Supporters of Tigers Sport Club and the entire Namibian football fraternity in general woke up to the devastating news of the sad passing of club stalwart Martin Weiko, elder brother of another football icon Johnny Weiko. “Buti Mari”, as the soft-spoken calculated fullback was generally known amongst his circle of friends, arrived at “Ingwe” in the early 70’s from unfashionable Nomtsoub, Tsumeb outfit Red Bees Football Club.
He was amongst dozens of football playing brothers turning out for the Donkerhoek outfit alongside the Mbako brothers, Nandos, Tives, Chaka and Ringo, Ferre and Onesmus Akwenye, Sisingi and Oom Paul Hiskia, Pwiro Hangula, Burikie Vorster and Times Mwetuyela, Grey and Kumi Umati, the Hipondoka siblings Sekulu and Metuu, Berro and Jerry Tobias, Uushona and Oscar Hiskia, Lucky and Teenage Iyambo, just to name a few.
History reveals that Katutura giants and the country’s oldest sport entity Tigers Football Club dominated domestic football in the 60’s and early 70’s.
Spearheaded by the dangerous left-footed dribbling wizard, the late Timotheus “Times” Mwetuyela alongside homeboy Zebulon “Honnie” Ochurub, younger brother Kapuii Angula and the slippery Ferdinand Akwenye, “Ingwe” were an absolute marvel to watch.
Like many young athletes at the time, a significant chunk of Tigers’ playing personnel had stints with coastal giants Blue Waters at different intervals.
The likes of Tives Mbako, Titus Shilongo, Kapuii Hangula, Boy-Boy Ndjadila, Bakka Adams, Lohmeir Angula, Berro and Jerry Tobias, Vincent “Botsotso” Hermann and many others all donned the foam and navy colours of both teams.
Born in Aus in the southern part of the country in 1947, “Buti Mari” started out for hometown (Tsumeb) where he joined unfashionable Nomtsoub outfit Red Bees. He found himself surrounded by football greats Albert Louw and Urbanus Kauru Billhawer.
His former Tigers teammate, centre back partner and football guru Elliot Oom Paul Hiskia describes the departed “Buti Mari” as a committed teammate and great man of substance who loved football.
“He was a much disciplined dude, always threw his body on the line for the team; Martin was the kind of athlete who always put the team ahead of personal glory. He loved football so much that he barely missed training sessions.
“I took him under my wing when he arrived at Tigers from Blue Waters and was even his best man when he tied the knot with his sweetheart Magdalena,” says the bearded retired football administrator.
Back in the day, hundreds of manual labourers from the northern part of then South West Africa (SWA - Namibia) descended en masse on the freezing village town of Aus in search of greener pastures constructing the railway that linked Keetmanshoop to Lüderitzbucht.
A no-nonsense defender, “Buti Mari” was a pillar of strength, marshalling the Birds’ defence with great maturity and confidence. It thus came as no surprise when “Ingwe” came knocking on his door for his services to relocate to the city of bright lights (Windhoek).
His arrival at the exciting Donkerhoek outfit coincided with a major squad overhaul with some of the old guard having gotten a bit long in the tooth.
Apart from former Blue Waters teammate Tives Mbako, Elliot Paul Hiskia and Nandos Mbako, “Buti Mari” was amongst many of the senior squad members mentoring a new generation of young footballers led by Grey Umati, Chaka Mbako, Kido Kambangula, Kayala Haufiku, Scalla Shaanika, Brown Amwenye.
Though he finished his playing career at “Ingwe”, it was indeed at Blue Waters where Buti Mari achieved high profile accolades, winning several silverware there was to be won. “Buti Mari” will be laid to rest at the Pionierspark cemetery, south of the Windhoek CBD tomorrow morning. Mourners are urged to arrive on time for the customary pre-funeral rituals at home at 1227 Augeikas Street at 09h00.
The burial will be preceded by a memorial service at the Evangelical Lutheran, Katutura (Effesiers) Macedonia Church this afternoon at 18h00. “Buti Mari” leaves behind his spouse Magdalena (79), and pair of sons Allan (46) and Dino Weiko (36). May his soul rest easy.