Nowadays, retired St Joseph’s Secondary School (Döbra), Orlando Pirates and Black Africa Football teams’ speedy winger Ghenno Himarwa wears the kind of frame that would not look exactly out of place on a seasoned professional bouncer. But oh boy!!, he is a total contrast to the flying winger that used the bamboozle tough defences during his younger days as a phenomenal left winger playing for the revered St Joseph’s Secondary School football outfit, back in the day. Like many other left-handed sports personalities, or people in other fields, Ghenno was a special athlete who was blessed with amazing pace, multiple skill, an good dribbler, with excellent ball control while packing dynamite in his delicious left foot. In today’s edition of your favourite weekly sports feature, “Tales of the Legends”, New Era Sports unpacks the untold football journey of Ghenno Himarwa, the other half (spouse) of firebrand Minister of Education, Katrina Hanse-Himarwa. Carlos “CK” Kambaekwa Windhoek – For local football followers, notably Orlando Pirates diehards, it was the defining image of a man primarily driven by morals and principles when young Ghenno Himarwa resolved to jump ship to join forces with the Ghosts’ bitter rivals and his boyhood team Black Africa after a short stint with the Buccaneers. Ghenno was a squad member of the Ghosts’ side that prevailed 1-0 over Black Africa in the second edition of the newly introduced annual Mainstay Cup at a packed to the rafters Katutura stadium in 1978. Born in Otjiwarongo on 27 July 1956, young Ghenno grew up chasing an inflated piece of plastic ball in the dusty streets of the town after school, or whenever time permitted. “In those days, there were virtually no recreational facilities available for Bantus (blacks) and the only thing to keep ourselves busy was playing football,” recalls Ghenno. A bright young scholar at the popular Roman Catholic school in the town, Ghenno was literally a Jack-of-all trades – excelling in almost everything he ever laid his tiny hands on. Together with other boys in the neighbourhood, Ghenno formed a team, which they famously christened Dodgers Football Club competing in stake games until mama called. His teams included his bothers Harry and Boaster, Anton Samaria, the Samtaka siblings Jamba and Joakie, Tjindere Ndjao (Ronnie Kanalelo and Salathiel Ndjao elder brother), Norbert Kakumai, the Tjiueza brothers Tjituisa and Cokes amongst a horde of talented young footballers in the hood. It was not long before he started playing competitive football with Silent Killers FC, a team formed by his elder brother, the late Harry and as they say, the rest is history. His next stop was the St Josephs Secondary School (Döbra) – the unofficial school of excellence (football wise). It was here at Döbra where bro Ghenno rose to prominence while playing for hostel team Chief Santos FC alongside Lucky Hailombe, Barry Mwefi, Frans Mupupa and Supply “Rastaman” Kanandura that the selectors started to take note of his extraordinary football virtuosity. “Football at school level was extremely competitive and Döbra was loaded with highly gifted footballers as one really needed to work hard to convince selectors. Luckily, I only played one year for the school’s second strings before graduating to the star studded first team.” In the absence of proper league structures, local football teams would freely engage in the fiercely contested popular knockout cup tournaments staged countrywide. History reveals that Döbra won a significant chunk of these tourneys – much to the chagrin of their more fancied opponents from the location. “It was always fun playing against schools such as Martin Luther High, Petrus Ganeb, Augustineum, Cornelius Goraseb and Okakarara. The pair of Doc Naobeb and Oscar Mengo were both phenomenal dribblers. “I was fortunate enough to be in good structures and playing under the stewardship of the legendary “Meester” Willem Hans was an extra bonus on its own. He was the only local football coach armed with a coaching license from Holland during the height of apartheid. “As a result of that, I gained valuable expertise and experience from his application of the game, which included a good variety of new techniques in modern football.” During the school holidays, Ghenno would feature regularly for coastal giants Blue Waters in Walvis Bay playing alongside Ranga Lucas, Da Costa Pillemon, Lukas “Aupapa” Hipondoka, a.k.a. “Etenda”, Ringo Nakanene, Zondi Amathila, Lemmy Lazarus and his late cousin, Freddy Bratha. As time went by, Ghenno exchanged schools leaving Döbra only to resurface at the equally football crazy Augustineum High in the city of lights (Windhoek) to further his academic aspirations in 1976. He teamed up with established footballers at the school hostel, led by adored ball juggler Rusten “Zukhile” Mogane, August Gaeb (goalie) Benny Petrus and other boys to lead the firing line of hostel outfit Sorento Bucks FC. Your typical old-fashioned winger, Ghenno’s undisputed, amazing goal scoring prowess did not go unnoticed as he was immediately drafted into the school’s star-studded first team rattling the opposition’s net at will with brutal ferocity. In the interim, he would occasionally exchange his football togs for running shoes excelling on the athletics track in both the short metres race, the 100 and 200-meter sprints showing his competitors a clean pair of heels in the popular inter-schools or national schools athletic meetings. “I’m not blowing my own horn, but I was probably one of the fastest boys in the senior group. I always looked forward to my countless fierce battles with the stocky sprinter from the garden town (Okahandja) Hermann Garos-Aob, although I have to admit I was made to play second fiddle to my competitor in many of our encounters. Deservedly hailed as the finest sharpshooter at the school, comparisons were made between the baby faced boy from Otjiwarongo and Blue Waters equally hard hitting midfielder Riva Jakonia. However, up to this day those in the know are still at loggerheads as to who was the real McCoy when it came down to stinging opposing goalkeepers’ hand palms. In the meantime, Katutura giants Orlando Pirates came knocking on the door for Ghenno’s signature and the young man could not resist the chance of playing competitive football at the highest level. His arrival at the Ghosts coincided with emergence of multi-racial football in apartheid South West Africa (SWA) in 1977. Despite his amazing talent, Ghenno was sparingly used in cameo roles and sat on the substitutes bench when the fired up Buccaneers defeated Black Africa 1-0 via young Eric Muinjo’s lone strike at the packed to capacity Katutura stadium in a hotly contested final of the Mainstay Cup in 1978. Fed up with warming the bench, Ghenno developed itchy feet soon afterwards and joined boyhood team Black Africa in a quest to get more game time. “I left Pirates with mixed emotions because I felt undervalued as the coach persisted in keeping faith with the loyal tried and tested cadres in the squad. Whether they were in form or not – the players would always be included in the starting line up. “In addition to my frustrations, my political stance, aspirations and belief were not exactly in harmony with some of my teammates”. A free scoring attacking left-sided midfielder, bro Ghenno in no time established himself as a vital cog in BA’s firing line scoring goals as if they were going out of fashion. In the intervening years, he was converted to the position of left fullback, a task he executed with the precision of a well oiled and seasoned defender, stabilising the traditionally suspect BA rear-guard. Having won almost anything there was to be won with his beloved BA, it was time to call it a day, and he retired completely from competitive football to concentrate on administration. Ghenno went onto serve Black Africa with distinction on his retirement, leaving a long lasting legacy as the club became amongst the leading and most soundly administered sporting entities in the domestic football league. Off the field, bro Ghenno would go on to become an astute insurance broker with financial giants Metropolitan for 20 solid years before going into early retirement in 2003. Now a much sought after commercial “Boerbok” breeder – the business minded bro Ghenno has been rated amongst the finest thoroughbred goat breeders in the country since 2001.
New Era Reporter
2018-01-12 11:07:27 10 months ago