There is an old saying that people are rewarded in public for their deeds in private. However, there is going to be a long time that some are not in the limelight, but their time will come and that will override everything.
When it comes to great trainers and managers, the likes of Nestor Tobias and Rusten Mogane always spring to mind right at the top. South West Africa (SWA-Namibia) has unearthed many sporting icons, but one Peter Wilson was blessed with a natural aptitude for sports administration.
The Kuisebmond lad is armed with impressive qualifications in Personnel Management and Business Administration, and is also a qualified athletics coach, under the mentorship of late Quinton Steele-Botes. The multi-talented ‘Sakuman’, as Bro Pikes is famously known amongst his peers, has never wavered to confront matters, irrespective of the consequences.
Like many other young boys from the Kuisebmond township for natives, Bro Pikes developed an early interest for the beautiful game of football, and was in the mix of things when youngsters from the Sea-point area in Kuisebmond, assembled a football team to compete in unofficial knockout-cup tourneys against teams in the township and sometimes cross-town Narraville.
“Our team was baptised Young Namib Woestyn and had so many big name players. It often went by the names African Stars or Cosmos, all in the personification of the phenomenal footies in the mould of Straal Auchumeb (Namib Woestyn), Oscar Mengo (African Stars), and the legendary South African icon, Jomo Sono (New York Cosmos),” he recalled. Pikes ascribed the uncompromising army-type training methodology of former Namib Woestyn and Super Stars attacking midfielder Duban Benson, as the origin of keeping fit.
Apart from his amazing pace, his agility between the sticks was out of this world. Sakuman was a mean shot-stopper, who easily gathered penalties with breath-taking saves. Some of his notable teammates were Mengo Khoeseb, Tennie Haraseb, Owen Taurob, Jack Manale, Stro Naruseb and his trident of siblings, as well as the late pair of Dispen and Milo.
Besides football, Pikes swung golf clubs in the sand dunes, and was also a mean sprinter in athletics at school, excelling in both the 100m and 200m sprints, as well as long jump.
“Administration is something I chose early in my life; this is what I always wanted to do, irrespective of whether I make it or not, it’s on me and that motivated me big time.”
His sports administration intuition started way back in 1981, when he teamed up with fellow Baainaar, King Mandume Muatunga. The pair established a mini football league for the Kuisebmond teams, which quickly gained momentum, attracting six teams spearheaded by Namib Woestyn, Explorer Eleven, Hellenic, and Suidwes Span (SWA team). The latter was loaded with the finest footies from Kuisebmond, and deservedly clinched the maiden edition of the annual mini league title.
In the early 80s, Pikes exchanged schools from Kuisebmond to Narraville Primary, where he was introduced to hockey, cricket and rugby. He quickly learned the various rules of the new sporting disciplines, since it was compulsory for pupils to partake in physical education sessions or competitions against other coloured, baster and white schools.
During his high school tenure, long-time friend Ben ‘Driekies’ Louw introduced Pikes to tennis, in addition to other sporting codes. Pikes was obliged to juggle between the athletics track, football pitch, karate dojo and tennis courts. Most importantly, his schedule was balanced between education and social events. He would go on to represent De Duine Secondary School in various school events at the coastal towns of Walvis Bay, Swakopmund and Arandis, in that sequence.
The highlight of his sporting career was in 1987 when he was elevated to the school’s senior football team, rubbing shoulders with the youthful starlet Bobby Samaria, Daniel ‘Dampies’ Mouton, Howard Brown, Fanku Swartz, Dolphie Campbell and Stanley Louw, amongst others. The most memorable match was when the school saw off Kuisebmond Secondary School via a hard fought narrow 2-1 score line.
What made the victory sweeter was the mere fact that their opponents had more established players in their armoury, in the shape of Ngenny Emvula, Hellao Naruseb, Eliphas Shivute, the recently-departed Koos Munjanda Muaine and Brim Gottlieb. These players were already playing for their respective clubs at the highest level of the domestic top-tier football league.
After completing secondary school, Pikes relocated to the city of bright lights (Windhoek) to further his academic aspirations at the Academy for Tertiary Education in Khomasdal. In between his studies, Pikes would turn his attention to football, athletics, and tennis. He was a member of the TISAN touring team for the prestigious Zonal University (Cucsa) Multi-Sport Games in Zimbabwe and Botswana in 1990. He later joined the Khomasdal Athletics Club, under the mentorship of Corneels Jafta.
Amongst his celebrated colleagues were the Maasdorp brothers - Moses and Hendrik - Tjombie Samaria, Vilho Namufinda, Ralph Blaauw and Elizabeth Mongudhi. It was during this period that he participated in the annual SWAIKS/NAAU Athletics Meetings, that saw him rub shoulders with other top athletes in the sprint and long jump events. Pikes’ moment of truth was when he was pitted against the renowned Frank Fredericks in the 100m sprint.
“Let me set the record straight, I finished with the wooden spoon, but it was a huge honour for me to compete against such a celebrated contender.”
Upon completion of his tertiary education, Pikes found employment in the banking sector, culminating in spending less time on the athletics track. Nevertheless, he joined Tigers Football Club and started out with Ingwe’s second string in 1994. It was not long before he packed his togs for good to move into management, doubling as treasurer and assistant team manager.
Such was his amazing administrative acumen within the ranks of the ambitious Donkerhoek outfit, that he went on to clock an unbroken service of 12 solid years, overseeing historical victories in several high-profile competitions, with the most memorable being the 1995 NFA Cup thrilling final victory over arch rivals Black Africa. The sweet victory, courtesy of the recently-departed Foresta Nicodemus’ solitary goal, earned Ingwe their first major trophy after Namibia’s independence.
And whilst many think that team managers cannot be friends with players, Pikes was the opposite to the old adage, saying: “If you are not friends with athletes, you won’t reach the maximum potential of that group.”
It was argued that Tigers FC were chief beneficiaries of the un-cool shenanigans of the serial, intimidating, notorious ‘Rooi Oog’ gang. Nonetheless, the club managed to dust off that unpleasant tag under the persistent stewardship of Pikes, with Ingwe gradually getting transformed into a championship-driven sporting entity.
Off the field, Bro Pikes was amongst the forerunners for the birth of initial soccer magazine ‘Namibia Soccer’ in 1997, featuring local football news, interviews and lifestyles of foreign-based players, authored by the late Desmond Basson (Namibia Sport Focus) and Helge Schütz (Namibia Sport).
On national level, Pikes was appointed kit manager for the Namibian Olympic U/23 football team in 1998. He was subsequently upgraded to the senior team, the Brave Warriors’ technical team, and also had a taste of international participation in various managerial portfolios. Tigers’ NFA Cup dominance and their formidable display in domestic football in the 1990s, propelled the team’s participation in the CAF Champions League and Cup Winners Cup across the continent.
Regrettably, a heavy workload as manager of Standard Bank Namibia obliged Pikes to call it a day, taking a breather from all sporting activities in 2007. After a combined two decades of unbroken service, Pikes resigned from the banking service to start a private business venture in 2014. However, he was lured back to the fold when he was requested by acquaintances to avail his sporting expertise to Special Olympics Namibia.
Pikes was appointed board member, and swiftly combined his athletics qualification and years of sports administrative skills to become marathon coach of long-distance veteran runner, Ruben Gowaseb. At the 2015 Summer Special Olympic Games in Los Angeles, the Wilson/Gowaseb combination won gold in the half-marathon event. The accolade led to their (athlete/coach) nomination as finalists for the annual sports awards’ ceremony that year.
The following year, Pikes was appointed board member of Disability Sports Namibia, which subsequently coincided with his appointment as sports commissioner for a three-year term. During 2017, he led a strong delegation of 17 athletes from Special Olympics to Austria for participation in the first Winter Olympics that saw the Namibians scoop a bronze medal in the mixed floorball event.
In a brief stint with the Olympic Committee in 2018, Pikes, as head of the delegation, accompanied a team of young athletes to Algiers, Algeria for the quadrennial African Youth Games. Namibia ended 7th overall with a total haul of 28 medals. In 2019, Pikes was appointed on the NSC Appeals Committee to oversee the football impasse that controversially overturned the NPL ruling against Young African FC.
In his parting shot, this is how the veteran sports administrator sees the future of Namibian sports: “We must value sport; our strength does not lie in individual quality but in a team effort, meaning corporates must come aboard, because the government alone cannot fund all sporting activities.”
“One thing I want to get across to young people is, follow your dreams because no dream is too big to reach. Remember, all of us cannot move at the same pace, but the most important thing is to arrive at the desired destination,” concluded the easy-going socialite.