Joseph Jonathan Sekhobo 1957-2021
Going by the nickname of “Ballack” after the great former Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeper Peter Ballack, the Luderitzbucht-born stubborn boy of South African migrants, famously known as ‘Ballack’ amongst his peers, was a marvel to watch between the sticks. Also going by the name of Boeta, the acrobatic goalie arrived in Windhoek at a very young age when his parents relocated to the city of bright lights. Like many young kids from well-to-do parents, Ballack started his primary school at the MH Greef Primary School, holed up in the upmarket Khomasdal township.
In later years, the multilingual ‘Boeta’ found refuge with boyhood team Orlando Pirates. He was understudy to first-choice goalie, the late Lewa Awaseb, when the Doc Hardley-inspired Ghosts successfully defended the coveted Mainstay knockout cup at the newly-built Windhoek stadium in 1979, only to be denied by a very unpopular green table decision. The Dios Engelbrecht-led Buccaneers mysteriously arrived 45 minutes late for kick- off, obliging the trigger-happy football authorities to nullify the result and declare ‘Immer Wieder’ the winner, despite them losing 3-5 in extra time after a 3-all stalemate.
Growing tired of having to play second fiddle, Ballack jumped ship and joined the newly formed exciting Katutura outfit Benfica FC competing in the new Central Namibia Football Association (CNFA) under the stewardship of departed uncle Bobby Sissing. The squad was loaded with a significant number of playing personnel from across the Orange River - Upington to be precise - led by the nimble-footed Aaron Mthebe.
The new kids on the block were doubtlessly the envy of the football-crazy Khomasdal community. These amazingly skillful footies mesmerised their clearly exhausted opponents at will, leaving them at sixes and sevens, with a certain measure of sheer football arrogance.
The boys dished out typical South African Diski football never witnessed before in that neck of the woods...much to the delight of the neutral football fan. Regrettably, Ballack is the seventh former Pirates player to exit the game of life this year, following short on the heels of club legends Japhet Hellao, Erich Muinjo, Willem Afrikaner, Bisho Ganinab, Alphons Doeseb and Rabbie Keister. May their combined souls rest easy.
Albert Alico Ubi Soreseb 1985-2021
The likeable Otjiwarongo-born whistle-blower succumbed in his hometown after battling to recover sufficiently from a life-threatening illness. Alico developed early interest in sport as a pupil at the Spesbona Primary School, before graduating to the revered Roman Catholic Braunfells Agriculture High School near Grootfontein.
A one-club man, often going by the nickname of “Shoe-man”, the hard-tackling defender turned out for boyhood team African Lions FC, and was one the club’s most trusted soldiers.
Unlike many former footies who turn their backs on the game when their playing days are over, Bro ‘Shoe-man’ took up the whistle and went on to become one of the most sought-after-match officials in the domestic top-tier league.
He climbed up the ladder at an amazing speed despite his rookie tag, to the extent that he was duly selected to attend the NFA FIFA Elite Referees Course in Windhoek in November last year. Unfortunately, the brother fell ill just two days before commencement, and never fully recovered until he finally died. Alico will be laid to rest in his hometown Otjiwarongo tomorrow morning. May his soul rest in eternal peace.
Christine Juree Rukero 1954-2021
A product of the revered St Barnabas Senior Primary School in Katutura, Juree started rattling baskets at an early age. She was the star of the school’s netball team, alongside fellow pupils Spendu Onesmus-Tjipe and Silba Kaharongo-Tjipueja, as well as a few other highly gifted netballers. She cut her teeth in competitive netball structures in the green and gold strip of ambitious OD outfit Flames Sport Club. When Flames suffered an unfortunate self-inflicted demise, Juree joined forces with Flames’ township bitter rivals African Stars, where she became the mainstay of the smooth-sailing Reds’ netball team. The uncompromising competitive goal defender also represented the Augustineum Secondary School hostel team Windhoek City during her high school days. Upon retirement from playing competitive netball with the game also slowly losing her spark, the cat-footed, light-skinned lass relocated to the coast in search of pastures green.
Ngatangue Kezumo 1950-2021
The slightly light-skinned net guard was lured to the Reds’ nest to succeed the serial error-prone Ratjindua Katjimune, who deputised for regular shot-stopper Ripuree ‘Six Fingers’ Hoveka in the fragile Red’s backline. A raw village boy, Ngatangue was battling for a starting berth with the towering butterfingered Moses ‘Cheese’ Kavikairiua.
His arrival at ‘Starlile’ coincided with the squad’s transformation from the 2nd to the 3rd generation. Though he did not enjoy much success between the sticks, the athletically-built net guard managed to keep aspiring young goalies, the pair of ‘Cheese’ and the bulky Nicklaus Njangatare Kajau, at bay during his short stint with the Reds. History reveals that Stars were always found wanting in the goalkeeping department until the inevitable arrival of agile shot stopper Asaria Ndjiva Kauami.
After being dislodged from the number one spot, Ngatangue retreated to his home village Epata near Otjinene in the vast Omaheke region. In the meantime, the serial immaculately dressed retired net guard became a noted man of the cloth until his untimely departure from earth.
Nikin-John ‘Zaza’ Cloete 1993 - 2021
Khomasdal outfit Western Suburbs Rugby Club has been dealt a major blow with the devastating sad passing of one of the club’s most promising squad members in the shape of speedy backline Niken-John ‘Zaza’ Cloete. A product of the rugby-mad Lüderitz Secondary School in Nautilus, the versatile athlete started chasing the oval ball in competitive structures in the colours of boyhood team Ocean Swallows. The multi-talented Zaza was also a formidable footballer who represented Nautilus outfit Atlantic City with flying colours. There will be a drive- through tribute for the departed God-fearing athlete at his family home in Nautilus, Lüderitz tomorrow afternoon between 15h00 and 16h00.