Arguably one of the most skilful but underrated midfielders of his generation, former attacking midfielder of Eleven Arrows and Ramblers football clubs, Lawrence “Kiki” Gaseb, will go down in history as one of the most gifted ball jugglers to have ever played the beautiful game of football on Namibian soil.
His trademark casual style of play was reminiscent of former Arrows’ midfield general Amos “Nangi Watch” Nickel. Befittingly, he was deservedly rewarded with the iconic jersey number 10 when he was promoted to Eleven Arrows’ first team as a raw teenager barely out of his pair of shorts.
In the true sense of the word, the forever-smiling light-skinned box-to-box midfielder was the architect of many Arrows’ goals. Bro K was an absolute marvel to watch. After all, his genes dictated that he would be a footballer of note, following in the flawless footsteps of his celebrated uncle, the late football-crazy Oom Reinhardt Gaseb, founder member of the maroon/gold outfit and Black Africa FC diehard. May his soul continue to rest in power.
Famously going by the nickname “Silver Fox”, the boy with the amazing Midas touch was your typical modern-day false number 9, operating in the free role just between the midfield and frontline, supplying killer passes to the goal-hungry forwards, whilst also registering his name on the score-sheet with the odd goal whenever the situation demanded.
Many defenders dreaded coming face to face with the bow-legged unorthodox footie, whose dribbling skills left his markers chasing shadows and, more often than not, kissing the grass whilst sprawling on the turf, wandering in different directions like a disorganised flock of sheep.
New Era Sport talks face-to-face with the now-retired footie, as he goes full steam about his untold football journey that took shape in the gravel fields of the unofficial “School of Excellence” (football-wise), St Joseph’s Secondary School (Dobra), that saw him honing his football skills as a teenager under the watch of renowned football mentor Meester Willem Hans.
Born Lawrence Gaseb on the 16th of January 1966 in the harbour town of Walvis Bay on the banks of the freezing Atlantic Ocean, Kiki spent a significant chunk of his formative years in Kuisebmond, though he started his primary school at the revered Dobra, north-east of Namibia’s commercial capital Windhoek, aged 7 in 1973.
It was indeed at Dobra where he developed a keen interest in chasing the spherical object alongside his buddies from the boarding school. Kiki got hooked to the game, and was inspired by the amazing talents of elder boys spearheaded by speedy winger, the late Anton “Stouter” Ochurub, Albert Tjihero, Gerhard Samani Kamerika, Hermann “Blue” Karimbue, Albert Karumbu Kahiha, George Martin and Max Johnson, amongst others. Back in the day, Dobra was the designated feeder team of Katutura giants Black Africa FC, and young Kiki was not to be left behind. He followed suit and joined forces with the exciting Gemengde outfit.
The young dribbling wizard finally made the grade to Black Africa’s third strings, then known as Young BA. In 1985, he retreated homewards, only to resurface in the mining town of Arandis to further his education at the Kolin Foundation Secondary School.
Here, he was reunited with some of his homeboys: Immanuel “Sparks” Gottlieb, Salathiel “Webster” Kutzi Shafombabi, Nasco Tsaneb, Paul Gaingob and a few other football-crazy boys from the coast. In the meantime, Kuisebmond outfit Eleven Arrows took note of Kiki’s exploits on the football field.
He was signed and drafted straight away into Arrows’ star-studded first team, where he found himself rubbing shoulders with greats such as Ben Gonteb, Nghenny Emvula, Dinina Nakwafila, Eliphas Shivute, Sadike Gottlieb, Sparks Gottlieb, Munjanda Koos Muaine, Sono Shivute, Mike Lemon, veterans Tara Shimbulu, Connie Samaria and Lompie Viringa, under the watch of former Black Africa and South West Africa (SWA) midfield ace, the late Albert Louw.
Arrows assembled a formidable squad of emerging young footballers from their feeder team, making a strong statement of intent. Kiki played a pivotal role when Arrows saw off local rivals Blue Waters in a match televised live.
The newly-introduced JPS Cup final was staged at the packed to the rafters Kuisebmond stadium in Walvis Bay in 1987. The bow-legged midfield kingpin would go on to appear in several high-profile cup finals, namely Metropolitan League and Novel Ford cups, before winning the coveted league title with Arrows in 1991.
Subsequently, the nimble-footed playmaker would go on to represent his motherland in the prestigious Caf Club Champions Cup preliminaries for his first taste of international football. However, having won almost every available silverware there was to be won, it was time for new challenges, and Kiki resolved to end his romance with Arrows, only to resurface at ambitious Pionierspark-based outfit Ramblers Football Club.
“It was a totally new environment for me, and a different culture as I suddenly found myself surrounded by international stars led by Tollie van Wyk, Joseph Martin, Donkey Majiedt, Peter Schwarzer, Jorge da Purificacao, Willy Swartbooi, Mark Kurzner, Larney Majiedt, Norman Ramakuthla, Roydon Manale, Willy Fredericks, Reney Claasen and Congolese giant shot-stopper Chicco Goncalves”, recalls the “Silver Fox”.
Nowadays a devoted family man, Bro Kicks is happily hitched to his long-time sweetheart of 25 years Fiona, who bore him a trident of siblings in the pair of beautiful daughters and a cute son.
RIP Calistu Goraseb 1959 - 2021
Death has struck the close-knit Orlando Pirates Football Club family for the umpteenth time in recent months, following the departure of “Ghosts” diehard Calistu Goraseb. The latter was the younger brother of former Buccaneers dribbling wizard Norries Goraseb, and uncle of retired Brave Warriors and Black Africa mercurial attacking midfielder Lolo Goraseb. Though he played his club football for Iwisa Chiefs in his native village of Tses, located in the semi-desert //Kharas region, Calistu was a prolific forward in his own right. The dominant view is that he could have gone all the way and emulate his elder brother had he joined one of the big-name teams in the country’s top-flight football league.
In sync with his more-celebrated brother Norries, Calistu possessed all the required attributes of a great footballer. He was more of a direct player, gifted with amazing speed, appetising footwork, and could equally deliver telling crosses into the opposition danger zone whilst his ferocious long-range shots from different angles left many a goalkeeper with fractured fingers.
Calistu will be laid to rest at his home village Tses on Saturday, 2 October. The burial coincides with the annual Tses Summer Festival Tournament at the Lolo Goraseb Stadium, and also marks the tombstone unveiling of Norries. May their souls rest in power, collectively.