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Tribute to a trident of fallen sporting legends

2021-10-01  Carlos Kambaekwa

Tribute to a trident of fallen sporting legends
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Just as the close-knit family of Wanderers Multi-Sports Club was coming to terms with the untimely death of former squash (muurbal) player Fanie Becker, double tragedy has struck the Pionierspark outfit again as the club mourns the sad passing of club stalwarts Oom Neels Dodds and versatile scrumhalf Edwardo Nell. “Wardo” was the son of well-known local sport personality Isador Nell, one of the pillars of Namibian netball.

Elsewhere, Katutura glamour football club African Stars lost one of its trusted stalwarts, Metusalem Kaveumbua Kangombe, famously known as “Babes”. He was a popular backyard motor mechanic, who cut his teeth in football with the star-studded Augustineum football team.    

As has become our uncompromised tradition, honouring our sport personalities past and present without failure, New Era Sport pays a dignified tribute to the aforementioned departed trident of sport legends. May their soul rest in power, collectively

“Oom Neels”, as the grey-bearded rugby-mad ‘Toppie’ was famously known amongst his peers, including ‘Wannies’ diehards, was the president of Wanderers Sport Club at the time of his death. Young Edwardo Nell joined the Tunschel Street outfit as a raw youngster, and scrummed his way up to stardom with the exciting White Stallions. 

Not much is known about his playing days, but his undying love for the White Stallions is well-documented. The generous Oom Neels always dug deep in his own pockets to assist the club financially, with playing gear, transport and other necessities. 

As it stands, Namibia has not only lost a committed cadre, the entire nation, the livestock farming community and Wanderers Sport Club in particular has been robbed of an incredibly astute sport administrator. A Jack of all trades, Oom Neels was a shrewd businessman, excelling in the business of goods transport to successful livestock breeding as a commercial farmer.

Though he started playing competitive rugby for the Polytechnic rugby fifteen, it was indeed at the fast-galloping “White Stallions” that Edwardo Nell grew in stature. He would go on to represent the Tunschel Street reserves with distinction, winning a treble of league titles in the lower-tier league .  

Sadly, his promising rugby career came to an abrupt end when he suffered a fractured rib during a third-tier match against Unam. Wardo fell on the ball during the second half, and was immediately ushered to the emergency van for treatment. 

According to a report by club chairman and former teammate Willem van Zyl, Wardo appeared in good health after the match, and even took a cold shower whilst looking fresh. “We left the cloakrooms en route to another place where we were to converge. Wardo was in the company of five teammates, but never reached the intended destination. 

“Shockingly, we learned from another teammate that Wardo fell unconscious just outside the Unam field, and was given emergency treatment before the medics suggested that he be taken to the Katutura State Hospital for further assessment. 

“Unfortunately, he had already accumulated substantive internal bleeding and succumbed as a result. It was a very sad day for the Wanderers family. Wardo was a trusted cadre, and served the club with distinction for six years since he joined as a budding youngster. 

“The management and players are deeply shocked and hurt by his tragic death. Our profound condolences to the bereaved family in these difficult times of grief,” reads a statement verbatim in Afrikaans from club chairman Willem van Zyl.

RIP - Metusalem Kaveumbua “Babes” Kangombe 1952 - 2021  

In real life, Bro Babes was a noted fully-qualified backyard motor mechanic, operating from his home in Maroela, Katutura, Windhoek. Babes was amongst the few boys residing in the then posh Katutura residential area for native Bantus when fellow natives arrived en masse following the forced removal from Windhoek’s Old Location in 1968. 

The strongly-built fullback was amongst a few talented footies from the hood, and started playing competitive football in the hotly-contested exhibition weekend matches between youthful outfits Golden and Ehahe, staged at the Municipality stadium. He was a valuable member of the more illustrious Golden FC outfit that had the likes of Bush Menjengua, Oscar Mengo, Cheese Kavikairiua, Karikiti “Champ” Kavita, Handipara Kambirongo and Ben Kauejao in its armoury. 

Babes rose to prominence when he went to further his education at the revered Augustineum Secondary School, where he joined forces with hostel team Windhoek City FC. He will be best remembered for his nasty physical confrontation with former Orlando Pirates’ short-fused defender Hans “Zebbo” Engelbrecht, aka “Dios”, during an ill-tempered friendly match between the Buccaneers and Augustineum. 

The often-volatile Bro Babes found himself at the wrong end of Dios’ trademark poisonous right hook, which left him dizzy-eyed with a badly fractured jaw. Unbeknown to Babes, Dios was well-known for his quick knuckles, and few would dare having a disagreement with him.

At club level, Babes was part and parcel of Starlile’s golden generation that took domestic football by storm around the mid-70’s. He was an integral part of the Reds’ solid rearguard, alongside fellow youngsters Gabriel “Kierie” Tjituaiza, Zebedeus “Merino” Kandonga, Eliah “Zorro” Tjipuna, auxiliary fullback Mannfredt “Bush” Muheke Menjengua and Julius “Senzeni” Stephanus, shielded by butter-fingered giant-stop stopper Moses “Cheese” Kavikairiua between the sticks. 

Regrettably, a career-ending knee injury put paid to his premature retirement from the game whilst still at the pinnacle of his promising football career. Nonetheless, Babes was not entirely lost to football and became a trusted follower of his beloved Starlile, attending each and every home game. Apart from football, Bro Babes was a well-respected motor mechanic, specialising in Isuzu vans and shepherding his own makeshift backyard garage in Maroela, Katutura. 

Babes’ sad passing follows short on the heels of a sizeable number of Reds’ legends in recent months in the following sequence: Juku Tjazuko, Seth Kaimu, Bob Vepi Kauapirura, Theo Tjizembua Ndisiro, Mike Kangova Pack, Ngatangue Ngezemba, Dawid Ndjoze, Bernard ‘Hassie’ Mingeri, Cheese Kavikairiua and Charles Ngozu. May their souls rest in eternal peace in one piece.

2021-10-01  Carlos Kambaekwa

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