Without a shadow of doubt, Namibia with her relatively pocket size population has produced a significant number of great athletes who have gone onto excel beyond imagination on foreign territories.
It’s a well documented fact that internationally acclaimed sprinter Frank Fredericks, is the country’s most recognisable athlete but there were many great athletes whose exploits have gone unnoticed or rather undocumented. On the football field, local footballers are making waves in foreign leagues with the stinking rich South African Professional Soccer League (PSL) being the preferred destination.However, those who have opened the door for local footballers to display their God-given talents beyond the borders of their native land of the Brave – have been unintentionally thrown in the dustbin of has-beens in the absence of archived institutional memory. In today’s edition of your favourite weekly sports feature, Tales of the Legends, New Era Sports introduces to you our esteemed reader, some of the unheralded heroes.
Carlos “CK” Kambaekwa
WINDHOEK – A significant chunk of retired footballers to whom the beautiful game of football owes a massive debt of gratitude, are surely in dire need of some kind of recognition and acknowledgement.
Sadly, the majority of these great footballers have gone the way of all flesh whilst others are roaming around not even knowing where their next meal is going to come from.
Namibia gained her democracy from apartheid South Africa in 1990, exactly 28-years ago to be precise but despite the hardship and countless obstacles as a result of the much despised segregation laws – local footballers defied all odds staked against them making their presence felt on the sport fields.
History reveals that former Thistles and Atlanta Chiefs fast as lighting winger Hermann “Pele” Blaschke, was the first local footballer under the banner of the South West Africa (SWA) Bantu Football Association to sign a professional contract with the newly formed Kaizer Eleven in 1960.
When the visiting Kaizer Eleven touched down at the Eros Airport, Windhoek for few exhibition matches against Central Invitational side in 1969 – the trip yielded some positives for the two local footballers.
Spearheaded by a burly left footed forward, going by the name of Kaizer “Chincha Guluwa” Motaung, wearing jersey number 24 – the visitors toyed around with the locals in their opening match at the old Katutura stadium – taking the home team completely to the cleaners.
Football officials under the stewardship of shrewd administrator Simon Sisingi Hiskia, tiptoed to Swakompund to fetch the afro haired pair of Hermann “Pele” Blaschke and Ruby Kamulu as re-enforcements.
The locals would pay the star studded visiting side back in their own coin with the muscular Orlando Pirates forward, one Ishmael “Lemmy Special” Narib tearing their defence apart at will.
Kaizer and his charges have seen enough and by the time they returned back to Jozi, the free-scoring pair of Narib and Blaschke joined the club. The latter went onto establish himself as a vital cog in Chiefs’ rise to stardom.
Few years later, former Robber Chanties and Poison Cobra Football Clubs burly winger Eliphas Sabatha, signed for Kimberly outfit Dalton Brothers in the South African top tier football league in 1973.
The Grootfontein born winger also formed an integral part of the all-conquering SWA Invitational Bantu Eleven that won the biannual Impala Cup in Johannesburg in 1974.
The SWA Bantu Eleven clinched the prestigious South African Provincial Impala Cup in Johannesburg. Chiefs signed the Namibian pair of Oscar Mengo and Pius Eigowab whilst their Soweto rivals Orlando Pirates snapped up Doc Hardley and Steve “Kalamazoo” Stephanus.
However, it was not soft-pedaling and foam-rubber sailing journey for the Namibians, as they have to put up with an assortment of obstacles, punctuated by jealousy from their teammates.
There’s an old saying that you can’t have two bulls in the same kraal and Pirates were not immune to this adage with Hardley and the club’s blue-eyed boy, the legendary Jomo Sono both vying for the Ghosts’ poster boy tag.
Hardly was eventually shipped off to Durban outfit Umlazi Citizens. It was during his stint in Durban that the Grootfontein born lad would import his fellow countrymen.
The adorable gap-toothed playmaker used his influence and connections ushering in his homeboy Malaka Somseb, Killer Kamberipa and Kaputji Kuhanga.
The Orlando Pirates trident of Bigman Nanuseb, Alu Hummel and Gotty Gurirab also tested the rigours of professional football across the Orange River whilst Linton Aseb (BMC) also joined the exodus, albeit temporarily.
Across town in the predominantly lily white league, stocky forward Hasso Ahrens from Windhoek City FC was duly selected for the Currie Cup Springbok side in 1976 while former Ramblers skipper Gunter Hellinghausen also made the cut the following year.
In the interim, the lethal pair of Black Africa forwards Lucky Richter and Dawid Snewe had a short stint with Bloemfontein Celtics.
Brave Warriors heroics in the 1998 AFCON in Burkina Faso, propelled an exodus of local footballers, led by Mohamed Ouseb, Ricardo Mannetti, Robert Nauseb, Ronnie Kanalelo, Ruben van Wyk and few others plying their trade in the PSL.
New Era Reporter
2018-07-27 10:18:21 | 2 years ago