Titus ‘Oom Ty’ Shilongo
Coastal outfit Blue Waters Football Club are known for dishing out a different brand of football on the playing field since its formation in Apartheid South West Africa (SWA). The Kuisebmond side has in the past produced among the finest footballers in the business and testimony to this is the large contingent of players representing both Western Invitational Eleven and the South West Africa (SWA) Provincial Bantu team. When the Beatles pop band front man Paul McCartney composed the hit song Blue Bird, the Liverpudlian must certainly have had Blue Waters’ utility fullback-cum-midfielder Titus Shilongo, famously known as ‘Oom Ty’ amongst his vast circle of admirers, in mind. The stocky playmaker is one of very few squad members of the blue and white strip that has seen it all, overseeing several generations at the seasiders.
Carlos ‘CK’ Kambaekwa
Retired Blue Waters Football Club stalwart Titus Shilongo, aka “Oom Ty”, used to be a no-nonsense versatile top-class defender-cum-midfielder who skippered the coastal giants during his heyday. The stocky playmaker was blessed with amazing pace, phenomenal first touch, impeccable timing and anticipation.
“Oom Ty”, as Titus Shilongo was affectionately known amongst the Birds’ ardent followers, joined the exciting Kuisebmond outfit at the beginning of the 1960’s and was later installed as the club’s official captain.
Sporting his traditional Elvis Presley hairstyle (kuif) “Oom Ty” was part of the handful of footballers who remained put when a sizable chunk of the squad personnel abandoned the ship in search of pastures green.
The defectors went on to establish what would become the Birds’ bitter rivals Eleven Arrows Football Club in 1961. The newly formed team would in later years become an unwelcome thorn in the flesh of Blue Waters.
The mass exodus of Blue Waters’ players to Arrows left a massive void and headache to the leadership of Blue Waters, leaving the team with only eight players, three short of the required number of eleven players on the pitch.
This unfortunate scenario made it extremely difficult for the team to function properly. Amongst the defectors were club blue-eyed boy Tommy Uushona, Heinrich Horongo Haufiku, Gabriel “Flying Fish’ Mupupa, Lefa Kaifwana and many others.
Nonetheless, under the mantle of the uncompromising “Oom Ty”, the Birds managed to weather the storm and went on an aggressive recruitment drive bringing in a significant number of young footballers.
The young boys descended on the booming industrialised coastal town in search of decent job opportunities upon completing their secondary education at the revered Augustineum High School in Windhoek.
Prominent northern businessman the late Oscar Norich-Tjahuha, and well known socialite Charles Kauraisa, arrived from African Stars while Tigers football playing central defender Tiwes Mbako was also amongst the new recruits.
The Birds regained their prominence when the new-look side won the Nangula Cup in September 1964, under the captaincy of “Oom Ty” by dispatching the star-studded St Joseph’s Secondary School (Dobra) in a hotly contested final.
Technically excellent and hard-working, the versatile midfielder was deservedly rewarded for his near faultless display on the field of play when he was included in the South West Africa (SWA) Provincial Bantu Eleven that toured Northern Transvaal and Natal respectively, in neighbouring South Africa in 1965.
In the meantime, “Oom Ty” sent shockwaves amongst the club’s diehards when he left his beloved Blue Waters to join forces with traditional rivals Tigers Football Club in the city of bright lights (Windhoek).
However, the unquenchable urge for the feel of the freezing Atlantic Ocean was too much to bear. The likable versatile midfield maestro packed his bags and hurriedly retreated to his native town to rejoin his beloved Birds, having won few knockout cup tournaments during his somewhat abbreviated stint with Ingwe.
The prodigal son continued from where he had left off in the Birds’ nest and quickly regained his status as the club’s trusted leader.
He always led from the front and even though he was deployed as a deep lying midfielder, a phenomenal ball carrier, the seemingly tireless “Oom Ty” would occasionally also weigh in with the crucial odd goal whenever the situation demanded.
A highly committed and disciplined athlete, ‘Oom Ty” was a determined athlete second to none. He would bravely challenge the desert dunes as part of his regular training routine.
His amazing match fitness allowed him to conquer the game much longer than many of his peers. He was an exemplary leader and well respected by his teammates, young and old.
No player in the history of domestic football has ever cruised on such an amazing marathon run as an active squad member, overseeing so many different generations at different intervals with the same club as the one and only Uncle Titus Shilongo.
Upon his retirement from competitive football, “Oom Ty” served his boyhood club as president and was the longest-serving president in the history of the Birds. Despite his fairly advanced age, the god-fearing elegant retired Bird is still very much active in social activities and is a committed churchgoer.
A real town man of civilized standards, “Oom Ty” would be regularly spotted watering and paying great attention to his well-decorated spotless beautiful garden at his posh residence in Park Road. The joint is suffocated in the compact Independence residential area for affluent darkies in the heart of Kuisebmond.
Unlike many footballers of his generation who have gone off the rails after falling into the unfortunate trap of poverty, struggling to make ends meet upon their retirement, “Oom Ty” appears to have made some wise investments and is comfortably enjoying the fruits of his hard work in his home straight on Mother Earth.