During his playing days, former Golden Rivers and Tigers Football Clubs hard-as-nails midfielder Allu Hailonga, used to collect cards from match officials as if the receiving of cautions was going out of fashion but the practice eventually rubbed on him as he proudly exchanged roles of dishing out cautions and sanctions to law offenders.
Upon his premature retirement from playing competitive football, the strongly built midfielder joined the City of Windhoek Police Department as a no-nonsense Traffic Officer. Please excuse the pun, but it looked like Bro Allu made it his sole province to vigorously return the favour by paying those match officials who have made his life hell on the football field back in their coin. New Era Sport caught up with the likeable socialite as he relives his amazing football journey in general life after retirement from kicking a football.
Born Allu Hailonga in the eastern town of Gobabis in 1970, young Allu moved to the city of bright lights (Windhoek) whilst still wrapped in nappies.
He started his primary education at the Mandume Primary before shifting to the St Andrew’s Primary School, only to end up at the revered Concordia Secondary School, though he emerged out of his sheepskin from the A Shipena Secondary School in Katutura.
Like many other young boys his age, Allu started chasing an inflated piece of leather in the dusty streets of Gemengde location, a rare none tribal residential section, holed up in the northern part of Katutura Township. The lanky midfielder started playing organised football with Young Black Africa but later joined Silver King in the Damara location.
In 1988, Allu developed itchy feet – only to resurface at the newly formed youthful outfit Golden Rivers Football Club under the stewardship of schoolteacher Ileni Shilongo and Namibian football icon Rusten Mogane. In his words, the shift in scenery completely changed his football philosophy.
“Eish… truth be told; those were my golden days in my entire football career because of the freedom I enjoyed in the midfield alongside my late kid brother Bobby Hailonga and other great footballers.”
After just one season with the youthful Rivers outfit, Allu jumped ship to join forces with big brother Tigers – and as they say, the rest is history. In no time, the skilful midfielder cemented himself as a vital cog in Ingwe’s engine room between 1989 and 1992, playing alongside the equally dangerous gifted attacking midfielder Teenage Iyambo, Oscar Hiskia and late kid brother Bobby Hailonga.
“My brother, I’m not bragging but we had a fantastic bunch of highly talented youngsters; Ingwe was unplayable during that period. Many teams dreaded coming face to face with us on our good day. The entire squad was loaded with talent and competition for positions was very tight.”
Allu played an instrumental role when Ingwe swept aside coastal giants Eleven Arrows in the final of the Easter Knockout Cup tournament at the old Katutura stadium.
While playing for Tigers, Allu won the inaugural edition of the Coca-Cola Youth Cup for Schools in the Khomas region with A Shipena in Windhoek but had to settle for a silver medal against J.A Nel at the regional level finals.
“Wow, Gospert Sikerete was a pain on that particular day but I must have done enough to attract the attention of national selectors, as I was called up for the South West Africa/Namibia Invitational side after the tourney.”
Unfortunately, he did not get the chance to play but still strongly feels it was a great pleasure to have been recognised for his efforts.
There is a saying that blood is thicker than water; well, Allu’s all-time favourite player is none other than his departed kid brother Bobby Hailonga, whose sweet left foot captured the imagination of many local football followers, including the neutral fan.
“I also fancied great players like my former teammates Forra Nicodemus, Teenage Iyambo, the late Nathaniel Alele Kapaule and Bricks Angula – just to mention a few from Tigers. Admittedly, the likes of Koko Muatunga and Bryan Greaves inspired me with their amazing God-given talent.”
Allu cites former Black Africa midfield general Lucky Boonstander as his most difficult opponent during his somewhat abbreviated playing career.
Upon his early retirement from playing competitive football, Allu joined the Namibian Police Force in 1993, occupying the portfolio of Traffic Officer, tasked to take fellow law enforcers and traffic officials through the ropes.
He later joined the City of Windhoek Traffic Officers under the stewardship of traffic officer Eliphas Owos-oab.
Allu immediately knuckled down to serious business doing what he does best, training traffic officers until an unpleasant episode unfolded in 2013, which obligated him to vacate his plum position.
However, the former Tigers midfield general did not rest on his laurels, and has since found solace in the business of training motor vehicle drivers in defensive driving, since road safety has become his favourite ‘cup of tea’.
Allu boats massive experience and is the proud holder of a B-Tech degree in Road Traffic Management and Municipal Police deservedly from the revered Tshwane University of Technology, in Pretoria, South Africa.