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Tribute to departed midfield wizard Hannes Louw, 1956-2023

2023-11-24  Carlos Kambaekwa

Tribute to departed midfield wizard Hannes Louw, 1956-2023

Indeed, Namibia has been beyond lucky to have watched you play the beautiful game with passion and virtuosity par excellence. Bro Hannes, you were an incredible football player, who simulated the effortless removal of candy from an unwary toddler. You accomplished this feat with remarkable prowess.

You have touched so many people, mostly football followers, with your breathtaking ball artistry. I was privileged to share the playing field with you through opposing ends – and to be brutally honest, it is a battle I have never looked forward to being engaged in. While I must admit that observing you was entertaining, competing against you was most certainly not cool. Bro Hannes was one of those athletes every sport-loving person would not mind parting ways with their last penny to squeeze their frame through the turnstiles just to watch him dish out those jaw-dropping, appetising long passes.

He started his amazing football career at the revered St. Joseph’s Secondary School (Dobra) and would also turn out for the boyhood team Chief Santos in his native town, Tsumeb. 

Being the younger brother of the great Albert Louw, Bro Hannes, was not prepared to live in the shadow of his more celebrated brother and carved his success with eye-catching displays for the exciting Nomtsoub outfit. It was not long before Katutura giants Black Africa came knocking on the door for his precious signature – and as they say, the rest is history. 

He arrived at the star-studded Gemengde outfit as a fairly unknown entity but quickly established himself as a vital cog in the team’s engine room alongside his elder brother Albert. 

The pair formed a telepathic combination as they carved open many defences with their cleverly executed passes and ball artistry, never witnessed before in the domestic football setup.

It was not long before his former Dobra teammate Pius ‘Garrincha’ Eigowab, aka ‘Pele’, persuaded him to join him at professional outfit Berea, campaigning in the None Racial South African Militant Football Federation League under the slogan, ‘No Normal Sport in an Abnormal Society’.

Interestingly, Berea had three Namibians on their books, namely Eigowab, Louw and former Orlando Pirates bulky staunch supporter-cum-bodybuilder Lazarus ‘Bokkie’ Tsamaseb aka ‘Tarzan’.

The latter was roped in as an emergency gloves man on the recommendation of his compatriot ‘auxiliary agent’ Eigowab, despite his highly questionable, patchy credentials as a footballer of note, if any.

Upon his return from South Africa, Hannes rejoined Black Africa and continued tearing apart defences with his delicious passes.  He was among the selected players
invited by the overly ambitious Katutura OD outfit, Flames Football Club, to tour Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) in 1978.

The visitors played a couple of exhibition matches in Bulawayo against local teams and also stretched their unsanctioned safari to South Africa for a series of friendly matches against teams from the militant South African Council on Sport (SACOS) Federation League.

The body was the sporting wing of the anti-apartheid liberation movement, with the ultimate aim of opposing apartheid and racial segregation through organised sports and their relentless pursuit of a democratic South Africa.  However, the tour turned sour, as the Flames were kicked out of football by the trigger-happy whites, who dominated SWAFA. That was the end of the road for the ambitious gold and grass outfit.

Nonetheless, Bro Hannes continued to represent his beloved BA and went on to win an amazing tally of silverware with the Kings of knockout cup competitions in the intervening years until his retirement from playing competitive football. 

Bro Hannes also represented his motherland in the highly competitive South African Inter-Provincial Currie Cup in 1983, effortlessly pulling the strings in the middle of the park.

He will be buried in Windhoek on
Saturday 2 December 2023.

2023-11-24  Carlos Kambaekwa

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