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Home / The unsaid journey of football’s forgotten man - Marcus Mario Davids, aka ‘Slaza’

The unsaid journey of football’s forgotten man - Marcus Mario Davids, aka ‘Slaza’

2024-05-24  Carlos Kambaekwa

The unsaid journey of football’s forgotten man - Marcus Mario Davids, aka ‘Slaza’

Doubtlessly one the most colourful footies of his generation, former Tigers Football Club attacker Mario Davids was one hell of a menace for defenders in the country’s topflight league during a three-and-a-half-year spell with the rejuvenated Ingwe.

The slippery forward enjoyed a stellar career with the Donkerhoek outfit before he packed his bags to look for greener pastures elsewhere. Nevertheless, the nimble-footed forward will be best-remembered for his great footwork and ability to navigate his way through tough defences. 

Inspired by former Tigers blue-eyed boy Helmut ‘Teenage’ Iyambo, ‘Slaza’ was determined to replicate the playing style of his childhood hero and certainly lived up to his long-held dream when the opportunity arose. 

After numerous failed attempts to round up the slippery forward, New Era Sport finally managed to corner the now-retired former Tigers target-man as he relives the amazing football journey that took him across the Mediterranean Sea in a bid to take his God-given talent to the next level in the United Kingdom (UK). 



A real ‘Tura Boy, young ‘Slaza’ was just like many others of his age in the neighbourhood always football-crazy, and would play the game at the slightest provocation, be it at school, in the streets or any other easily available open space. 

Young Mario was introduced to the game at a very young age during his time at Mandume, Namutoni primary schools and Dawid Bezuidenhoudt and Academia secondary schools, in that sequence. 

“Eish…..I was somehow very lucky in the sense that during that time, the National Schools Sport Union NSSU established a junior football league where schools competed on a regular basis. So, my involvement in that league opened the doors for me to make my presence felt in the more competitive environment with youthful outfit African Blizzards campaigning in the lower-tier league. 

“To be brutally honest, I really enjoyed my football at Blizzard because of the style of carpet football we played. Our motto was more about ball possession, launching attacks from the back like Young Ones,” recalled ‘Slaza’. 

His talent did not go unnoticed as he was selected to represent his motherland internationally while still at Academia High doing Grade 11. His near-faultless performance with the Olympic team caught the eye of talent scouts from other teams.  “We played in the qualifying round against Burkina Faso, Mozambique and Lesotho. At the time, Ricardo Mannetti was playing for Civics, and he asked me to join the youthful Civilians. The project looked appetising, and I agreed in principle to join the Khomasdal outfit.” 

However, officials from Tigers got wind of his iminent move, and acted swiftly. He was sitting at home in the afternoon when Kelly Asser knocked on the front door, looking for Mari. 

“My old man was swimming in a pool of confusion and wanted to know who Mari was since my clan name was ‘Marukusa’ (Markus)”. In his own words, the cunning streetwise Kelly wasted little time and dangled a juicy carrot in his baby face in the form of a bundle of cash – N$7 000 to be precise. 

“I was breathless, and needed no second invitation, so I grabbed the moolah with trembling fingers and was the first guy at the team’s practice session the next day. Jy moet verstaan, my broer (you must understand, my brother)’, imagine a 16-year-old school laaitie suddenly loaded with seven grand in hard cash that was a lot of money back in the day.” 

‘Slaza’ was thrown right in the lion’s den when he made his debut for Ingwe against Robber Chanties away in Khorixas. The new signee played a blinder, as the visitors won 2-0 before travelling to Otjiwarongo to confront Life Fighters at the notorious Mokati stadium, the “House of Pain”. 

The new kid on the block registered his name on the score-sheet when Ingwe manufactured a hard-fought 2-1 victory against the hosts. However, his arrival at Tigers was embroiled in controversy when the coaching staff decided to give ‘Slaza’ the iconic number 15 jersey then worn by DRC import Tony Belange. The Congolese refugee was unimpressed and told the club management in no uncertain terms ‘No number 15, no play’.  

Nonetheless, the nimble-footed Super Mario went on to enjoy memorable moments with the rejuvenated youthful Ingwe side, and was a vital cog in Tigers’ golden generation. Tigers went on an amazing run of successive victories, winning the coveted FA Cup in addition to several runner-up spots in several high-profile knockout cup competitions.

He also tasted international club football when Ingwe competed in the Caf Cup Champions League in Lesotho. He was invited for trials by South African giants Hellenic, but could unfortunately not cut. All was not lost as another club Avondale from Parow, Cape Town, offered the dejected Namibian a shoulder to cry on. 

“I was staying with Cardo (Mannetti), and joined the team for pre-season. They were very happy with my performances, but the money was hopelessly too little and not worth the candle. I came back home and for some strange reasons, it was at the same time when lots of young Namibians were leaving the country for the United Kingdom in search of greener pastures. I took a giant leap in the dark by going abroad to start afresh on foreign territory, and it eventually paid off.”  

“Upon my arrival in London, I joined non-league club Norwich United, playing semi-professional before moving to Kingsley in the Conference League. Unfortunately, the attacker suffered a career-threatening knee injury that kept him out of action for eight months. 

When fully recovered, ‘Slaza’ made a surprise return to his native land and rejoined Tigers, before jumping ship to find shelter with newly-promoted Hotspurs. 

After few eye-catching performances for the youthful Soweto outfit, Mario developed itchy feet and hit the skies again to find shelter in the Queen’s country (England). 

And even though he has officially retired from playing competitive football, Bro ‘Slaza’ is still very much involved in football, taking promising youngsters through the ropes. He is the proud holder of Level 1 and 2 Coaching Licences. 

Having played for several clubs around London in the lower-tier leagues, the wide-awake Namibian has now turned his hand to coaching, and runs the popular MD Football Academy and Football World Scouting.   

Bro ‘Slaza’ is happily hitched to compatriot Marisela Franks-Tjikune-David, who bore him beautiful children - a daughter, now 12, and a son, 13. He also fathered a son from a previous relationship.

2024-05-24  Carlos Kambaekwa

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