History reveals that former Brave Warriors midfield general, one Johannes “Congo” Hindjou, alias “Jakkals” was the chief architect behind Namibia’s maiden qualification for the AFCON Finals in Burkina Faso, in 1998.
And whilst Hindjou kept his cool to dispatch the spot kick that propelled Namibia to her maiden appearance at Africa’s biggest showpiece, it was indeed Chief Santos Football Club’s bow-legged forward Gerros Uri-Khob, who masterminded the team’s success. Baptised “the Bomber” attributed to his ferocious long-range pile drivers, Uri-Khob scored the only goal when underdogs Namibia defeated Kenya’s Harambee Stars by a solitary goal in their own backyard in Nairobi, Kenya in 1997 in the first ever live televised football match, featuring the Namibian senior football team on foreign soil.
Without an iota of doubt, Gerros was one of the greatest footballers ever to emerge from the new generation of athletes in post democratic Namibia in the early 90’s.
The likeable bow legged former Chief Santos Football Club and Brave Warriors sharpshooter whose venomous canon like shots left many shot stoppers with disfigured fingers, relives some of his memories of the beautiful game of football that took him beyond the borders of his native land.
TSUMEB – The retired Chief Santos Football Club marksman entertains us with tales of those thrilling times in domestic football and how he enjoyed bamboozling defenders before delivering the killer punch via his vicious right foot.
Born Gervathius Uri-Khob on the 3rd of April in 1972 – Gerros’s genes dictated that he would be a footballer of note. After all, elder brothers Corrie, Lourens and Martin aka “Voete”, cousins Marcellus “Orde” and Ricardo Witbeen were all noted footballers in their own rights.
Growing up in the dusty streets of Nomtsoub, Gerros was football crazy and would play the game at any given time. He started playing competitive football for a small team made up of aspiring young footballers from the neigbourhood.
“I was around about 10-years old when I took a serious liking to playing football and never missed Santos’ practice sessions. I would always make sure I’m’ stationed behind the goalposts collecting stray balls from the rough and would return them via my right foot,” recalls the Bomber.
Some of the senior players such as club’s great Celle Auchumeb and elder brother Corrie Uri-Khob, noticed his potential and kept a close eye on his development and subsequent progress.
Apart from cementing his place in the starting line up of the star studded Oshikoto Secondary School football team – Gerros also turned out for a local club Young Ones competing in unsanctioned knockout cup tournaments in the maize triangle (Tsumeb, Otavi and Grootfontein).
Unlike many of his peers who started playing competitive football in the big clubs’ second strings, Gerros made his first team debut for Santos FC at the tender age of 13, and never looked back.
He was laterally thrown into the Lion’s den as he was paired alongside old time campaigners Engel Johnson, Khulu Geingob, Jan Xamiseb and the nimble footed winger Steven Auchumeb in Santos’ firing line.
The Copper Town lads embarked on an aggressive rebuilding process with a significant chunk of the club’s stalwarts starting to get a bit long in the tooth.
“I was fortunate because some of the old guards such as Celle and Corrie were still around to guide and take us through the ropes.”
Interestingly, the youngsters were gradually introduced to the system by engaging them in several knockout tournaments to get accustomed to competitive environment.
“It did not takes us long to gel because the majority of new recruits came from the same background. We knew each other very well since we have been playing together from primary school up to secondary school during our younger days.”
After playing in few knockout tourneys and low-key matches in the domestic topflight football league – Gerros did not take long to taste victory when the Copper Town outfit won the Castle Lager Cup in Tsumeb.
When selectors named a well-balanced strong team to represent Namibia at the Zone Six Tournament in Maseru, Lesotho in 1991 – it was only fitting and justifiable gesture that young Gerros would lead the team’s firing line.
The sharpshooter rose to prominence when the bow legged forward almost single handedly stopped coastal giants Blue Waters right in their tracks as Santos held the star studded seasiders to a high scoring 4- all stalemate in the final of the second edition of the annual Windhoek Lager NFA Cup.
The lanky Copper Town Bullet announced his arrival on the big stage on that particular day - rattling the opposition’s net with a well-taken brace, forcing the match into a replay.
The two teams were back at the same venue a week after, but it was the Copper lads that came out unscathed from the hotly contested replayed final as the Bomber was in the thick of things again - scoring the equalising goal which took the tie into the lottery of the dreaded penalty shootout which Santos won to claim their first FA trophy.
Brave Warriors Zimbabwean coach Sheperd Murape had seen enough of Uri-Khob’s unmatched goal scoring prowess and threw the young lad into the mix for the senior national team.
Making his senior debut in the 4-0 drubbing at the hands of Zambia at Windhoek’s Independence in 1993, Gerrros scored the decisive goal against hosts Kenya in Nairobi and went onto create the winner against hosts Gabon in Libreville.
Gerros was to form the spine of the golden generation that stunned the entire African continent with breathtaking performance at their maiden appearance during the AFCON finals in Burkina Faso in 1998.
Playing an instrumental role in Namibia’s road to the poverty stricken West African country, Gerros did not disappoint and replicated his form in the qualifiers at the finals.
Namibia needed just a draw to book a place in the continental showpiece but found themselves on the back foot trailing by a goal to nil with time ticking by.
Up stepped the Bomber shaking off few defenders and just as he was about to unleash his trademark bullet, he was upended in the penalty box - the referee had no hesitation pointing to the penalty spot.
Hindjou casually dispatched the spot kick sending the small Namibia contingent into wild celebrations. The penultimate clash of the titans ended 1-all but that was enough for Namibia to book a place in the AFCON finals.
The Bomber spearheaded one of the greatest comebacks in continental football when his brace took Namibia to the brink of causing the biggest upset in international football.
Looking dead and buried, the gutsy Warriors came from 3 goals down to draw level (3-3) against Joel Tiehi’s inspired Ivory Coast in the group stages of the continental showpiece but sadly conceded a last minute goal to lose the contest 3-4.
Back home, he went onto inspire Santos to a rare double after the Copper Town lads won the coveted Premiership title and the NFA Cup – paving the way for continental participation, as Santos represented Namibia in the highly competitive CAF Club Champions League.
Gerros accumulated 47 caps for the Brave Warriors – certainly an astonishing feat for any striker in international football. He won four NFA Cups with his beloved Santos in 1991, 1998, 1999 and 2000.
2018-11-02 10:28:11 11 months ago