brown, Vaaitjie Aperpo, Oscar Mengo, Bush Menjengua, Ben Kauejao, Rudolf Noariseb, Haimbili Nicodemus, Topsen Afrikaner and Ben Molatzi all hone their football skills at the Central Big Shops STOEP. The winning team remained on court. 

Eish... there was also some sort of potentially dangerous unwanted exposure to be savaged by a pair of pit bulls, jealously guarding the backyard of Paulus’ Cafe. The boys risked their life by jumping over the high wall to collect stray balls. Nonetheless, the streetwise boys always managed to wangle their way around the unsuspecting dogs.     

Replacing ageing club stalwart, the late Mathews ‘Ou Growes’ Namaseb, was certainly not going to be an easy task but ‘Tsotsie’, unlike the man he succeeded, was not just an equally fearless hard tackler; he could play a bit of decent football. ‘Tsotsie’ was in the starting lineup on both occasions when the Buccaneers won back-to-back Mainstay Cup titles – only to be denied by a racially motivated boardroom decision in the 1979 edition. Sadly, persistent career ending knee injuries put him to an otherwise flawless football career. ‘Bro Tso’ died at the Katutura State Hospital after losing a marathon battle against long illness. May his soul rest in eternal peace in one piece!  

2021-04-16  Carlos Kambaekwa

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