Namibian football has in the past unearthed multiple pairs of football playing siblings with coastal giants Blue Waters leading the pack with the Muatunga brothers Phello, Hanga and Koko tailed by the Damaseb brothers of Chelsea in the shape of Orlando, Pele and Steven. Chelsea also boasted the Francis brothers Richo and Tiger. Benfica was not to be outdone either as the Nomtsoub side had the dangerous Ushona siblings Daddy, Packs and Lovey. Katutura giants African Stars boasted Juku Tjazuko and Nico Hindjou, the Birds also lined up with the much adored Jakonia brothers Moripe and Riva. Back in the city of bright lights, Tigers had the stylish Iyambo brothers Lucky and Teenage whilst Black Africa were blessed with the football-crazy !Gaeb siblings in the following sequence; August, Otto, Katze and Pius. The latter quartet also had a short stint with BA bitter rivals Orlando Pirates. Sadly, the former Orlando Pirates, Pubs and Black Africa fast galloping wing back Otto !Gaeb, has exited the game of life after failing to recover from heart surgery.
In today’s edition of your favourite weekly sport feature, profiling our national sport heroes and heroines – New Era Sport pays tribute to the hard galloping versatile fullback.
WINDHOEK – Back in the day, most young footballers who graduated from the unofficial schools of excellence (football wise) the revered St Josephs’ Secondary School (Dobra) preferred destination was always exciting Katutura outfit Black Africa FC upon completion of their studies.
As toddlers, the football-crazy !Gaeb brothers were diehard Orlando Pirates followers and dreamt of one day wearing the black and white strip of the Buccaneers. Beanpole elder brother August was a formidable shot stopper for the Dobra and Augustineum Secondary Schools team, respectively.
He joined boyhood team Pirates but found himself kicking his heels in frustrations as he could not make a breakthrough in the Ghosts’ starting lineup with agile Lewa Awaseb stationed between the sticks.
He finally got his big break in the country’s topflight football league when regular BA shot stopper Cakes Naobeb skipped the country to go into exile.
The giant net-guard secured the number one spot in the Gemengde outfit’s starting lineup and became an influential figure for BA. It was only fitting that his siblings would follow him to BA.
Both Katze and Otto found the going tough breaking into Buccaneers’ star studded lineup and had to be satisfied with sporadic cameo roles whilst also playing for Pirates’ second strings.
Deprived of first team action, Katze vacated the Buccaneers ship and joined Black Africa to be reunited with elder brother August. Nonetheless, the hard galloping Otto remained put at the Dolam outfit but game time was still very hard to come by.
Like his siblings, the overlapping fullback eventually abandoned the Buccaneers ship - only to resurface in Outjo in the vast Otjozondjupa region with the green and gold strip outfit Pubs FC. Otto was transferred to Outjo by his employers, TransNamib.
Former Pubs teammate Ole Aibeb, describes late Otto as a workaholic with a never say die attitude. “Otto was without a shadow of doubt the most influential player in our team. He commanded huge respect in the dressing room and would always encourage his teammates to put the interest of the team of personal glory. ‘His favourite phrase during team talk sessions was; “Guys, there are no jokes today…. none of the opposition players should be allowed to see your back after losing ball possession, nobody should dribble past you and should that happen, nullify their trajectory”.
“He always demanded that each and every player’s frame be covered in sweat to demonstrate their hard work and commitment. Otto was a complete footballer with great ball control…. it was very difficult to rob him rob him of ball possession because he was blessed with good feet. A dedicated and inspiring team player, he will be solely missed by the entire football family in his adopted town Outjo, May his soul rest in peace,”! Aibeb concludes.
After few seasons in the lower division with the Etoshapoort side, Otto retreated to the city of bright lights to be reunited with brothers August and Katze at BA in 1984.
Otto was welcomed with open arms and was to enjoy more time. He rose to prominence rotating with younger brother Katze and Fighter Louis in the right back position vacated by the juts retired Anton “Alacatz” Kurivera.
He became an integral part of the historic trident pairs of brothers playing for Black Africa simultaneously as the team would field three pairs of different brothers at the same time spearhead by the !Gaeb siblings Katze and Otto, Five and Steven “Falcao” Hochobeb as well as the Wermann brothers Atab and Willem.
Otto wore jersey number six (6) which was left dormant by the departure of club blue eyed boy Bernard Diocothle.
The latter left his boyhood team to join archrivals African Stars – much to the chagrin of the club’s diehards, only to return to his boyhood team but sadly perished in a horrific motor vehicle accident. May his soul continues to rest in peace.
A true gentleman on and off the field, Otto will be fondly remembered by those who rubbed shoulders with him including the author, as a down to earth kindhearted friendly, honest, well-spoken bloke of decent upbringing and amazing principals.
Otto will be laid to rest at the Pionierspark cemetery, south of Namibia’s commercial capital Windhoek, tomorrow morning. He was elder brother to departed local Mbaqanga vocalist Pius !Gaeb of Axarob fame. May their combined souls rest in peace.