The fairytale football journey of forgotten “Football Monster” Hage Geingob, aka “Samora Khulu”
When the now defunct Hungry Lions Football Club arrived in high spirits in the Copper town of Tsumeb for the National Super Soccer League (NSSL) assignment with hosts Chief Santos in 1986 – football pundits expected the Lions of Judah to steamroll their opponents on the back of a 2-0 league win over Chelsea the day before. The Katutura outfit went into the match high on confidence, having beaten Santos 1-0 via Justice Basson’s strike in a hotly contested final of a knockout cup final, at the SKW field in Windhoek in the last encounter between the two teams.However, Santos had in their firing line an unknown strongly built forward going by the name of Khulu Geingob. The muscular bearded forward almost single handedly destroyed the visiting team, bombarding the defence with a brutal force. As fate would dictate, the author found himself on the receiving end of this fellow’s mercy and is well placed to narrate Khulu’s exploits on that particular day. My teammates and I were laterally hypnotised by this boy’s goal scoring prowess as he mesmerised our usually solid defence, tearing mercilessly into our rearguard with strong runs and ferocious bullet shots. Eish, we spent most of the time on the pitch asking each who this raw kid was and where he came from – only to be told he was a student bussed in from the Rundu Teachers Colleague (RTC). Justifiably nicknamed after the late Kaizer Chiefs bustling striker Moran “Samora” Khulu – the Santos target man looked destined for the bigger stage but sadly, turned his back on the beautiful game while still at the pinnacle of his promising football career. Carlos “CK” Kambaekwa WINDHOEK – Born in Tsumeb on the 7th of July 1965, Siegfried Hage Geingob, also known as “Khulu” in football circles, the retired bulky forward possesses the kind of looks that would not exactly look out of place as a bouncer or professional wrester. He was your typical old-fashioned centre forward, as the big framed striker made waves with a flurry of goals for both Chief Santos and Rundu outfit Cuca Tops - rubbing shoulders with the incumbent likeable Minister of Works and Transport, Hon John Mutorwa at Cuca Tops where he announced himself as a potential superstar. Like many other boys his age, the strongly built net buster started chasing leather at an early age playing street football with his buddies in the neigbourhood. Amongst his noted teammates were; Engel Johnson, Marcellus “Orde” Witbeen, Conrad “The Horse” Angula and Harold Gueb. He was deservedly installed as captain of Oshikoto Secondary School before starting to play competitive football for boyhood team Chief Santos’ second strings. However, it was not long before Khulu was upgraded to the first team while still a scholar. “I vividly remember my first break, it was during the popular Top 16 Easter Tournament. As hosts, Santos was permitted to enter two separate teams, one under the name of Chiefs (A-team) and the other one Santos (B-team),” recalls Hage. Khulu netted a brace for Santos in the shock 2-1 win against big brother Chiefs – a defeat that hastened the premature exit of the Celle Auchumeb’s inspired Chiefs. And as it turned out, that victory culminated in the long overdue transformation of the first team squad, which saw a sizable number of youngsters promoted to the first team – replacing the ageing old guard. In the meantime, Hage left Tsumeb to further his academic aspirations at the Rundu Teachers Training College (RTTC) in 1986. “It was tough staying in Rundu because I did not have sufficient hostel fees and other basic commodities, but one day while I was jogging past an open field where Cuca Tops were holding their training sessions, I stopped to watch the boys going through the paces. “All of a sudden, a stray ball found its way towards where I was stationed, I somehow managed to control the ball via a classical first touch.” Well, that piece of trickery must have impressed the team’s player/coach Hon. John Mutorwa, who politely approached Khulu, asking him whether he would be interested in joining the club. “I loved football and this was an ideal chance for me to get to know the locals, I was delighted and obviously said yes but the sad part was that I did not have boots. It was on a Tuesday and the following day I arrived at the practice session and was handed a new pair of togs.” Ironically, Cuca Tops was scheduled to welcome the much-feared Omulunga outfit Chelsea on that particular weekend. The new signee (Hage) was eventually thrown into the mix of things partnering the club’s blue-eyed boy. the great Paul “Pau” Kandere in the firing line, and as they say, the rest is history. He found himself surrounded by great athletes led by the legendary Paul “Pau” Kandere, John Mutorwa, Celle Nkuvi, Andreas Frai, and Domingo Barros but the explosive striker announced his arrival with a near faultless display - scoring 5-goals in the home side’s 7-4 demolition of the visiting Grootfontein outfit. Khulu became the toast of the black and white strip outfit’s followers. He returned the compliments in the most appropriate fashion by being voted the best player of a knockout tourney in Katima Mulilo, Zambezi Region. Cuca Tops won the tourney with Khulu topping the goal scoring charts that saw him walk away with the prestigious golden boot accolade. After one memorable season with the Rundu based side, Khulu retreated to his native town Tsumeb to rejoin his beloved Santos. His arrival in the country’s flagship football league coincided with the inevitable birth of the breakaway Namibia Soccer Super League (NSSL) – an exercise that pave the way for a combined national football league. Khulu was the main architect when Santos defeated the visiting Hungry Lions 3-1 at the Oscar Norich stadium in an ill-tempered league clash. When national selectors scrambled a team together for an exhibition match against the visiting Soweto giants Marokka Swallows in Windhoek, Khulu’s name was amongst the first on the team return. The “Copper Town Bullet” spearheaded the attack alongside Jorries Afrikaner (Orlando Pirates) and Daddy Ushona (Blue Waters). Khulu registered his name on the score sheet for the “Zebras” in that particular match against the Dube Birds. In later years, the muscular forward took up employment with the town’s Copper Mine TCL - featuring regularly for the Mine Football Invitational side during the popular Inter Mines Games. Nowadays, a self-employed citizen in the lucrative construction sector, Khulu could not heap enough praises on the man who discovered his football talents. That man is none other than former President of Athletics Namibia (AN) Adios Auchumeb. “Adios took me through the ropes as a raw kid and taught me a lot about self discipline, emphasising the importance of hard work, dedication and commitment. “Football was great and very competitive in those days, I really enjoyed jostling with tough defenders but one defender that stood the test of times was the late Orlando Pirates bone crunching centre back Salatiel Ndjao.” Though Independence came slightly late for the “Copper Town Bullet”, Hage tested international club football when Santos toured Cape Town, South Africa in 1986. Former Hellenic FC player Hilton Gibbons, who has taken up employment with TCL in the mining town spearheaded the tour. The South West Africa (SWA) amateurs played a total of four matches against local teams, that included the Western Cape Colts (under 21) – narrowly losing 1-0. Santos registered one victory, drawn one and lost two matches but the Western Cape safari bore fruit as the team became more composed afterwards.
New Era Reporter
2018-08-03 10:12:28 11 months ago