Without a shadow of doubt, former Tigers lethal goal poacher, the late Times Mwetuyela was one of the greatest footies ever to have graced Namibian football fields back in the day.
The left-footed ball juggler, who played as if the ball was glued to his feet, left a huge vacuum when his precious life was cut short through a mysterious short illness. May his soul continue to rest in power.
His sad passing coincided with the unavoidable departure of many of the club’s stalwarts that saw some of them skip the country into exile, whilst others hung up their boots as they were getting a bit long in the tooth. The mass exodus left ‘Ingwe’ thin in terms of playing personnel, obliging the club to promote a significant number of untried and inexperienced youngsters from the second team.
The likes of Kumi Umati, Sekulu Hipondoka, Silas Nujoma, Abnery Tobias, Metuu Hipondoka, Kido Kambangula, Bollie Kandonga, General Angala, Thomas Schmidt and Jason Kayala Haufiku were all brought on board to steer the sinking ship. Amongst the new bunch of young footies was skilful winger Ruben Khumalo, who operated mainly on the left flank, mesmerising opposing defenders with amazing dribbling skills.
In today’s edition of your favourite weekly sport feature, ‘Tales of the Legends’, New Era Sport pays a dignified tribute to Bro Ruby, as Khumalo was affectionately known amongst his teammates. The retired flying winger has sadly passed on after battling illness. May his soul rest in peace.
This author came to know Ruby during our formative years at the Katutura ‘Big Shops’, where we would converge for a kickabout in the hotly-contested three-a-side games after school. Ruby would always team up with his close buddy Six ‘Slow Poison’ and some other talented footies from the notorious police camp residential section.
It was here where many prominent footies honed their football skills at a very young age. The likes of Willem Eichab, Oscar Mengo, Bush Menjengua, Abner Tobias, Kaika Kuzee, Ben Kauejao, Gabes Haufiku, Spaghero Shikwambi, Topsen ‘Topio’ Afrikaner, Rudolf Noariseb, Bullet Hansen, Erich Muinjo, Tsotsie Afrikaner, Hunab Eichab, Makunda Namaseb and many others all graduated from these games. History reveals that Tigers were the best team in the late sixties and early 70s until the death of their talisman, Times.
Masterfully shepherded by the trident of brothers Times, Buriki Vorster, Pwiro Hangula, fellow Tsumeb homeboy Zebulon ‘Honnie’ Ochurub and the ‘Silver Fox’ Ferre Akwenye in their firing line, Ingwe were untouchable as they swept their opponents aside in brutal fashion. Stepping in the footsteps of the above-mentioned legends was not going to be an easy assignment.
And by the time multi-racial football was introduced in Apartheid South West Africa in 1977, Ingwe were not amongst the title contenders as they were made to live in the shadow of their more illustrated neighbours and traditional rivals African Stars, Black Africa and Orlando Pirates, in that sequence.
Despite the team’s fragile backline, the front-line combination of Khumalo, Tommy Schmidt, Superstar Hipondoka, Kido Kambangula, Jabulani Mpuka and General Angala caused trouble to their opponents, thus keeping the relatively weakened Donkerhoek outfit firmly in the mix of things.
Blessed with a brilliant first touch and phenomenal dribbling skills, the soft-spoken Ruby was without an iota of doubt the mainstay of Ingwe’s firing line. And although he was not a regular customer on the score-sheet, his serial perfectly-weighted deliveries from down the left wing contributed massively to General Angala’s unmatched goal-scoring tally.
Unfortunately, the likeable flying winger mysteriously disappeared from the game, never to return again whilst still at the pinnacle of his promising football career. Ruby was amongst a significant number of highly-gifted footies who never lived the course to unleash their full potential.
His equally-talented teammates, General Angala and Johannes ‘Ou Rhoo’ Booysen, also had their God-given talent totally wasted, having fallen by the wayside through matters outside football. Nevertheless, Ruby will go down in history as one of the most highly-gifted youngsters to have ever donned the sacred blue and white strip of Ingwe.
Ruby’s death follows short on the heels of club stalwarts Elliot ‘Om Paul’ Hiskia, Frans ‘Foresta’ Nicodemus, Martin ‘Buti Mari’ Veiko, Nathaniel ‘Alele’ Kapule, Paulus ‘Scalla’ Shaanika, Jeff Wangaa Mbako, Alex ‘Kanjungu Koura’ Kapenaina, Heinrich Mbumbu Ileka, astute club administrator Sadike Nepela, staunch supporter Salathiel ‘Salat’ Erastus and coach Eliphas Aupapa ‘Bazooka’ Shipanga. May their souls continue to rest in eternal peace in one piece, collectively.