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Home / The ineffable football journey of Stephanus ‘Makati’ Doeseb …the fearless pocket-sized midfielder

The ineffable football journey of Stephanus ‘Makati’ Doeseb …the fearless pocket-sized midfielder

2022-04-01  Carlos Kambaekwa

The ineffable football journey of Stephanus ‘Makati’ Doeseb …the fearless pocket-sized midfielder

Back in the day, during the time when there were no properly organised league structures for local football teams, notably those from the impoverished native [Bantu] settings, many teams were content to field the same starting 11 for very long periods, unless death struck or serious injury occurred. 

As it stood, many a fringe player would be frustrated by this ongoing scenario, and would be forced to resort to start their own football clubs to enjoy some much-desired game time. 

With football regarded as a religion amongst the country’s indigenous inhabitants, the garden town of Okahandja was amongst the leading towns producing athletes of great substance despite her paltry populace.

The town boasted a sextet of prominent football teams in the shape of Spoilers, Zebras (later became Black Beauty Chiefs), Magic Tigers, Young Stars (predominantly for coloureds/basters), and the all-white Okahandja Mannschaft side. 

Growing tired of just watching their heroes in action week in and week out, a significant number of Khoekhoegowab vernacular-speaking youngsters resolved to establish their own football team in the mould of Battle Boys Football Club in 1970. 

New Era Sport caught up with one of the club’s prominent founder members, the now-retired pocket-sized attacking midfielder, Stephanus McCart ‘Makati’ Doeseb.


A product of the revered Aurora Native School, Doeseb started chasing the ball as a barefoot youngster in the dusty streets of Nau-Aib location of Okahandja. 

With no recreational facilities or any other pastime activities for the majority of the town’s residents, young Doeseb was just like many other boys his age – football crazy – and would play the beautiful game whenever an opportunity presented itself. 

Aged 15, and hardly out of his pair of shorts, Doeseb teamed up with some of his school mates, spearheaded by the stylish dribbling wizard Moses Tanib ‘Bastardo’ Straightwolf, midfield genius Times ‘Lemmy’ Goagoseb, steady defender Teacher ‘Lucky’ Claasen, free-scoring forward Mike Migub Noabeb, fast as lightning winger Ishmael Tsutsai Khoeseb, beanpole centre-back Gai-Namab ‘Ou Light’ Haigomab, agile goalie Hermann ‘Harry’ Garos-aob, attacking fullback Alex ‘Kanjungu Koura’ Kapenaina, and few others who formed the backbone of Battle Boys in 1970.     

The new kid on the block hit the ground running, playing some attractive attacking football never witnessed before in that neck of the woods. 

The team recruited other talented youngsters from the St Joseph’s Secondary School (Dobra) and Khorixas in the shape of Bernard ‘Hassie’ Mingeri, and the devastating twins Paul and Peter Haosemab.    

The youthful outfit became the toast of football followers in the town, vigorously challenging the dominance of the town’s prominent leading teams, Spoilers and Black Beauty Chiefs (BBC). 

Amongst the prominent staff compliment were: Johannes Haoseb, Chisley Hardley, Matheus van Wyk, Ishmael Goagab, and Denias Godza.  

Battle Boys would compete fiercely in the hotly-contested knockout cup tournaments in towns such as Arandis, Walvis Bay, Omaruru, Khorixas, Swakopmund, Otjiwarongo, Outjo, Windhoek, Mariental, and Grootfontein, where the team left a long-lasting impression with their carpet style of attractive football. 

As the team grew in stature, the black and white strip outfit managed to lure other highly-gifted youngsters from the garden town to their nest that saw the Spoilers FC pair of intelligent winger-cum-midfield general Benjamin ‘Doc’ Naobeb and overlapping fullback George Gariseb crossing the floor to join forces with Battle Boys. 

However, the inevitable introduction of mixed-race football in Apartheid South West Arica (SWA) in 1977 saw the team’s fortunes taking a nosedive, with many of the club’s best players snapped up by top teams from the city of bright lights (Windhoek). 

Losing the valuable services of a decent number of high-profile playing personnel led by the quartet of Doc Naobeb, George Gariseb, Times ‘Lemmy’ Goagoseb and Ishmael ‘Zambia’ Khoeseb to Katutura glamour football club African Stars, and the free-scoring Haosemab twins to Khorixas outfit Robber Chanties FC, was a massive blow to the club’s progress, and left the club with a gravely skeleton playing personnel. 

Truth be told, Battle Boys never recovered from the setback, as the team slowly evaporated into thin air, inadvertently finding refuge in the dustbin of has-beens. The load was placed on the tiny shoulders of the tireless Doeseb to revive the team’s ailing fortunes. 

However, as fate would dictate, Doeseb jumped ship to join the newly-formed Rolling Computers FC, under the stewardship of emerging local grocery shop owner and former teammate Ishmael ‘Zambia’ Khoeseb. The latter dangled an irresistible juicy carrot in his somewhat unworldly baby face to join the new club, and as they say, the rest is history. 

“While playing for Rolling Computers, I befriended a smart boy going by the name of Phello Moviaro. He (Phello) smooth-talked me to accompany him southwards to try out at Aimablaagte’s leading club Black Marroko Chiefs (BMC) in Mariental for trials,” reflects Doeseb. 

As it turned out, it took Doeseb just few touches on the ball during a practice session to impress his potential suitors. The nonsense pocket-sized offensive midfielder signed on the spot and hit the ground running, putting in some impressive performances for the black and red strip outfit. 

Sadly, the long-held belief that home is always where the heart is, played her hand again, as Doeseb’s return to the historical enclave was unavoidable [back to Okahandja]. Regrettably, by this time the football-crazy playmaker was getting a bit long in the tooth and eventually called it quits. 

Nonetheless, Doeseb was not entirely lost to football as he took up refereeing. He was deservedly rewarded with the task of officiating premier league matches in his hometown, which coincided with the birth of Liverpool FC, the town’s only representative in the country’s topflight football league at the time.

In the interim, a staunch Orlando Pirates diehard, Doeseb was officially designated to mobilise supporters in Okahandja and surrounding areas.  

Although he has retired from playing competitive football, Doeseb sill sporadically plays football for leisure for the Golden All Stars outfit in the popular social football tournaments, alongside fellow retired legends such as Tiger Goagoseb, Eleazer ‘Godzilla’ Uirab, Samora Gurirab, amongst a galaxy of other stars. 

It’s going to be a hard to pill to swallow for many ignorant football followers, but the dominant view amongst reputable football pundits is that Battle Boys, without an iota of doubt, played some of the most entertaining attractive football ever witnessed on Namibian soil prior the country’s democracy in 1990. 

Truth be told, Battle Boys should be in the same conversation as exciting Khomasdal outfit Young Ones, aka ‘The Kings at Night’, and the unplayable Omulunga outfit Chelsea FC from Grootfontein.

2022-04-01  Carlos Kambaekwa

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