Namibia’s eagerly awaited Independence arrived just slightly late for some of the country’s hottest athletes, especially footballers.
Sadly, these blokes were denied their birthright to represent their native land internationally – just because of the skewed South African Apartheid system.
One such athlete is the well-traveled former Eleven Arrows, African Stars and Blue Waters Football Clubs’ lethal goal poacher, Koos Munjanda Muaine.
Nonetheless, football fans at the Atlantic Ocean can be proud that the beanpole net rattler honed his football skills as a raw youngster in the dusty streets of Namibia’s largest harbour town, Walvis-Bay.
A natural goal scorer, the strongly built beanpole net buster packed a decent shot from range whilst possessing an excellent first touch, but oh boy oh! Koos’ aerial power was enough to send shivers running riot in the bellies of hardened criminals. Testimony to this statement is his well-documented expertly taken headed brace for the Birds against former club African Stars in the final of the inaugural edition of the now defunct BP Top 8 Cup at a packed to rafters Independence stadium in the city of bright lights, Windhoek, in 1996.
New Era Sport caught up with the humorous bay face soft-spoken retired goal-getter-cum-farmer, as he relives his astonishing ten-year circle football journey with a twinkle in his eyes.
The brother also lifts the lid as to why he opted to join Blue Waters upon his return to the coastal town instead of boyhood team Eleven Arrows - much to the chagrin of the latter.
Walvis-Bay – The mere mention of the name ‘Koos’ is enough to keep one on guard expecting to encounter some tough bloke of Dutch origin shabbily clad in a kaki attire – either a rugby player, juskei player, or commercial farmer. However, football had its own Koos in the shape of burly striker, Munjanda Muaine; and given his incredible goal scoring prowess, the beanpole goal getter is considered very unfortunate – and rightly so, not to have represented his native land at senior level.
Born in the coastal town of Walvis Bay on the 14th of December 1968, the gangling goal poacher was one of two football-playing brothers. Elder brother, Striker, was equally a noted net rattler during the late 80’s and mid 90’s.
Koos was amongst a crop of few youngsters promoted to Arrows’ first team during the mid 80s – at a time when the gold and maroon outfit was undergoing a major transformation amongst its playing personnel.
Like many youngsters his age, Koos started out in Arrows’ second strings before graduating to the 1st team. “I vividly remember being promoted to the senior side alongside Genny Emvula, Pule Tjombe, and Cecil Mutilifa,” recalls big Koos.
In the interim, Koos would feature regularly for the star-studded Okakarara Technical College (OTC) Football team, alongside other talented boys, led by the late Fonso Hangara, Dave Tuaanda, and Eliah Hipundjua. In only his second match in topflight football, Koos faced a fire of baptism in his knockout cup debut against the mighty Orlando Pirates away from home.
“The late Salathiel Ndjao was trying to intimidate me. As we came out of the dressing rooms, he gave me a scary look, mumbling something…that he would sort me out, but I just kept my cool”. After a couple of good performances, Koos quickly cemented himself as a noted goal getter and was to play an instrumental role when Arrows saw off eternal rivals Blue Waters in an electrifying live televised final of the JPS Cup at the Kuisebmond stadium in Walvis Bay in 1987.
In the previous season, he was on the field when Arrows surrendered a 1-goal cushion (3-2) to bow out of the same tourney against eight man Hungry Lions at the old Katutura stadium. Against all odds, the Lions of Judah staged a dramatic come back to dispatch the coastal side on penalties after a 6-goal thriller (3-3).
Few years later, his goals propelled Arrows to be crowned national league champions in 1991, paving the way for the seasiders to conquer continental football.
Arrows’ first match was against Lesotho champions Arsenal in Maseru. In 1992, Koos was lured to the city of bright lights to join forces with the Katutura glamour football club, African Stars, where partnered the equally dangerous goal poachers: Seven Endjala, and homeboy, Costa Lucas. He enjoyed a very successful stint with Starlile that saw him win multiple titles, including the coveted league title that included the Metropolitan Cup, Castle Classic Trophy.
He also represented the Reds at continental stage when Starlile toured DR Congo to confront old time campaigners, Bongo Sports, in the CAF Cup – now known as CAF Champions League. The Reds lost 5-0 on aggregate: 3-0 away and 2-0 home respectively.
However, the lanky forward could no longer wrestle with his long held desire to end his football career back home. He eventually jumped the smooth-sailing “Starlile” train to return home.
Surprisingly, instead of rejoining old club Arrows, the beanpole goal poacher resurfaced at eternal rivals, Blue Waters – much to the chagrin of Arrows’ faithful.
“The reason why I did not rejoin Arrows was because the club just got relegated upon my return, and since I was still in the prime of my football career, it would have been unwise to wrap up my football career in the lower division”.
Koos was to be paired alongside elder brother, Striker, and Angolan import, Armando “the Bull” Pedro, in what was arguably the most feared lethal strike force in the business at the time. The gangling net rattler announced his arrival with a breathtaking brace against his former team, African Stars, in the final of the maiden edition of the BP Top 8 Cup at Windhoek’s Independence stadium in 1996.
He powered the first of his two bullet-like headers from a delivery by Armando, which was duly canceled out by Domingo Martin’s strike.
Nonetheless, Koos was not done yet, and replicated his first goal when he rose the highest above the static Reds’ defense to rattle the roof of the net, connecting with China Utoni’s well-weighted cross from the left flank to give the Birds a well-deserved 2-1 victory. Koos also represented the Birds in the CAF Club Champions League against Swaziland champions, Eleven Men in Flight, and despite losing the first leg 4-2 away from home – with Koos registering his name on the score sheet – the Birds turned the tables in the second leg, beating their opponents 3-1 to go through on the away goal rule.
The Birds were pitted against Angolan champions, Primeiro de Acosto, in the next round, and though Koos missed the 3-0 defeat in the first leg away through suspension – the gangling striker returned to action in the 2nd leg. Koos found the net in the 2-1 win, with Pedro getting the other goal, but the victory was just not good enough to propel Omeya to the next round, as the seasiders bowed out 4-2 on aggregate.
As it turned out, the qualified technician bowed out of competitive football after just one season in the blue and white strip of Omeya, in order to concentrate on farming, whilst still at the pinnacle of his blossoming football career, aged just 28.
“You see, when I started playing competitive football, the ultimate aim was to set up a ten-year timeframe, and I was obliged to stick to that because farming has always been my hobby”.
Koos rates former Tigers hard tackling defenders, Grey Umati, and younger brother, Kumi, as well as the late Stimela Ndjao as the toughest defenders he encountered on the field during an illustrious football career that ended abruptly.