Back in the day, recreational establishments were called into life strictly on the basis of tribal affiliation and family attachment, nothing more, and nothing less. If you were a young aspiring footballer and happened to reside in the Nama section or adjacent Damara location in the vast populated Katutura township for natives – your ultimate destination would have been already determined by design.
Youngsters from that neck of the woods dreamt of donning the black and white strip of the Buccaneers, the mighty Orlando Pirates Football Club. However, on a rare occurrence, a fairly young strongly built fellow going by the name of Stanley Goagoseb, son of the late football crazy administrator and co-founder of the now defunct exciting Katutura outfit Poison Cobra FC Ben “Ou !Oeb” Gariseb, a diehard Orlando Pirates supporter – defied the tradition when he resurfaced at youthful Khomasdal outfit Civics FC.
In today’s edition of your favourite weekly sports feature, Tales of the Legends profiling sport personalities past and present – New Era Sport goes toe to toe with the adorable soft-spoken “Big Cat”.
WINDHOEK – If you were a laaitie living in the Apartheid era in the 70’s, apart from the great Ishmael “Lemmy Special” Narib, the most famous footballers were Albert Louw, Oscar Mengo and the late Doc Hardley. May his soul rest in peace.
And even up to this day, the latter holds the record for the highest number of goals, 9 to be precise, scored in one match in the highly competitive South African professional topflight football league.
The flamboyant stylish Grootfontein born lad found the net nine (9) times for his club Umlazi Citizens against lower tier outfit Richmond Stars in the Benson & Hedges Knockout Cup in 1976.
Born in Namibia’s commercial capital Windhoek’s old location on the 7th of March 1967 – exactly a year before the forced removal to Katutura – Tiger grew up in the dusty streets of Damara location.
Unlike many of his peers who cut their teeth in the dog eat dog business of playing competitive football with their boyhood teams’ second strings – Tiger began his football career at youthful Bethlehem outfit Civics Football Club in 1984.
“I was a naughty boy by nature and was made to juggle between various schools starting from A.I Steenkamp before shifting to Jan Jonker Secondary School in Katutura. Football was the in-thing and many young boys would compete fiercely in stake games around street corners to while away time and boredom,” recalls Tiger.
His next stop was Khorixas in the vast Kunene Region at the Braunfels Boys Boarding School where he spent two years before retreating to the city of bright lights (Windhoek).
Upon his return to his place of birth, “Groot Kat” enrolled at the revered Ella Du Plessis High School primarily tailored for (coloured and baster learners) holed up in the more affluent Khomasdal residential area.
It was only fitting that he would join forces with Khomasdal newly formed exciting youthful outfit Civics FC alongside fellow learners.
The Civilians started life in the popular militant Central Namibia Football Association (CNFA) under the much-despised slogan of “You can’t play normal sport in an abnormal society” in protest against the imposed racial segregation by the South African Apartheid system prevailing in the Land of the Brave at the time.
When Namibia gained her long awaited democracy in 1990 – the no nonsense hard tackling midfielder-cum-defender played a significant part in the youthful team’s unavoidable promotion to the country’s elite football league and as they say, the rest is history.
Tiger produced great displays week in and out. His consistence finally paid off when he was deservedly selected for the Brave Warriors squad in 1992 under the guidance of shrewd Zimbabwean gaffer, Shepherd Murape.
He made his international debut against Madagascar, in an Afcon qualifier as a second half substitute but could not prevent the newcomers from going down 3-0 away in Antananarivo.
After a couple of unsatisfactorily results, which culminated in heavy defeats, the national team underwent a major facelift with a number of youngsters introduced to replace the old guard.
As it turned out, Tiger formed the spine of the transformed Warriors’ squad slotted into a solid rear guard, partnering inspirational skipper Bimbo Tjihero, China Utoni, Orlando Haraseb and Steven Mbaisa.
Also known as the “Smiling Assassin” amongst his circle of friends – the versatile cool as cucumber defender rose to prominence when his half volley cancelled out bitter rivals Bafana Bafana’s slender lead (1-1) in a tense Cosafa Cup clash at a packed to rafters Independence stadium in 1998.
The hosts stood at the brink of elimination when the unmarked “Big Cat” lurking at the far corner pounced at a stray ball to deliver an unstoppable half volley into the roof of the net – leaving Brian Baloyi catching flies to draw the two teams’ level (1-1).
Inspirational skipper Bimbo Tjihero scored a brilliant free kick to level the score 2-2 for the second time after the star-studded Bafana restored their one goal cushion – forcing the match into the just introduced “Sudden-Death” rule.
The celebrations had hardly subsided when Chief Santos’ super sub Berlin Auchumeb gifted the hosts a much deserved winner with only his first touch on the ball getting to the end of Congo Hindjou’s well weighted pass.
The heart throbbing last minute goal propelled underdogs Namibia to a historic 3-2 triumph – sending the capacity crowd into raptures.
The “Big Cat” went onto play a pivotal role when the Namibian amateurs surprised friend and foe to qualify for their first appearance at Africa’s biggest showpiece, the Afcon finals in Burkina Faso in 1998. Back home, Tiger was the backbone of an emerging Civilians outfit under new ownership after the football crazy Austrian national Helmuth Scharnowsky took over the reins at the ambitious Khomasdal outfit.
“That was one of my biggest highlights at club level because the setup was spotlessly very professional. Apart from featuring in the prestigious Caf Continental Club Cup Competitions – we regularly toured Europe in preseason – playing warm up matches against lower division teams in Germany, Finland, Holland and Denmark gaining massive exposure and experience.”