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Home / Tracking down Santos’ speedy attacker …. Robero Habasen ‘Mahlangu’ Nawatiseb

Tracking down Santos’ speedy attacker …. Robero Habasen ‘Mahlangu’ Nawatiseb

2024-03-22  Carlos Kambaekwa

Tracking down Santos’ speedy attacker …. Robero Habasen ‘Mahlangu’ Nawatiseb

Never be fooled by looks, a quick glimpse at the bearded bulky young man will drive anyone to conclude the former Chief Santos Football Club attacker can hardly harm a fly. Hold your horses, Robero Habasen Nawatiseb, famously known as ‘Mahlangu’, among his vast circle of buddies was a devastating net buster whose canon line shots left many a goalkeeper with fractured fingertips.  

The well-built bustling forward was a real beast on the football field terrorizing opponents with sheer strength, speed and amazing never say die attitude. He was your typical old fashioned forward harassing defenders at the slightest provocation.

The big frame forward scored an avalanche of match winning goals as if the art of goal scoring was going out of fashion.

Even though he was made to live in the shadow of his well-established teammates in the shape of football playing centre back, Immanuel ‘Puli’ Subeb, Gerros ‘Bomber’ Uri-khob, Mohammed ‘Slice’ Ouseb, Marcellus ‘Orde’ Reynecke-Uri-khob, Berlin ‘Pancho’ Auchumeb, and Lesley ‘Lucky’ Kakuva, the bulky attacker was not to be outdone by the presence of his more celebrated teammates.

Nawatiseb went about the business like a seasoned campaigner doing what he knew best, scoring goals. New Era Sport caught up with the easygoing retired footie-cum-socialite as he relives his amazing football journey.                                                                 

Born in a football crazy family, football ran in the genes of former Chief Santos attacker. After all, his cousins, nephews, and uncles were all formidable footies in their own right.

The quartet of Wilfred ‘Mini’ Nawatiseb, George ‘Aupaki’ Nawatiseb, Amos ‘Nangi Watch’ Nickel, and Atanasius ‘Steps’ Nickel, entertained football lovers with sheer talent during their illustrious playing careers.

And whereas ‘Mini’ was a tireless all-rounder, ‘Aupaki’ was arguably one of the finest midfielders of his generation, ‘Steps’ was an entertainer par excellence with his trademark step-overs whilst the bow-legged Nangi Watch was a master dribbler who played the game as if the ball was glued to his feet.

Born on the 26 October 1975 in the mining town of Tsumeb, Nawatiseb started around a ball at a very young age, six years old to be precise. With recreational facilities a short supply in the multi-cultural copper town community, the only easily available past time was playing the beautiful game of football.  

Nawatiseb was introduced to organised football during his lodging at the Roman Catholic St Francis Primary School in 1981. “Basically, we mainly played a lot of street football with other boys from the neighbourhood,” recalls Nawatiseb enthusiastically.

However, the football crazy player only rose to prominence when he netted an astonishing tally of 10 goals playing for the school’s U/10 side against Nomtsoub Primary School youngster with other boys.

His next stop was the Otjikoto Secondary School where he continued from where he had left off under the stewardship of Archie Benjamin his school teacher. In the meantime, Nawatiseb joined a small team going by the name of Arsenal.

In only his second year at the school, the free scoring forward was deservedly drafted into the first team. 

He led the teams firing line with great aplomb scoring match winning goals. His goal scoring prowess did not go unnoticed as Chief Santos talent scouts started to circle over the youngster’s head like starving vultures for his treasured signature.  

Truth be told without fear or favor, it was the dream of every aspiring footballer to pull the green and orange jersey over their heads and Mahlangu did not need a second invitation. He joined Santos and as they say, the rest is history.

Nawatiseb made his senior debut for Santos against long standing Maize Triangle bitter rivals Chelsea in the semifinal of the lucrative Castle Classic Knockout Cup. Santos cake out tops unscathed to set up a date with KK Palace in the final.

The debutante found himself on the winning side before adding another cap to his feather when Santos saw off Tigers in the final of the NFA Cup via a solitary strike by ‘Slice’ (1-0) shepherded by astute mentor Max ‘Zoda 5’ Johnson.

The now retired footie has great admiration for his mentors Johnson, Sacharias ‘Selle’ Saleh, Manfred Xamiseb, Ben Neiseb and Fernando Lopez in that sequence. Regrettably, the free scoring attacker bowed out of the game prematurely because of circumstances beyond control.

Nevertheless, he can still take solace from the astonishing number of silver-ware he won during his trophy-laden short lived playing career. He boasts an impressive resume that includes the Castle Classic Cup, complemented by a trio of NFA Cup triumphs. 

A diehard Chelsea fan, Nawatiseb has in the meantime relocated to the coastal town of Swakopmund where he currently resides with his beautiful spouse who bore him a quartet of cute daughters.  

He cites among his highlights Santos participation in the continental CAF Club Champions League against Angolan giants Sagrada Esperanza. 

The Namibian representatives lost both legs home and away.     

2024-03-22  Carlos Kambaekwa

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