Well-travelled former Eleven Arrows Football Club agile shot stopper Immanuel Mokanya Gottlieb, aka “Sparks” will go down in history as one of the finest net-guards Namibia has ever unearthed.
Despite his challenged short height for a goalie, Sparks carried the heart of the lion and his bravery made him the perfect fit between the sticks.
Nicknamed after former Orlando Pirates (SA) acrobatic gloves man Patson “Sparks” Banda, bro “Sparks” was your typical modern goalkeeper, always initiating play from the back and went onto make serious impact with leading clubs such as Orlando Pirates and Arrows’ bitter rivals Blue Waters.
A proud product of exciting Kuisebmond outfit Eleven Arrows, Sparks sent shockwaves amongst the club’s diehards when he jumped ship to join forces with the Birds – much to the chagrin of his teammates and the club’s followers.
In today’s edition of your favourite weekly sport feature, Tales of the Legends, profiling our legends, past and present – New Era Sport goes glove to glove with the lionhearted “Atlantic Seagull”.
WALVIS-BAY – Unlike many goalkeepers who became shot stoppers by default in search of action – bro “Sparks” started out as a robust fullback but his bone crunching tackles in the penalty areas was considered too risky giving unnecessary penalties away, eventually causing his team dearly.
Known by his clan name Mokanya, amongst his peers, “Sparks” was founder member of neighbourhood team Iwisa, made up of aspiring young footballers in the shape of boyhood buddies Duban Benson, Webster Shafombabi, Sam Uirab and Harari Nehoya amongst others.
However, the team was eventually dissolved in later years to make way for the unavoidable entrance of Super Stars FC, but Sparks stayed put.
“Sparks” made his debut for Arrows first team as a 15-year old in 1982 after club management altered 9wangled0 his age to 18, so that he could be eligible for registration and as they say, the rest is history.
The Kuisebmond born lad never looked back making the number on jersey at Arrows his private property.
After few sterling exploits between the sticks for the maroon and white strip outfit, bro “Sparks” caught the eyes of talent scouts from inland with Katutura giants Orlando Pirates dangling a juicy carrot in his baby face enticing him the agile shot stopper to relocate to the city of bright lights (Windhoek).
His arrival at the Ghosts coincided with Namibia’s long overdue imminent Independence from apartheid South Africa in 1990. He toured Angola for the return exhibition match against Angolan leading club Petro de Atletico in Luanda.
The two teams played out a 1-all stalemate at the packed to rafters Katutura stadium in Windhoek in the first leg but the silky Angolans turned on the lights walloping the Namibians 7-0 on home soil.
He was the first goalkeeper to represent a truly democratic Namibia when the Brave Warriors entertained Mauritius in an international friendly at Windhoek’s Independence stadium in 1990. Namibia won 10 via Forra Nicodemus’ solitary strike.
Sparks was also stationed between the goalposts when Namibia confronted Zimbabwe during Namibia’s inaugural Independence celebration ceremony, which saw the hosts being donated a decent football lesson going down 4-0.
He was amongst the first group of footballers selected by joint coaches Peter Uberjahn and Rusten Mogane to tour Germany for a training camp.
In the meantime, homesickness took the better of the agile goalie as he retreated to his native Walvis-Bay – only to resurface at Arrows archrivals Blue Waters.
His impressive resume boasts the following accolades; League title, JPS Knockout Trophy, Metropolitan Super Cup (all with Eleven Arrows) League title (Blue Waters).
Upon retirement from playing competitive football, bro “Sparks” turned into taking goalkeepers through the ropes and went onto enjoy massive success as a goal keeper mentor with various top clubs including stints with South African clubs.
He won a pair of league titles as Civics’ goalkeeper coach and added three trophies to his name with Katutura glamour football club African Stars having been roped in by former Arrows’ teammate Bobby Samaria.
Bro “Sparks” will go down in history as the first Namibian to have ever coached in any capacity in neighbouring South Africa.
The brother enjoyed successful stints with mid table PSL outfits Black Leopards and Maritzburg United, respectively – certainly no mean feat for the much travelled retried net guard.
Sparks was amongst dozen pairs of football playing brothers as he played in the same team with elder brother Zadike Gottlieb. Other well-known football playing brothers from that neck of the woods are listed hereunder;
Muatunga siblings Phello, Hanga, Koko and Phello jr, Bazooka and Lucky Shipanga, Ranga and Costa Lucas, Moripe and Riva Jakonia, Sono and Safa Shivute, Ole and Horse Tjizumaue, Daito and Manne Hagedoorn, Parri, Shopie and Giant Shekupe, Haban and Bakka Adams, Striker and Koos Muaine and course, the famous Samaria brothers Freek, Bossie, Killa, Conie and Temu.
2020-01-17 08:05:14 | 2 months ago