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Home / Tribute to the departed dribbling wizard Bernardus ‘Berries’ Rooi (1987–2023)

Tribute to the departed dribbling wizard Bernardus ‘Berries’ Rooi (1987–2023)

2023-07-28  Carlos Kambaekwa

Tribute to the departed dribbling wizard Bernardus ‘Berries’ Rooi (1987–2023)

History reveals that the southern part of Namibia has always been a happy hunting ground for Black Africa Football Club. The exciting Gemengde outfit significantly benefitted from recruiting amazing talent from that neck of the woods. The likes of Lucky Boostander, Masepo Dauseb, Lolo Goraseb, Paultjie Boostander and many other Southerners contributed massively to the unsurpassed success of Black Africa over the years.

Admittedly, Berries’ Arrival at Black Africa coincided with the gradual exit of the club’s blue-eyed boy, Lolo Goraseb. The latter was entering the sunset of his flawless playing career. The nimble-footed playmaker was recruited by BA founding member, the late Adam Lambert, while featuring in an official knockout cup tournament. May his gentle soul continue to rest in eternal peace.

Tellingly, it was a big task for the rookie tricky attacker to fill Goraseb’s big shoes, but the boy from Aranos gladly grabbed the opportunity with both hands, and went on to play a pivotal role in the middle of the park under the guidance of Smithly Engelbrecht.

Berries made his debut for BA against Ramblers at the Katutura Junior Sport Complex field. He hit the ground running, scoring a well-taken brace, and the pocket-sized holding midfielder has never looked back since. He cemented his place in the team’s star-studded starting line-up.

“Berries boasted massive ability, but the good thing about him is he was very versatile and could easily slot in any position across the forward line. And oh boy, he could shoot with both feet and he was an amazing magical game reader who could easily spot holes in the opposition’s rear-guard,” narrated close buddy and former teammate Nico Narib.

Like many young players, Berries developed itchy feet, and it came as no surprise when he abandoned the BA’s smooth sailing ship – only to resurface at bitter rivals Orlando Pirates… much to the chagrin of the BA’s trusted red army.

A bird of passage, Berries did not stay long with the Buccaneers and soon jumped ship to join cross-town rivals Ramblers Football Club under the stewardship of astute coach Christy Guruseb. 

After a few eye-catching performances for the Tunschell street boys, Berries left his new club only to wrap up his flourishing football career at the unfashionable, youthful Katutura outfit Citizens.

Nonetheless, the much-travelled and departed dribbling wizard will go down in history as one of the most-liked players of his generation. One of his many admirers, local community activist Shaun ‘Aspirilla Vision’ Gariseb, a BA diehard, describes Berries as a phenomenal player.

“Despite his rookie tag, Berries was so good that he had little difficulty cementing his place in the BA starting line-up. The boy effortlessly walked into the BA first team without having to shed an ounce of sweat and went on to win major silverware in his maiden season – certainly no mean feat. In 2011, a hastily assembled local invitational team went to participate in a tournament in Maun, Botswana and Berries’ impressive showing had a few teams lined up to sign him on the spot.

“On behalf of BA fans from D Block, we would like to thank you for the great memories you have left us with. What we once enjoyed deeply, we can never lose, for all that we love deeply becomes part of us. Rest softly unto the blossom of your Creator until the last day of resurrection,” concludes Gariseb in a touching tribute.

2023-07-28  Carlos Kambaekwa

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