RIP Ruby Kamulu, football legend takes a bow from game of life 1945 – 2019
As a football-crazy youngster, the author had the privilege of watching exciting Swakopmund outfit Atlanta Chiefs Football Club in action during dozens of matches in the popular knockout cup tournaments at the old Katutura stadium in the late sixties. What struck me most was a light-skinned bow-legged midfielder who was all over the field, dishing out telling passes, marking and shooting from range with both feet. The Chiefs all-rounder was none other than Ruben Kamulu, aka “Ruby”.
The Mondesa-based versatile midfielder would also occasionally feature for Walvis Bay outfit Blue Waters FC as a much sought-after guest player.
Arguably one of the finest footballers of his generation, Ruby was your modern box-to-box midfielder. Sadly, the brother has succumbed to death after losing a long battle with ill health.
His death follows short on the heels of another Chiefs’ great Issascar Vezeperauina Kamara, who had gone west, earlier this month.
WINDHOEK - Possessing a big engine, the tireless midfield general going by the name of Ruben Kamulu announced his presence in domestic football when he was fast-tracked into the Central Invitational Eleven against the visiting Kaizer Eleven, in 1969.
The newly formed Soweto outfit, spearheaded by a strongly built left-footed forward Kaizer Motaung wearing number 24, ran rings around their opponents, emerging comfortable winners in their opening pair of matches on Saturday.
The embarrassing scoreline obliged match organizers to go tip-toeing down to sea level to fetch the Chiefs pair of Ruby and his equally dangerous Chiefs teammate Hermann “Pele” Blaschke for reinforcements.
The boys from the Atlantic Ocean taught the visitors a football lesson and were chief ball suppliers when goal-scoring machine Ishmael “Lemmy Special Mabaso” Narib’s double brace sent the visitors packing for a personal tally of twelve goals in three matches.
Motaung and his travelling entourage had seen enough and resolved to dangle a juicy carrot in the faces of the devastating trident of Kamulu, Blaschke and Narib.
And whilst Blaschke and Narib responded positively, Ruby would have none of that, resolving to stay put. His stubbornness cost him a lifetime opportunity to turn professional.
Nonetheless, Ruby went on to represent his motherland in neigbouring South Africa with the strong South West Africa (SWA) Bantu Eleven against local provincial teams. He played in all matches during the marathon South African safari that lasted almost two months in 1968.
The Times Mwetuyela-inspired SWA Amateurs rang rings around the hapless Combined South African Police/Army Invitational Eleven in Bloemfontein and were six goals to the good in the opening thirty minutes.
The agitated cops stopped the match and instructed their fired-up opponents to only take shots at goal from the halfway line or from their own half to minimise the damage.
As if this were not enough, the visitors were reduced to ball boys as they were ordered in no uncertain terms to collect all stray balls for corners, throw-ins and goal kicks even if the restart was in favour of the hosts. Ruby also represented the strong Western Invitational Eleven on numerous occasions.
His former teammate the late Pele Blaschke always spoke highly of the bow-legged all-rounder, describing him as one of the best footballers he had ever played with, apart from his former Kaizer Chiefs teammate and Toronto Blizzards (Canada) teammate, the great Ace Ntsoelengoe.
Ruby was the chief architect when Mondesa outfit Atlanta Chiefs confronted hosts Etosha Lions and took them to the cleaners in exhibition matches, staged in Tsumeb in 1969.
The Nomtsoub outfit, under the stewardship of the late lanky football guru Herbert Conradie, had just ushered in former Orlando Pirates ball wizard Percy “Chippa” Moloi to take the ambitious club through the ropes.
Moloi was obliged to exchange players from both teams the next day in an effort to balance things but it was still the devastating combination of Ruby and Pele that won the hearts of the neutral football fan in the Copper Town.
He masterminded Blue Waters’ hard-fought 3-2 victory against arch rivals Eleven Arrows in the final of the annual Coastal Cup (Kus Beker) in 1968.
Ruby was spoken of in the same breath as coastal greats Gabes ‘Flying Fish” Mupupa, Tommy Ushona, Nangi Nickel, Haban Adams, Titus Shilongo, Laurentious “Daito” Hagedoorn, Axarob Doeseb, Pwiro Angula, Ivo de Gouveia, Bernard da Costa Philemon, Carlos de Gouveia, Lawrence “Zondi” Amadhila, Sammy “The Blonde Bomber” Alfheim, Ronnie Dagnin, Johannes “Storm” Khom-Khaiseb, Heinrich Horongo Haufiku, Linus “Bossie” Samaria, Don Renzke, Samuel “Bonnetti” Niilenge, Tete Kangameni, Herbert “Shorty” Lohmeir, Straal Auchumeb, Kaningandu Masilo, Alphews Gaweseb, Ranga Lucas, Julius “Manne” Hagedoorn, Maximus “Max” Elago, Abraham “Apere” Shikololo and other exceptional footballers from that neck of the woods.
Bro Ruby might be gone to be reunited with his ancestors but his football legacy will remain entrenched in the memories of those who have watched him bewitch football opponents during his heyday.
2019-08-30 08:54:51 17 days ago