Up close with ‘Bazooka’, the adorable ball juggler … The untold football journey of Lucky Richter
For local football fans, it was the defining image of yet another setback or rather disappointment when a young nimble-footed winger going by the name of Lucky Richter, a product of the football-crazy Nama location, defied tradition by joining bitter rivals Black Africa instead of boyhood team, Orlando Pirates Football Club.
Nonetheless, on the football pitch Bazooka as Lucky was affectionately known amongst his teammates, was remarkably unaffected as he went about his business tormenting defenders at will with amazing pace and deft touches, which had the appreciative crowd in absolute awe.
The fleet-footed winger boasts a remarkable resume in domestic football, having played at all youth levels before representing his native land at senior level.
He also played an instrumental role when the visibly under-strength South West Africa (SWA) Invitational Eleven defeated Transkei 3-1 in the final of the biannual South African Provincial Impala Cup at the old Katutura stadium in 1985.
In today’s edition of your favourite weekly sports feature, Tales of the Legends, profiling our sports heroes, past and present, New Era Sport goes toe to toe with the retired ball juggler, as he relives his astonishing football
WINDHOEK – Former Black Africa, Sorento Bucks and Young Beauty Chiefs football clubs’ free-scoring forward, Lucky Richter, made waves with a flurry of goals that announced him as a future superstar.
A rare talent, the diminutive left-footed winger possessed the ability to create something out of nothing as can be attested by his well-taken brace when the under-strength South West Africa (SWA) side defeated Transkei in the final of the coveted Impala Cup.
Born in Namibia’s commercial capital Windhoek on the 23rd of September 1964 – Lucky grew up juggling a tennis ball in the dusty streets of Katutura.
He would often showcase his natural ball skills in the popular hotly contested 3-A Side clashes at the makeshift compact football arena at the Central Shopping Complex ‘Big Shops’ back in the day.
Lucky was amongst the main attractions during the popular unofficial exhibition matches at the gravel Ellis Park in Katutura where many youngsters were scouted by the big clubs.
Unlike many of his peers in the neighbourhood, Lucky was amongst very few blokes whose well-to-do parents could afford to enrol them at the revered M.H. Greeff Primary School in Khomasdal, before furthering his schooling at the AI Steenkamp (Katutura) and JA Nel secondary schools (Keetmanshoop) respectively.
It was while in Keetmanshoop that Lucky joined youthful Tseiblaagte outfit Young Beauty Chiefs Football Club where he formed a telepathic partnership with former Hungry Lions FC lethal target man Justice “Jannaman” Basson.
In the meantime, he would represent his native land at all youth levels, but the nimble-footed winger only rose to prominence when he joined forces with the emerging Katutura outfit Sorento Bucks FC, campaigning in the newly formed Central Namibia Football Association (CNFA) under the stewardship of local football guru Uncle Bob Sissing.
It was while playing in the black and white strip of Sorento Bucks FC that he was selected to represent his country in the final of the biannual Impala Cup.
Football authorities were obliged to assemble a new team after the bulk of players that steered the team to the final were deemed ineligible following the unavoidable establishment of the rebel NSSL in 1985.
Lucky announced his arrival on the big stage with a well-taken brace as the SWA amateurs brushed aside the visitors 3-1 in an exciting final at the Katutura stadium to claim a second triumph in the South African Provincial Cup tournament for Bantus.
SWA won the biannual cup in 1974 (Soweto - Johannesburg) and successfully defended the Trophy in 1987, in Johannesburg. Talent scouts from Black Africa had seen enough and wasted little time in roping in the winger to the Lions’ den and as they say, the rest is history.
Bazooka did not need any introduction in the top echelons of domestic topflight football. The pocket-sized winger hit the ground running forming a lethal partnership with Dawid “Big Fellah” Snewe, in the Gemengde outfit’s firing line.
Barely a year in the country’s flagship football league, the striking pair (Lucky and teammate Fellah) were snapped up by South African Professional Soccer League (PSL) outfit Bloemfontein Celtic.
After a short but successful stint with the Free State outfit, Lucky returned home to be reunited with his BA family. The energetic winger continued from where he left off and went on to win almost everything available silverware there was to be won in domestic football.
A trusted cadre of the club, Lucky spent a remarkable 17 years at BA – overseeing four different generations during an illustrious career at the Gemengde outfit.
Although he enjoyed a stellar career on the pitch, he cites former African Stars tough-tackling fullback George Gariseb, Orlando Pirates’ robust centre back Stimela Ndjao and Liverpool’s bone crunching defender Bimbo Tjihero as his toughest opponents during his playing days.
“Look, Bimbo was very aggressive and would at times go over the top but I still managed to get the better of them in many of our countless encounters,” says the articulate retired footballer.
Upon retiring from competitive football, Lucky ventured into coaching and ranks amongst few qualified football coaches from his generation.
The stocky winger stunned the world when he masterminded the Namibian Olympic (Under-23) team to a shock 3-1 triumph against the star-studded Nigerian team at Windhoek’s Independence Stadium.
What made that victory special was the brutal fact that the visiting Super Eagles had much hyped overlapping fullback Tayo Taiwo and many other big name stars in their starting line-up.
His coaching credentials grew in stature, prompting an upgrade to the national senior team, the Brave Warriors, though on an interim basis.
In later years, Lucky coached Black Africa FC and literally came to the team’s rescue staging a late challenge for the coveted title after a stuttering start to their MTC Premiership campaign last term.
Despite starting halfway through the season, Lucky’s influence and expertise propelled BA to finish the season strongly as well deserved runner-up.
2018-11-09 10:12:11 4 days ago