He took a bow from the game of life just three days after celebrating his 60th birthday, Seth Boois’ untimely departure has left the entire football fraternity bereft of a multi-talented national asset and rare role model.
Surely, Matabatse still had a great deal to offer to the beautiful game of football and the broader community as well, had death not struck.
Namibian football and the Damara Traditional Authority will certainly miss the humility and joy of a life in which Mataba conducted himself during his illustrious career as a footballer, boxer, coach, author and historian, ultimately inspiring those who came to know him up close.
Without a shadow of doubt, the untimely death of Mataba leaves an unpleasant dark chapter in the history of domestic football and Black Africa Sport Club in particular. New Era Sport salutes this great man of substance for the extraordinary work he has accomplished in an amazing life journey that has unfortunately ended prematurely. A committed true son of the soil is no more, but Matabatsa’s legacy will forever remain entrenched in the memories of those he had worked with. “Bro Bucksy”, you may be gone to be reunited with your ancestors but your legacy will not be forgotten. Until we meet again in heaven, May your soul rest easy brother man.
It has never been an easy task to pay a fitting tribute to a close acquaintance who has gone West. Nonetheless, the author has accepted the tough challenge of being the designated voice of the pastime game we all have come to fall in love with, the beautiful game of football.
Well, it took a while to gather enough courage to lay bare the unscripted life journey of “Bro Mataba” as I would always call him.
Born in Otjiwarongo in 1960, Matabatse came to the city of bright lights (Windhoek) to further his educational aspirations at the revered Augustineum High School in the late seventies.
A natural left-footed fullback, young Mataba joined a hostel team going by the name of Sorento Bucks, having previously played for boyhood Orwetoveni outfit Orlando Tigers FC.
Apart from football he was also a noted boxer who excelled in the industry of trading leather in the boxing ring during the hotly contested inter-schools competitions. His arrival in Namibia’s commercial city coincided with transformation taking centre stage at Black Africa Football Club.
The Katutura giants embarked upon an aggressive mission of squad overhaul, recruiting a significant number of young footballers to bolster an ageing squad. Matabatsa was brought to the Gemengde outfit by his school buddy Rusten Mogane.
And even though his style of play did not inspire the confidence of the neutral fan, the brother just happened to strike gold for being at the right place and right moment as he was bedded in a very good side made up of highly gifted exceptional athletes.
Whereas he lacked pace, compounded by fairly limited ball skills as opposed to the rest of his celebrated teammates, Mataba made it up with sheer dedication, aggression, hard work complemented by tight man marking ability... and Oh Boy, the brother could mark the hell out of marauding strikers.
Back in the day, left-footed footballers were a scarce commodity. Matabatse was like manna sent from heaven as he perfectly fitted the bill, ultimately bringing balance to an otherwise smooth-sailing locomotive. Having won almost every available silverware there was to be won in domestic football competitions, Mataba’s fairy tale football journey came to an abrupt end when he fell foul of the referee’s crime sheet.
BA were up against Katutura bitter rivals Orlando Pirates in a traditional derby at the old Katutura stadium. The Ghosts’ serial troublesome stocky striker Jordan “Jorries” Afrikaner was his usual self giving his designated opponent (Mataba) a MOER of a headache.
On a lighter note, “Bucksy” could no longer stomach the embarrassment and humiliation via the tiny feet of Jorries’ trickery. So he pulled out a nasty trick from his boxing instincts.
The brother temporarily laced his boxing gloves and floored the pocket-sized goal poacher with a vicious right hook that would have left the great Harry Simon green with envy.
The referee would have none of that and rightly pointed to the penalty spot before giving the furious weary-looking fullback his marching orders.
Never mind the setback, being the brave man he always was, the football-crazy Matabatse was not to be entirely lost to the game he loved so dearly. He resurfaced as head coach of his beloved BA.
Matabatse was one of a very few highly qualified football coaches in the business and went on to enjoy massive success with BA. In 2000, he was deservedly elevated to the Brave Warriors hot seat, succeeding his trusted buddy and former BA teammate Rusten Mogane as head coach.
Matabatse hit the ground running as he led an under-strength Warriors amateurs to fashion an impressive 1-all draw against Zambia away in Lusaka. He was later appointed the first NFA Technical Director (TD).
And off the pitch, Matabatsa authored a pair of books detailing the institutional memory of Namibian football. An uncompromising devoted historian, Matabatsa was very much hands on in promoting and documenting the Damara culture and heritage.