• June 17th, 2019
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Santos’ forgotten gloves man, the magical Marcellus Witbeen

Sport, Sports
Sport, Sports

Just as much as the Damaseb clan was Chelsea’s poster boys, several other football clubs in the domestic football set-up were also not to be outdone. Talk about coastal giants Eleven Arrows and the Samaria siblings would come to mind while Mbako was a prominent name at Tigers in the same way the Tjiheros panned out at Katutura glamour football club African Stars. One cannot talk about Otjiwarongo outfit Life Fighters without mentioning the Kuhanga brothers and cousins. Tsumeb outfit Benfica FC also had in their armoury the father and sons combination of the Uushonas. Exciting Khomasdal outfit Young Ones and the Willemse brothers were inseparable while the Portuguese-speaking De Gouveia siblings ruled the roost in Walvis Bay (Sparta). Elsewhere, the football-crazy Lopez brothers (Tsumeb) were not far behind while the Ahrens siblings also made their presence felt at predominantly German outfit SKW (Imawida). However, the football-crazy Tsumeb-born Uri-Khob siblings from Nomtsoub outfit Chief Santos come out tops as the most represented clan in the history of domestic football. Elder brother Corrie led the Uri-Khob invasion in domestic football alongside younger brothers Lawrence, Mocks (Reynecke) and Gerros while nephews Martin, aka “Voete”, Marcellus (Orde) and Ricardo added more spark to the Uri-Khob legacy. And while the nimble-footed “Voete” was arguably the most talented amongst the crop, the trident of Corrie, Gerros and Lawrence were also formidable athletes in their own right. Nonetheless, it was the acrobatic dreadlocked net guard Marcellus “Orde” Witbeen that caught the attention of football followers with some breathtaking saves. New Era Sport managed to round up the adorable soft-spoken retired gloves man as we go toe to toe, reliving his astonishing football journey in full detail. Carlos ‘CK’ Kambaekwa Tsumeb Without an iota of doubt, retired Chief Santos Football Club agile shot stopper Marcellus Witbeen, aka “Orde”, formerly known as Marcellus Reynecke, was one of the greatest net guards ever to emerge from independent Namibia. A sizable chunk of retired athletes, footballers in particular, those to whom the game of football owes a huge debt of gratitude, need some kind of acknowledgement while still breathing. A significant portion of these athletes have gone the way of all flesh while others are still around wandering aimlessly not knowing where their next piece of meal is going to come from. The dreadlocked goalie arrived on the football scene as an unknown youngster when the Max Johnson-coached exciting Nomtsoub Santos swept their more fancied opponents aside to book a place in the final of the second edition of the newly introduced Windhoek Lager NFA Cup, the equivalent of the English FA Cup, in 1991. The youthful Copper Town lads locked horns with pre-tournament favourites Blue Waters at the neutral Windhoek Independence Stadium. And as widely expected, the coastal side took what looked like an unassailable lead but the Northerners had other ideas. Inspired by sharp shooting lanky forward Gerros Uri-Khob, uncle to Orde – Santos staged a dramatic comeback forcing the match into a stalemate after an eight-goal thriller. And though Gerros was the arguably standout hero for the orange and green strip outfit – it was indeed the heroics of dreadlocked shot stopper “Orde” that kept Santos in the game. Santos’ performance was like a breath of fresh air for domestic topflight football with a talented squad of star young footballers such as Gerros “Bomber” Witbeen, Lesley “Luckey” Kakuva, Anderson Armstrong and Engel Johnson, ably complemented by the presence of cool as a cucumber football playing centre back Puli Subeb. Against all odds, the Copper Town lads claimed a well-deserved famous victory in the replay to dethrone inaugural champions Black Africa in fine style. Once again, it was all due to the near faultless display by “The Cat” between the sticks. At the time, Namibia has just gained her democracy from apartheid South Africa (SA) in 1990 and national selectors had a nasty habit of deliberately ignoring talented footballers from outside the city of lights (Windhoek). However, the Santos goalie was in devastating form thus leaving the national selectors with no other choice than to call him up. History reveals that Orde was the first goalkeeper to represent a truly democratic Namibia at international level when he kept goal against Lesotho in an international friendly in Maseru. The usually easy-going acrobatic goalie marched on to lay his hands three more times on the coveted NFA Cup in 1998,1999 and 2000. His heroics between the sticks propelled Santos to their first league title triumph in independent Namibia in 1993. As it turned out, perseverance finally paid off as the likeable acrobatic net guard was handsomely rewarded for his heroics between the sticks with a national team call-up. The dreadlocked goalie finally made his long overdue competitive debut for the senior national football side, the Brave Warriors, in the 4-0 thrashing at the hands of Chipopolo (Zambia) in the 1994 FIFA World Cup qualifier at Windhoek’s Independence Stadium in 1993. He would go on to represent his native land internationally at club level when his team (Santos) competed in the highly competitive continental CAF Club Cup against Botswana’s LCS Gunners over two legs in 1994. The dreadlocked goalie, a noted guitarist, also played against the visiting Angolan side Segrada in the CAF Club competition. Orde won almost anything there was to be won in the domestic football set-up, ranging from league multiple cup victories to a pair of league titles, Metropolitan and Castle Classic Cups. As the oldest squad member, Orde was rewarded with the captain armband by the club he served with honour and distinction over a long period. His last competitive match was against the Grootfontein Defence Force team, which ended in a 2-1 victory for the Nomtsoub outfit at the age of 40. The reliable Santos’ last line of defence boasts two league medals having won the coveted Premiership title in the 1993 and 2003/2004 seasons. He still plays the odd game but says he does not have the time to concentrate fully on football as he is building a career in the dog-eat-dog industry of live music performance.
New Era Reporter
2018-04-20 10:34:12 1 years ago

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