At times, one wonders what Namibian football would have been had Danzyl Bruwer not been born. The charismatic Khomasdal-born purple-haired acrobatic shot-stopper is doubtlessly one of the country’s most colourful athletes of his generation. Apart from plying his trade with some of the finest football teams campaigning in the domestic topflight league, Young Ones, African Stars and Civics, Denna as Denzyl also enjoyed professional status in the highly-competitive stinking-rich South African Professional Soccer League (PSL) during an often somewhat wobbling football career. The retired Brave Warriors net guard was the go-to man during his time with the all-conquering Warriors side. The much-travelled agile gloves man made it his soul beat to usher newcomers into the system, albeit via unimaginable scary measures, to say the least.
Growing up in the slightly affluent Khomasdal township, Denna was like many other boys his age: football crazy and would play the game at the slightest provocation.
As a strongly built young boy, Denna’s mobility was slightly restricted as an outfield footballer and was obliged to shift between the sticks.
He started playing competitive football at a very tender age with exciting Khomasdal outfit Young Ones, generally known as the “Kings at Night”, deputising regular starter Reus Nortje.
Denna quickly rose the prominence fashioning outstanding performances week in and week out, dislodging the bulky Nortje from the number one spot.
Aged 22, Denna received his first international call up to the Brave Warriors but had to play second fiddle to first-choice goalies Ronnie Kanalelo and Tiro Tlhabanello.
He finally moved up the pecking order when Kanalelo vacated the Warriors’ nest to take up permanent residence in South Africa that would allow him the freedom to be registered as a local player.
He made his international debut for the Brave Warriors at the fairly young age of 22 against Zambia’s Chipopolo away in Lusaka, earning the prestigious man of the man accolade.
A rare breed, the much-adored charismatic net guard was a fearless shot-stopper who excelled in stopping marauding strikers rights in their tracks on one on one situations.
Denna was equally great in stopping spot-kicks and went on to make the number one jersey his personal property. He claimed another man of the match award against the Super Eagles on Nigeria in the Afcon qualifier at Windhoek’s Independence stadium.
What made Denna special was his amazing ball distribution playing out from the ball launching dangerous counter-attacks from the back, which sometimes resulted in goals at the opposite end.
His near faultless displays did not go unnoticed, as he was snapped up by South Africa’s second-tier outfit Avondale Athletico in the mother city (Cape Town).
His next stop was the upper-tier league, where he joined PSL giants Bidvest Wits University alongside compatriots Wire Shipanga and Rhoo Gariseb.
In the meantime, he continued to make his presence felt at the international arena with the Brave Warriors but there was another side to his football playing career.
Being one of the most senior squad members, Denna took it upon himself to usher new young players into the system.
He once jokingly advised new players who had never been on an aeroplane against placing orders for meals and beverages on long flights as it was ostensibly very expensive, notwithstanding standard practice that provides meals free of charge on commercial flights. That was Bro Denna for you!
Denna found himself back in familiar territory when another PSL outfit Ajax Cape Town FC came knocking on the door for his signature. He signed for the ambitious mother city outfit Cape Town and as they say, the rest is history.
Goalkeeping runs in the veins of the Bruwers, as younger brother Melvyn Bruwer was also a formidable shot-stopper with Pionierspark outfit Ramblers FC.
Such was Denna’s influence that he was bestowed with the Brave Warriors’ captain armband. He also claimed the most improved player of the year award in 1997, best sportsman of the year award 2000, and was also best player of the year for Young Ones the same season as skipper.
Upon retirement from competitive football, the charismatic jolly goalie, turned his hand into the entertainment industry that saw him become a much-sought-after radio presenter and event announcer.
And who says there’s no life after football, Denna is also a self-made businessman and is the sole owner of New Season Investment cc. A much-adored community activist, Denna is also heavily involved in the operations of road passengers transport.