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Remembering departed football icon Jeremiah “Britho” Shipanga 1961 –2000

2019-12-20  Carlos Kambaekwa

Remembering departed football icon Jeremiah “Britho” Shipanga 1961 –2000

WALVIS-BAY – Arguably the finest left footed fullback in the history of domestic football, Jeremiah “Britho” Shipanga will go down in history as one of the most gifted young footballers of his generation.

Younger brother of former Blue Waters Football Club speedy forward Bazooka Shipanga, who also cut his teeth with Manzini Wanderers FC in Swaziland, Britho was your complete athlete with very flaws, if any, in his amazing football repertoire. 

Born in Namibia’s largest harbor town Walvis-Bay, on the freezing Atlantic Ocean on the 18th of August 1961 – the left footed lad hone his football skills in the wet streets of Kuisebmond but it was until he went to city of bright lights in the late 70’s to further his education at the revered Augustineum Secondary School located on the outskirts of Windhoek.

Britho resurfaced in Namibia’s commercial capital {Windhoek} alongside other equally talented young footballers from the coast that included Bomber Salomon, Leo “Computer” Koutondokwa, Dan-Boy Ndjadila, Enos Ndeshi Petrus, Mathatias “Koko” Muatunga amongst others.

He was to form the spine of the Augustineum school star studded football team that included the likes of Alfred Juku Tjazuko, Boas Roree Tjingaete, Enos Petrus, Leo Koutondokwa, Sadike Gottlieb, Sugar Mapumbua, Lefa Ndjiruete, Bomber Salomon and many highly gifted youngsters. 

Like many other students from the coast, tradition demanded that he should join forces with hostel team Golden Bees FC. He announced his arrival in domestic football when he almost singlehandedly stunned Katutura giants African Stars with two well taken goals in a knockout cup final at Okakarara in 1981.

The left footed boy from the Atlantic Ocean stung the usually obedient hand palms of the Reds’ noted shot stopper Asaria Ndjiva Kauami. The students’ auxillary invitational eleven sent the much fancied Stars packing with their tales between their legs – courtesy of two unanswered goals via the deadly boot of Britho.

Blessed with blistering speed, deft footwork, endurance and big engine amongst his incredible football ingredients, the football playing fullback packed a bullet in his delicious left foot. 

He was amongst few selected young talent that were roped in to represent African Stars second strings and would occasionally feature for the first team when the need arose.

Upon completion of his studies, he retreated to his hometown and immediately nailed down a starting berth with the resurgent Blue Waters Football Club, under the mentorship of former Sparta FC tough tackling center back Uwe Bachmann. 

With some of the club’s stalwarts starting to become a bit long in the tooth, the versatile Britho was transformed to fullback from a flying winger but the change of guard did not distinguish his desire for shooting from range. He would now and then ship in with odd goal, notably from set pieces in inviting positions.

Britho was in the starting lineup when the visiting “Omeya” went down 1-0 to African Stars in a pulsating Mainstay Cup final at Windhoek’s Independence stadium in 1984 through Oscar Mengo’s lone strike.

He went onto represent the club with distinction in subsequent cup finals including the prestigious NFA cup final and played a pivotal role ushering the new generation into the flawless Birds family.

As fate would dictate, by the time Namibia gained her long overdue democracy, the boy with the delicious left foot was already entering the twilight of his otherwise flourishing football career. 

Ironically, the trident of the football playing Shipanga brothers Aupapa, Britho and Lucky resided in the same street in Kuisebmond, as the equally football crazy Muatunga siblings Phello, Hanga and Koko.
Sadly, his precious life was abruptly abbreviated when the vehicle in which he was travelling overturned about 10 kilometers before Otjiwarongo on the Kalkfeld road, with his cousin and former Eleven Arrows FC lanky defender Denina Nakwafila, navigating the sticks.

Britho died in that tragic car accident on 10th November 2000. May his soul continue to rest in eternal peace. 

2019-12-20  Carlos Kambaekwa

Tags: Erongo
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