Just as the football community was coming to terms with the untimely passing of former Tigers Football Club and South West Africa (SWA) Bantu Invitational Eleven agile shot stopper, Nandos “The Cat” Mbako, a double tragedy has befallen the beautiful game again. Nomtsoub outfit Chief Santos were still reeling from the shock passing of former skipper Jan Xamiseb, only to wake up to the devastating news that another club stalwart Gregor Ur-Khob has exited the game of life following a long illness. The death of Gregor !Uri-Khob, aka Corrie, elder brother to retired football greats Lawrence, Martin “Voete” and Gerros came as a real shock to many. As if this was not enough, former Orlando Pirates hard galloping midfielder Otto Gaeb, younger brother of the football-crazy Gaeb siblings August, Katze and Pius also went west after failing to recover from heart surgery. May their combined souls rest in peace.
TSUMEB – Born Gregor !Uri-Khob on the 4th of October 1952 in Tsumeb, the late Corrie leaves behind a long lasting legacy in domestic football.
Younger brothers Lawrence, Martin (“Voete”) and Gerros followed in his footsteps and became household names in domestic football while cousin Marcellus and nephew Ricardo also made their mark with boyhood team Chief Santos.
A dedicated Catholic, young Corrie was enrolled at the St Joseph’s Secondary School (Dobra), while hardly out of his pair of shorts to start his schooling at the age of eight.
Like many other boys his age at the time, the football-crazy boy from the Copper Town would chase the spherical object at the slightest provocation.
“When I arrived at Dobra, I hooked up with Vossie van Wyk, Hassie Mingeri, Stouter Ochurub, Kariirii Katire, John and Mike Hans and homeboy Gabes Dausab. We formed a hostel team going by the name of Indian Pirates FC. We used to compete in the hard-fought stake games after school and at weekends,” revealed the former Black Africa and Chief Santos football clubs hard tackling fullback.
A jack of all trades, the well-built muscular boy from Nomtsoub would now and then also try his hand at athletics, where he excelled in the discus. As the years wound on, he graduated to the school’s second strings under the shrewd stewardship of revered football mentor Willem Hans.
Back home, Corrie turned out for boyhood outfit Rangers whenever he was on vacation. “I deliberately joined Rangers because I wanted stiff competition for both Chief Santos and Red Bees, and since most of my buddies were playing for Santos, I was determined to compete on equal footing,” charged Corrie.
He found himself in the good company of former Black Africa greats Albert Louw, and cool as a cucumber centre back Gabes Dausab, at Rangers whenever the pair visited their hometown.
After just one season playing for Dobra’s second strings, Corrie was shipped to the school’s first team in 1973 and in no time established himself as a rock solid defender, drawing the attention of talent scouts from Katutura giants Black Africa.
“Upon completing my studies, I went back to Tsumeb and continued playing for Rangers, but the late Albert Louw persuaded me to relocate to Windhoek so that I could join him at Black Africa,” he had said before his death.
He joined the Gemeente outfit alongside new recruits drafted as trainee boilermakers at the Windhoeker Maschinenfabrik.
“It was very easy for me to settle down into the set-up at BA’s playing style, because I knew the majority of squad members from the school. In all honesty, football was extremely competitive in those days and once you got the chance to play at the highest level – you were obliged to grab it with both hands and make damn sure you stayed put.”
Though he missed out on selection for the historic exhibition match between the South West Africa Black Eleven and their White counterparts in 1975 – Corrie nevertheless got some consolation when he tasted international football against formidable opponents on tours to Botswana and Johannesburg, South Africa with his beloved BA.
“We played against Township Rollers in Gaborone and proceeded to Johannesburg, where we played against very strong teams from the Indian Federation League in Lenasia, Johannesburg. The tour was an eye-opener as it improved our game.
“Those matches also sharpened our tactical and technical awareness.” Sadly, a niggling knee injury put paid to an opportunity to represent his native land in the popular annual South African Provincial Currie Cup.
“I was called up for trials but could not attend because of injury.” Corrie went on to to oversee a number of generations at the Gemengde outfit, winning almost every available silverware there was to be won in the business.
He was in the starting line-up when BA confronted bitter rivals Orlando Pirates in the final of the second edition of the annual Mainstay Cup at a packed to rafters Katutura stadium in 1979. The Ghosts came out victorious via young Eric Muinjo’s lone strike
Soon afterwards, he found himself back in familiar territory as he retreated to his hometown Tsumeb, having been transferred to the Copper Town by new employers BP Petroleum. Instead of rejoining boyhood club Rangers, the tough tackling left fullback opted to join rival club Chief Santos, and as they say, the rest is history.
“The main reason why I changed allegiance was simply because Rangers never wanted to compete outside the maize triangle and since I’d just arrived from a competitive environment I wanted to be engaged in tough competition and playing for Santos offered me that edge.”
After helping Santos to dozens of top accolades in several knockout cup competitions, Corrie finally called it quits following a knee injury that was to abbreviate his flourishing football career. He immediately turned to coaching.
Corrie was accredited for accelerating the club’s rise to stardom when he introduced a new blood of highly gifted youngsters to make Santos a major force to be reckoned with, turning them into one of the most adored football entities in domestic football.
Corrie will be laid to rest in his hometown Tsumeb tomorrow with burial rituals starting from his residence at 07h00 before proceeding to the St Francis Roman Catholic Church at 08h00. A memorial service has also been slated for tonight at his residence in Hartebees Street 1173, Nomtsoub, Tsumeb at 18h00.
RIP Otto Gaeb – 1961 – 2019
In the same breath, we would also like to pay homage to former St Joseph’s Secondary School (Dobra) protégé Otto Gaeb. The hard galloping midfielder started his football career at Dobra and had stints with both Black Africa and Orlando Pirates with brothers August, Katze and Pius also turning out for BA.
He later joined the star-studded Buccaneers outfit, spearheaded by the great Doc Hardley and found it hard to nail down a regular starting berth and had to be content with sporadic cameo roles.
Nevertheless, he remained a trusted and loyal cadre who was always there when the team needed him the most before he returned to BA to wrap up his journeyman football career.
Otto will be laid to rest at the Pionierspark cemetery, Windhoek on Saturday, October 19, 2019. May his soul rest in peace.
2019-10-11 08:57:10 | 6 days ago