The now defunct exciting coastal outfit Explorer Eleven Football Club will go down in history as arguably one of the most entertaining football playing teams in domestic football.
The black & red-stripped Kuisebmond outfit unearthed a sizeable number of great athletes, jealously shepherded by strongly built attacking midfielder, one Johannes “Storm” Khom-Khaiseb.
The latter was ably complimented by the equally dangerous midfield pairing of Landen Levy Festus, Japhta and the ball juggling Milla Gertze with deadly striker Bandi Namaseb completing the spine of the star-studded lineup.
Its common knowledge that the late Samuel Doeseb and beanpole defender Hellao Naruseb faultlessly manned the rearguard with yet to be matched coolness, reminiscent of now retired Nottingham Forest and Sheffield Wednesday’s cool as a cumber football playing centre -back Des Walker.
While Atlantic Oceaners also had in their armoury diminutive tricky winger Alfons “Juluka” Doeseb, in the end none other than the Goagoseb twins Gustaf and Japhta, aka ‘Pele’ caught the eye of the neutral football follower.
Sadly, the latter has taken a bow from the game of life, thus obliging New Era Sport to ink a fitting tribute in honour of the small frame “Warrior” with the big engine.
WINDHOEK – Namibian football has in the past produced a significant number of football playing twins teaming up alongside each other in the country’s topflight football league with the Katupose twins, Muna and Tara, arguably the most visible in the modern era.
However, the deadly Haosamab twins Paul and Peter were the most recognizable in the business back in the day tormenting opposing defenders with brutal attacking flair and ball skills yet to be replicated in modern times.
The twins played for Khorixas outfit Robber Chanties FC and would occasionally also don the black and white strip of youthful Nau-Aib outfit (Okahandja) Battle Boys.
The list is endless, and whilst the only known pair of twins featuring in the stinking rich South African Professional Soccer League (PSL) were the Winstanley siblings Ivan and Neil, former Manchester United fullback Phil Neville’s twin sister Tracy Neville was a noted athlete wearing the captain’s armband for her native country’s senior netball team the “England Roses” with distinction.
Back home, the Simon twins Dangi and Ileni entertained crowds with Premiership giants Benfica and African Stars respectively.
Across town in the affluent Olympia residential area, holed up south of Namibia’s commercial hub Windhoek, German outfit Sport Klub Windhoek (SKW) aka “Immer Wieder’ also boasted its own set of twins in the shape of the Duvel brothers Gero and Kurt.
The coastal town of Walvis-Bay will always be best remembered for its uniqueness with its inhabitants’ different style of life as opposed to their inland counterparts.
Tribalism is something that never crossed the mind of “Baainaars” as they went about the daily business unhindered. Born in the harbour town of Walvis-Bay on the 31st of October 1964, like truly identical twins - the Goagoseb siblings were inseparable from day one and would be seen glued together in whatever activities they got themselves into.
Their football career started off in the popular social league modeled on South African teams with almost the entire teams adopting names of their favourite teams from across the Orange River.
“That was the only time we went separate ways, my brother was playing for Amazulu while I turned out for Iwisa Kaizer Chiefs,” recalls Pele’s teary other half Gustaf, also known as “Fire” amongst his teammates during an emotional telephonic interview with New Era Sport earlier this week.
The terrible twins joined local club Explorer Eleven FC aged 18, and immediately slotted in like a glove on hands in the star-studded line up. Despite their small frames, both players were very competitive and it was no surprise when the pair nailed permanent starting spots in the team.
Their arrival at the Kuisebmond outfit coincided with the team’s unavoidable entrance into the newly formed[at the time] breakaway football league, the Namibia Super Soccer League (NSSL).
The rebel league was called into life when the country’s leading teams spearheaded by the Katutura Big Four African Stars, Black Africa, Orlando Pirates and Tigers broke ties with the competitive Central Football League (CFA) to form a more competitive national football league.
Coastal giants Blue Waters and Eleven Arrows were roped in while Benfica and Chelsea also joined the fray to complete the 12-team football league.
Ironically, players campaigning for these rebel teams were frozen out from selection to the national team. Nonetheless, this did not dent the determination of the teams as the league gained prominence by drawing large crowd to their matches.
Despite the boycott by local authorities denying the tams access to playing facilities in Municipal areas – the teams persevered as the league grew in stature and it came as no surprise when the number of teams shot up the following season.
Explorer Eleven (coast) Chief Santos (north, emerging central giants Hungry Lions and Young Ones also joined the fray to enjoy their day in the sun in the elite football league in 1986.
In only their second season in the top flight football league – Storm Khom-Khaiseb’s inspired Explorer Eleven surprised all and sundry when against all odds staked against them reached the final of the lucrative Novel Ford Cup to set up a mouthwatering clash against Katutura giants Orlando Pirates at the Windhoek Show Grounds.
The Goagoseb twins played a pivotal role during the team’s knockout stages steering the coastal side to the final. With home ground advantage and favorable refereeing decisions weighing heavily in their favour, Pirates emerged 3-1 victors.
Back home in Walvis-Bay, Explorer made the Kuisebmond stadium their traditional fortress and many visiting teams dreaded going toe-to-toe with the Explorers there. The squad boasted arguably the finest midfield combination in the business, stylishly led by evergreen Storm, Mila, Levy-Festus and the late Japhta.
Needless to note that Explorer Eleven were without a shadow of doubt the most exciting football teams to watch with midfield general, the silky Mila Gertze, pulling the strings in the middle of the park with amazing unimaginable authority.
Sadly, the pride of Kuisebmond undertook the dangerous path of the dinosaur as they got relegated to the lower division in 1989 alongside fellow debutants Hungry Lions FC.
And as fate would dictate, that signaled the unfortunate end of the football crazy Goagoseb twin’s further flirtation with the spherical object.
Strictly one club men, the Goagoseb twins will go down in the folklore of Namibian football as great athletes, admired and adored by those who came to know them up close including the author.
Pele, my brutjie my bra, go well my Aotie - until we meet again in heaven. May your soul rest in eternal peace in one piece.