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Up close and personal with retired lethal attacker: Maximus Elago

2024-02-23  Carlos Kambaekwa

Up close and personal with retired lethal attacker: Maximus Elago

For a young, versatile midfielder to have made the impact he had is incredible; playing against ‘Bro Max’ was always going to be a mountain Kilimanjaro to scale. His positioning on the field was always excellent, whether playing as a forward, midfielder, or in defence. He was always a competitive warrior and a marvel to watch.

It speaks volumes for him as a person of integrity, let alone playing his entire career for unfashionable Mondesa outfit African Warriors, even if he had enticing offers from bigger clubs Blue Waters and Eleven Arrows, respectively. That kind of loyalty is a very rare commodity in modern football nowadays.

‘Bro Max’ was a model example of a one-club man, and he certainly deserves some respect in that regard. Let us go down memory lane on his amazing football journey that started in the salted wet streets of Mondesa, Swakopmund, during his formative years as a barefoot ‘Pikinini’. However, he only rose to prominence when he was sent to further his academic aspirations at the revered St. Joseph’s Secondary School (Döbra), located approximately 21 kilometres northeast of Namibia’s commercial capital, Windhoek.

He joined the hostel team Sorento Bucks, rubbing shoulders with other highly gifted young footies spearheaded by the great Oscar Mengo, John Hans, Bonifatius Kariirii Katire, Mike Hans, Stu Damaseb, Albert Karumbu Kahiha, and agile young goalie Godfried Lewa Awaseb.

In the intervening years, the versatile attacker cum midfielder managed to carve himself a starting berth in the school’s second team before he was elevated to the first team under the tutorship of Meester Willem Hans.

In the interim, ‘Bro Max’ turned out for Mondesa outfit Blue Boys Football Club, famously known as ‘Matambo’, during school holidays, where he made an immediate impact. Upon leaving school, the strongly built attacker retreated to his adopted town, Swakopmund. He teamed up with some of the town’s finest footies to call into life a new football team, which they christened African Warriors.

Some of his celebrated teammates were Abraham Apere Shikololo, Erastus Ace Kavendjii, Gervathius Gerries Arnath, Moses Maurihungirire, Kaboy Shovaleka, Seth Mataba Boois, Tjimbinae Kahuure, and trial-awaiting former Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources Bernard Esau, amongst a galaxy of stars.

“We assembled a very good team with the ultimate aim of having one strong team that will challenge the dominance of our neighbours Blue Waters, Namib Woestyn, Swakopmund Fussball Club, Eleven Arrows, Explorer Eleven, Atlantis, Sparta United, and cross-town rivals Celtics.

The new kid on the block established themselves as a top team, competing fiercely in several high-profile knockout cup tournaments. The Warriors reached the final of the coveted annual top-16 tournament in Tsumeb in 1985, only to stumble at the last hurdle against Cuca Tops.

Max ranks amongst some of the finest talents to have ever emerged from the Atlantic Ocean and should be spoken of in the same conversation as the likes of football greats in the following sequence:

Fritz Grosse Weischede, Eduard Zimmer, Hermann Pele Blaschke, Herbert Shorty Lohmeir, Ben Gonteb, Hansi Lohmeir, Ruby Kamulu, Linus Garoeb, Habasen Gurirab, Japhet Hellao, Alphews Gaweseb, Issy Kamara, Kaningandu Masilo, Ben Gaseb, Helmut Horstempke, and Heinrich Mandume Eusebio Kandjai, Benjamin Kleintjie Gaseb, Alfred Juku Tjazuko, Abraham Shikololo, Deon Broockes, Martin Ryder Kambanda, Deon Hotto-Kavendjii, Norman Ramakuthla, Largo Slinger, Edison Masinga Muheua, and many footies with a remarkable pedigree from that neck of the woods. 

Despite entering the sunset of his lodging on mother planet, aged 67, the proud father of a quartet of beautiful daughters is still unattached. Nowadays, a dedicated Mahangu farmer in the Oshikuku settlement, Omusati region, the now-retired all-rounder still watches the odd game on TV. He still has fond memories of his playing days. “The game of football taught us the values of life.We had a very laid-out foundation by our coach, Meester Willem Hans. He placed lots of emphasis on ball work and how to position ourselves when without the ball,” recalls ‘Bro Max’ with a twinkle of happiness filling his ageing eyes.

Although Elago was born in Okatana village, Oshana region, in 1956, the brother spent a significant chunk of his ‘kamatyona’ period in the windy coastal town of Swakopmund in the Erongo region. 

2024-02-23  Carlos Kambaekwa

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