There’s an old saying that the dusty town of Khorixas will be incomplete and a bit weird without mentioning the name of Robber Chanties Football Club.
Well, many of the town’s inhabitants strongly believe the community project is the ultimate foundation of the establishment’s existence. Truth be told, the two entities are inseparable in many aspects of life.
One of Robber Chanties’ founders Bonifatius Kruger, famously known as ‘Bonny’, has graduated from this life to be reunited with his ancestors in heaven.
The football family salute, honour, mourn and at the same time celebrate the astonishing life journey of this great man of substance for his unselfish service to the overall development of the game and lest we forget, ultimately the well-being of the community he served unconditionally with a great measure of humanitarian pride.
A noted bricklayer by trade, Bonny was not only a versatile formidable footballer during his prime but indeed an astute football administrator and shrewd mentor-cum-coach.
He will be best remembered for his undying love, generosity, commitment and unquenchable dedication toward the overall growth of the beautiful game of football in the Kunene/northwest region. It was indeed a race well run brother man; may your precious soul rest in power.
Bonifatius Kruger, one of the co-founders of Khorixas outfit Robber Chanties, was not only a highly-gifted versatile athlete and immaculately dresser with his trademark flat caps, but also an astute football administrator and self-made businessman.
Uncle Bonny will be well remembered for his immense contribution towards the development of what is today known as the face of Khorixas and the biggest recreational brand in the entire northwest/Kunene region – Robber Chanties Football Club.
Such was his dedication and undying affection for the well-being and overall development of the beautiful game that the kind-hearted Bonny went to full lengths to financially and spiritually assist the needy at the expense of his own household.
One of the very few well-to-do residents in the village back in the day, Bonny generously took talented youngsters such as Oupapa Richter, Pele Damaseb, Dawid Snewe, Rehabeam Tstastaeb Haraeb, Johannes So-oabeb, Patrick Basson and many others under his wing, paying their school fees and other basic commodities from his own pocket.
‘Bro B’ arrived in Khorixas (Welwitschia), from his hometown Omaruru in 1972 as a raw trainee at the revered Cornelius Goreseb High School Vocational Training Centre holed up in the dry semi-desert village and wasted little time settling down.
The energetic boy from Omaruru teamed up with some of his schoolmates in the following sequence to form a football team: Barnabas ‘BB’ #Ouseb, Paul Habeb, Selle Auchumeb, Anton ‘Rango’ Taurob, Ulrich Naibab, Mannetjie Neidel, Simson //Awaseb, Levy Nanae #Guiseb, and Sagarias Madawa //Gowaseb.
In a bid to while away time, the bored football-crazy youngsters formed a football club, stylishly, or rather oddly, christened Robber Chanties, the successor of Rush Bosho Football Club.
Tellingly, all founder members were young boys from different towns who descended on Khorixas to further their academic aspirations. Unfortunately, the newly-formed team did not have a standard accepted playing gear and always took to the field clad in sloppy multi-coloured attire, resembling a cornered chameleon.
The team was teasingly called ‘the band of robbers’, which culminated in the new identity Robber Chanties. The latter is a reference to some kind of haphazardly assembled items in simple township lingo.
Bonny was an all-rounder and also tried his hand in the merciless business of leather trading (boxing), and his devastating punches would have done the great Mike Tyson proud. He was equally home between the sticks (goalkeeper).
And whilst some of the founder members left the village in later years in search of pastures green elsewhere, and others went the way of all flesh, Bonny stood firm and never wavered.
The lone ranger managed against all odds stacked against him, worsened by limited resources, to weather the storm. He bravely and courageously oversaw the team’s ups and downs in a marathon journey that stretched over five solid decades uninterruptedly.
His genes dictated that he would be a great footballer of note. After all, Uncle Ben Tembo (Eleven Arrows/Western Invitational Eleven) and younger brother Rudolf Kruger (Speed Fire) were formidable shot-stoppers.
Under Bonny’s stewardship, Robber Chanties won a few high-profile knockout cup tourneys, complimented by well-deserved triumphs in Arandis, Outjo, Omaruru and Otjiwarongo, in that sequence. Chanties surprised friend and foe by reaching the semifinal of the Metropolitan Cup in 1990.
Bonny masterminded the team’s historic promotion to the country’s elite league – firstly, to the breakaway Namibia Super Soccer League (NSSL) before carving themselves a place in the Namibian Premiership (NPL).
Despite operating on a shoestring budget, Chanties were a major force to be reckoned with, competing fiercely in major knockout cup competitions, whilst at the same time unearthing a significant number of great players, only to lose them to their more affluent rivals from the advanced cities.
Bonny’s undying love and dedication towards the beautiful game trickled down to his spouse, the late Magde Kruger, who singlehandedly managed the team’s netball section.
The generous beautiful Madame took it upon her tiny shoulders, ensuring that unemployed players were properly fed and well taken care of over an extended period, in the process, gravely neglecting her own siblings just because of her undying passion for the game and the overall wellbeing of fellow citizens.
Bonny was the biological old man of local socialite and coastal beauty Bonita Khaibes, and her equally well-known brother Mahne Kruger.
Sadly, the likeable football guru succumbed to illness after a long battle with diabetes.