• December 13th, 2019

Unpacking the football journey of midfield architect Golla van Staden

A defiant Central Namibia Football Association (CNFA) League with its headquarters holed up in the heart of the predominantly coloured residential area Khomasdal, produced a significant number of highly gifted young footballers before Namibia gained her long overdue democracy in 1990. Operating under the stewardship of shrewd football administrator, the wideawake hippy lookalike Uncle Bobby Sissing, the non-racial rebel league under the much despised slogan “no normal sport in an abnormal society” unearthed extraordinary youthful athletes who went on to become much sought-after commodities in the country’s topflight football league.

Amongst those that caught the eye were Brian “Oubaas” Isaacs, Elgin “Sputla” Masite, Frederick “Tollie” van Wyk, Bassie English, Connie Mouton, Karel “Shotgun” Mouton, Bryan “Golla” van Staden, Totii Hanavi, Bassie English, Bobby Tjiho, Mac Camm, Devon “Vlam” Jansen, aka “Flamero de Janeiro”, Patrick “Mandla” Kaizemi and Willem “Oom Joep” Cloete, amongst others. Sadly, the popular league crumbled when football local authorities resolved to merger all football leagues under one umbrella body that would represent a newly born Namibia. At the time, apartheid South West Africa (SWA) had three separate football leagues, namely, the highly competitive breakaway Namibia Soccer Super League (NSSL) Amateur Soccer Association (ASA), CNFA and various regional football leagues under the banner of South West Africa Football Association (SWAFA). Almost all the football clubs from the minor or rather less competitive leagues disbanded with many of their playing personnel obliged to join other clubs in the newly established Namibia Premier League (NPL).

The unavoidable change of guard signaled the long and slow demise of the beautiful game in Khomasdal even though both Civics and Arsenal amalgamated in an effort to have a strong team that could compete fiercely in the country’s topflight football league. A few squad members from Arsenal FC were swallowed in at Civics with a significant chunk going in the opposite direction, joining forces with ambitious Pionierspark outfit Ramblers FC while others found refuge with exciting Khomasdal outfit Young Ones Football Club. And while his teammates went into opposite directions, hard wor4rking young midfielder Golla van Staden stayed put and was to play a pivotal role in the Civilians’ upsurge in domestic football over the years.


WINDHOEK – It’s quite strange that somehow Namibia’s long awaited independence coincided with many of the country’s football stars having almost reached the twilight of their flourishing football careers.

Football greats such as Doc Hardley, Grey Umati, Ishmael “Lemmy Special” Narib, Oscar “Silver Fox” Mengo, Hugh “Bobby” Craddock, Daniel “Pieces” Damaseb, Ivo de Gouveia, Hasso Ahrens, Ranga Lucas, Willy Rwida, Sagarias “Celle” Auchumeb, Uwe “Etoko” Bachmann, Orlando Damaseb and Johannes “Storm” Khom-Gaiseb were all starting to get a bit long in the tooth.

Though many embraced the spirit of unity prevailing in democratic Namibia, racial and tribal segregation sadly remained firmly entrenched in the veins of the country’s inhabitants. As a result, recreational entities would be confined to location attachment, punctuated by familiar territories.

By the time a new umbrella body was called into life to oversee all football related activities in the new Namibia – Khomasdal was left with only two representatives in the elite football league.

This scenario hastened the unavoidable merger of former CNFA affiliates Arsenal and Civics football clubs. And while the majority of the Civilians stayed put, a significant number of Arsenal squad members sought refuge elsewhere with only few remaining to join forces with the Civilians.

Amongst those transferred to the Bethlehem Boys’ stable were inspirational ball juggler Sputla Masite, goalkeeper Mac Camm, speedy defender Ralph Blaauw and attacking midfielder Golla van Staden.

Born in Windhoek on the 4th of August 1970, Bryan “Golla” van Staden grew up in Khomasdal. He started his schooling at the Gammams Primary School in Khomasdal and regularly featured for the school’s football team.
“There was basically no other recreational activities going on apart from football and rugby but most young boys preferred chasing an inflated pigskin (football) because one just needed two objects to be stationed as goalposts and a piece of round plastic or leather to play football,” recalls Golla nostalgically.

Young Golla would go on to represent his native land (SWA) at provincial level when he was selected for the militant non- racial Central Namibia Football Association (CNFA) Youth teams. “I played for the Under-12 and Under-16’s in Benoni, Johannesburg and Durban, South Africa, respectively.”

The stocky midfielder rose to prominence when he went to further his studies at the revered Ella Du Plessis High School.
“It should be noted that in those in those days, football was very competitive at school level but we had a very good team laden with highly gifted youngsters and stood our ground against any opponent. We competed fiercely against the likes of Augustineum, Dobra, Centaurus, A Shipena and other high schools in the central region.”

In the meantime, the tireless midfielder joined forces with newly established Khomasdal outfit Arsenal Football Club, campaigning in the popular CNFA league.

However, it was not until all local football leagues were swallowed into sub leagues under the banner of the Namibia Football Association (NFA) in 1990 that Golla started showing his mettle.

The hard running midfielder won several accolades for the mid-table Civilians, spearheading the youthful “Bethlehem Boys” to a pair of runner-up spots and four trophies in the country’s flagship football league.

A trusted servant, Gola sent shockwaves amongst the team’s ardent followers when the stocky winger jumped ship alongside teammate Jerry Zimmer to join Katutura giants and boyhood team Black Africa FC. After an unfruitful see-saw season – the pair retreated to the Civilians nest with their tails tucked between the legs.

With time calling on his weary tiny frame or rather overworked pair of ageing legs, Golla left his beloved Civics for the second time – only to resurface at ambitious division one campaigners Invincible Football Club under the stewardship of former Ramblers FC and Brave Warriors lethal goal poacher Joseph “Draaitjies” Martin.

The versatile midfield-cum-winger eventually called it a day to primarily concentrate on coaching. Subsequently, he successfully obtained an assortment of coaching badges including the Periodization qualification from the Netherlands and the FIFA Women’s Football coaching licence.

Golla is the incumbent assistant coach of the Namibian Women’s Senior Football team, the Brave Gladiators, deputising Brain Isaacs – a position he has uninterruptedly held for the last 15 years. The latter succeeded Jacque Shipanga, a FIFA Accredited Women’s Football coach.

Carlos Kambaekwa
2019-05-24 10:24:31 | 6 months ago

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