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Home / Remembering the great “Desert Express” Petrus “Haban” Adams 1948 – 1977

Remembering the great “Desert Express” Petrus “Haban” Adams 1948 – 1977

2018-11-30  Carlos Kambaekwa

Remembering the great “Desert Express” Petrus “Haban” Adams 1948 – 1977

The lethal combination of Namib Woestyn’s quartet of Laurentius “Daito” Hagedoorn, Haban Adams, Axarob Doeseb and Straal Auchumeb, is up to this day hailed by credible football pundits as the deadliest striking force in the history of domestic football.

The foursome used to bamboozle defenders with amazing speed, ferocious shooting, arrogantly complimented by unbelievable ball skill and clinical finishing second to none, making the “Desert Boys” the most feared football team in the business.

However, none of the dangerous quartet caught the attention of the neutral football fan than the light skinned stocky winger, one Petrus Haban Adams, elder brother to former Blue Waters’ overlapping fullback, the late Bakka Adams. May their collective soul rest in peace.

Despite his lack of height, Haban was Godly blessed with an astonishing football brain that defied his tiny frame as he cut through robust defenses with ease like a sharp ‘Okapi”  slicing through a piece of hot cheese.
In today’s edition of your favourite weekly sport feature Tales of the Legends, profiling our sports heroes and heroines, past and present – New Era Sport posthumously revisit the untold football journey of this phenomenal football, known as Haban Adams.


WALVIS-BAY – The year 1969, will go down in history as the season when local football finally woke up from the wilderness. 

To be precise, this was the year when the visiting Kaizer Eleven from Johannesburg, South Africa touched down at the Eros Airport for a number of exhibition football matches against regional invitational teams that included the star-studded Central Eleven, Black Marocco Chiefs (BMC) representing the North and of course, the exciting Western Invitational Eleven.

Back in the day, South West Africa (SWA) to be re-baptized Namibia in the intervening years upon the country’s democracy in 1990 was forcefully and regrettably pencil as the 5th Province of Apartheid South Africa, much to the disgust of her defiant militant indigenous inhabitants.

Unfortunately, the partly semi desert enclave was made to live in the shadow of her more celebrated sister provinces, Transvaal, Natal, Free State and the Cape Province. 

Sports wise, the country’s athletes would be compelled to compete in South Africa’s second tier gatherings while the minority whites were enjoying more privileges, notably in the oval ball discipline (rugby) which propelled iconic flank, the great Jan Ellis, to earn Springbok colours with distinction.

And while the minority whites were disgustingly afforded preferential treatment in whatever area of social activities they ventured into, marginalized darkies were confined to the beautiful game of football as a sense of belonging to while away time.

Football became a much practice and well respected religion in all corners of the country, it became the staple food of the body and soul of every black child in the dusty streets of their respective locations and poorly constructed residential areas.

With no organized football structures in place, clubs would travel long and challenging distances between towns to compete fiercely in knockout cup tournaments in various towns such as Walvis-Bay, Tsumeb, Keetmanshoop, Mariental, Windhoek, Okahandja, Otjiwarongo, Swakopmund, Omaruru, Gobabis, Karibib, Otavi, Grootfontein and Outjo as well as engaging in exhibition matches against local clubs in Upington and Kimberly in neighbouring South Africa.      

It was during those particular tourneys that coastal outfit Namib Woestyn would announce their arrival in domestic football via an exciting brand of football never experienced before in local football.

The gold and green Walvis-Bay outfit was a marvel to watch and people would flock through the turnstiles to watch the team in action. 

Namib Woestyn’s firing line was without a shadow of doubt the main attraction and who will ever forget that freezing Saturday afternoon when the Desert Boys arrived in Windhoek to confront the equally dangerous Ishmael ‘Lemmy Special’ Narib’s inspired Orlando Pirates in the final of the Yoko Team Cup.

The two teams clashed at the adjacent gravel field at the old Katutura stadium to fight it out for supremacy in the much anticipated delayed semifinal, which was stood over after ill-fated match in Keetmanshoop.
Tension was at boiling point going into the eagerly awaited clash of the titans with sharp objects hidden in the visiting players’ socks for fear of intimidation and possible physical assault. 

With the score line leveled at 1-all and the match destined for a stalemate with the dreaded penalty shout out looming – up stepped Haban to put the seasiders ahead with a trademark clinical strike (2-1).

Pirates’ winger Willem Eichab, did not take kindly to Haban’s strike and kicked the pocket size winger in frustration – pandemonium broke loose with both sets of players manhandling each other until darkness set in. 
The ugly fracas led to the unavoidable postponement of the match with both teams agreeing to have the match replayed in the city of bright lights (Windhoek) to cut traveling costs since the remaining teams in the tourney were all from Windhoek and Walvis-Bay respectively.

Sadly, the boys from the Atlantic Ocean lost the replay 4-1 with the Ghosts pair of Eichab and his serial partner in crime Daniel Koopman in devastating form on that particular day. Though Haban was tightly marked by the robust Buccaneers fullback Mathews “Ou Growwes” Namaseb, the diminutive winger was still at his best as he bamboozled the Ghosts’ rear guard – only to be let down by his down hearted co-strikers who were clearly playing at a pedestrian pace. Pirates won the replay 4-1 to book a spot in the final against Eleven Arrows. 

Despite the setback, Namib Woestyn continued to entice football followers through the turnstiles with their exciting brand of football earning the Desert Boys the admiration of the neutral fan wherever the team featured. 

Such was the club’s dominance in domestic competitions that whenever a Coastal Invitational Eleven was assembled – the team would be considered incomplete without the presence of a decent presentation from the Namib Express.
Woestyn supplied the bulk of players in the Coastal Invitational Eleven when the team faced the visiting Kaizer Eleven in 1969. The club had five players to be precise, in the starting lineup spearheaded by Haban Adams, Axarob Doeseb, Eddy Cloete, Akino Garoeb and Lala Lombard. 

Even though the hastily assembled coastal invitational side lost 3-0, the boys from the Atlantic Ocean made a serious statement against the South Africa professionals with the trickery Haban running rings around the visitors’ defense.  
 Sadly, as fate would have it – the adorable flying winger’s life was cut short aged 29, while still at the pinnacle of his flourishing football career. Haban succumbed from a chronic asthma ailment. May his soul rest in peace.    

2018-11-30  Carlos Kambaekwa

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