• June 17th, 2019
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Remember this Bird? Willibald Parri Shekupe 1949-1980

Sport, Sports
Sport, Sports

Blue Waters Football Club’s strongly built departed defender Willibald Parri Shekupe, was arguably one of the finest centre-backs the country has ever produced during his generation.  The athletically framed Blue Waters inspirational skipper was the architect behind the Birds’ free-flowing style, launching calculated attacks from the back while many of his peers would hoof the ball up-field with aimless long clearances.  An extremely intelligent footballer, Tsumeb-born Parri was your typical modern centre-back and could be easily spoken of in the same breath as the now retired England’s cool as a cucumber centre-back, one Des Walker.  Such was his influence in the “Omeya” set-up that when his precious life was suddenly tragically abbreviated – the Birds unavoidably lost their traditional spark and smooth-sailing rhythm, taking years to recover from that particular setback.  The highly gifted multi-talented athlete, who excelled in almost everything he laid his hands, Parri was a keen swimmer and it would only be fitting that he would meet his death through his favourite pastime.  He was swept away by a strong high tide while stroking his huge frame through the blue seas of the giant Atlantic Ocean between Walvis Bay and Swakopmund.  In today’s edition of your favourite weekly sports feature, Tales of the Legends, New Era Sports unpacks the untold phenomenal football journey of this adorable giant.   Carlos “CK” Kambaekwa  Walvis Bay-History would reveal that coastal side Blue Waters Football Club was arguably the finest football-playing outfit in the ‘60s and ‘70s - dominating the domestic football scene with their traditional attractive style of play that captured the imagination of football followers across the length and width of the country.  It is believed the team derived its style from Spanish sailors who anchored in the South West Africa (SWA) harbour town (Walvis Bay) at regular intervals.  Despite the strict apartheid laws that prohibited darkies from mingling freely with larneys – the sailors would engage in several exhibition matches against the Birds on weekends – much to the delight of the local folk.  Although the locals would find themselves at the receiving as they struggled to cope with the advanced methods applied by their opponents – the raw but highly gifted young footballers quickly learnt a few tricks and started to gradually implement what they had learned in knock-out cup competitions against local football clubs.  As a result, Blue Waters were always technically and tactically ahead of their local opponents making the team one of the most sought-after football entities in the business.  This style of play would eventually trickle down to several generations in later years and would become the trademark of the Birds up to the modern game. Interestingly, the club maintained its traditional style of play, which was passed on to the next generations, but it was not until the golden generation led by a strongly built centre-back going by the name of Parri Shekupe that many started to take note of the seasiders’ emergence.  The late Parri was your modern-day centre-back launching dangerous attacks from the back, as opposed to their counterparts.  The fast-galloping hard-tackling defender was always at the heart of Blue Waters’ attacks, occasionally registering his name on the goal-scoring charts from set pieces. Blessed with blistering speed, good feet, amazing calmness, great vision, decent shot and unbelievable ability to read the game – the strongly built centre-back instilled fear into opponents with his presence.  A born leader, Parri started playing the game of football at an early age as a goalkeeper for a small team made up of predominantly Damara-speaking boys, going by the name of Black Africa Football Club in Kuisebmond.  Among his teammates was the Namib Woestyn lethal striking force of Haban Adams, Axarob Doeseb and Straal Auchumeb. The team would compete fiercely against Ricket FC in stake games.   “In those days, football at youth level was extremely competitive. We used to compete in the popular winner-takes-all matches against Mondesa outfits Running Tigers and Pattabona Football Clubs both from Swakopmund,” recalls Parri’s retired teammate Ranga Lucas. In the intervening years, Parri resurfaced at boyhood team Blue Waters FC where he would exchange his gloves for a centre-back position. Ironically, unlike many of his peers who started in the team’s second strings – the bulky fullback walked straight into the Birds’ starting line-up.  “You must understand that when he (Parri) joined Blue Waters, the team was a bit in disarray, as some of the leading players left to join forces with the emerging Eleven Arrows.   “So as a result, places in the starting line-up were up for grabs and Parri grabbed the opportunity with both hands – carving himself a starting berth in the squad.”  Parri’s arrival at the coastal giants coincided with the team’s inevitable transformation process, which culminated in the recruitment of a significant chunk of young footballers.  The new breed was spearheaded by agile shot-stopper Bonnettie Niilenge, Ranga Lucas, Om Titus Shilongo, Slugger Imbili, Zondi Amadhila, Jerry Shikongo, Mathew Amadhila, Lukas Oupapa Hipondoka (Etenda) Phillemon Da Costa, Tommy Amukanya Kaimbi including other highly gifted aspiring footballers from the hood.  Such was Parri’s influence that club management with the support of his teammates saw it fit to deservedly install him as skipper of the highflying Beautiful Birds ahead of senior squad members, Bonnetti Niilenge, Theo Mutumbulwa, Gowola Mupupa, Pwiro Angula, Jerry Shikongo, Lukas Hipondoka, Ranga Lucas and Freddy Bratha.  Parri wore the captain armband and almost single-handedly orchestrated the Birds’ victory when the seasiders defeated bitter rivals Eleven Arrows in the popular annual Coastal Cup (Kus Beker) in a nail-biting 3-2 triumph during a hotly contested cup final where no quarter was asked or given.    Sadly, local football followers were shockingly robbed of a great athlete when Parri, a keen swimmer drowned while stroking his way through the waves of the appetising breadth of the giant Atlantic Ocean between Walvis Bay and Swakopmund. May his soul rest in internal peace in one piece. 
New Era Reporter
2018-02-16 11:31:24 1 years ago

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