• July 4th, 2020

Up close with ‘Momina’

Katutura giants Orlando Pirates Football Club has in the past produced a significant number of great athletes, albeit in different packages.

Replacing club legends has never been the easiest of tasks for any aspirating Buccaneer but when fairly unknown giant striker Theopoldt Gurirab, aka, Theo, arrived at the Ghosts from Khorixas, he was tasked to partner veteran club legend Ishmael “Lemmy Special Mabaso” Narib, well in the twilight of his otherwise blossoming prolonged football career.

Theo was one of the trident of football playing siblings with younger brothers Gotty and Giddies also great athletes in the own right. And even though he did not possess the technical ability of Gotty, Theo was a menace to many opposing defenders. 

Whilst his playing style did not inspire the confidence of the neutral football fan, the big frame goal poacher was quite a handful in the penalty box - harassing defenders at the slightest provocation to the extent that African Stars supporters christened him “Momina” the sniffing dog.

Theo was the kind of striker who could guarantee any coach 30 plus goals a season – certainly no mean feat. In modern football, his unorthodox playing style can be likened to that of Southampton gangling striker Danny Ings.

WINDHOEK –History reveals that Orlando Pirates Football Club were given a raw deal when they lost the final of the now defunct prestigious Mainstay Cup in controversial against German outfit Sport Klub Windhoek {SKW} aka “Immerwider” at Windhoek stadium in 1979.

The Dios Engelbrecht’s coached Ghosts arrived in high spirits at the newly built Windhoek stadium to defend the trophy they stylishly wrestled away from inaugural winners African Stars, dispatching bitter rivals Black Africa in a closely contested action packed final at the full house Katutura stadium the previous year via young Eric Muinjo’s solitary strike.

For some strange reason, Pirates arrived 45 minutes late for the scheduled kick off but fearing a potential crowd disturbance by the paying customers, event organizers allowed the match to go ahead unhindered. 
Little did the Ghosts know that the white dominated SWAFA Executive has already taken a decision to declare SKW “legitimate” winners via the green table verdict in the boardroom - much to the chagrin of the Ghosts’ hordes of followers and the clearly heartbroken dejected Pirates’ playing personnel.   

On the pitch, the match started on a frantic pace with the Germans, spearheaded by veteran striker Hasso Ahrens, dictating terms as they took a two-goal cushion and looked destined for a well-deserved victory until “Momina” singlehandedly took the game by the scruff of the neck.

The gangling goal poacher, was the chief architect of an otherwise entertaining encounter – capping a near faultless display with a well taken brace to give the Ghosts a comfortable 5-3 win after extra time after the tie ended 3-all in regulation time. 

However, the joy turned into agony when the players learned with utter shock and dismay that their victory has been nullified as the tie was rendered an insignificant match of convenience, ostensibly because of Pirates’ mysterious late show. 

The Ghosts’ players were left flabbergasted and vacated the field in anger point-blankly refusing to set foot at the podium to receive their “runner up” medals as SKW were unjustifiably declared winners of the prestigious Mainstay Cup.

Although “Immerwieder” will go down in the history books as the winners of the 1979 edition of the annual much sought after Mainstay Cup, the author can reveal that during a conversation with Hasso Ahrens in later years. 

The latter expressed disappointment whilst expressing genuine regret at the boardroom decision, acknowledging that the decision was without a shadow of doubt not in the best interest of football.
Despite the setback, Theo continued to rattle the opposition’s net at will in the domestic league and popular knockout cup competitions benefiting immensely from the late pair of Doc Hardley and Norries Goraseb’s avalanche of ball supply.

Interestingly, a significant chunk of his goals found their way to the net via any part of his big frame, be it from the knee, chin, belly, chest or any readily available nearest body part – Theo will go down in history as one of the most deadly goal poachers in domestic football.
Born in Omaruru in the vastly populated Erongo region in 1953, Theo started life as a footballer with local team Flying Boys FC. 

His next stop was Epako outfit {Gobabis} Cola Punch FC, to be rechristened Easter Chiefs Football Club in the intervening years.

“Momina” went onto further his secondary education at the revered Cornelius Goraseb High School {Welwitschia} holed up in Khorixas, Kunene region.

His arrival in Khorixas coincided with the sudden emergence of the Welwitschia football outfit as the Wilfred “Mini” Nawatiseb’s inspired students started to make serious inroads in domestic knockout cup competitions across the length of the country.

In the meantime, the football crazy forward formed his own team Orlando Pirates alongside former Chief Santos’ deadly striker Celle Auxumeb and his cousin Hendrik Dawid.

A Jack of all trades, Theo also excelled on the athletic track and was a noted long distance competitor.
“Laughs….I was obviously not the best but would always finish on the podium amongst the top three finest long distance runners in the highly competitive national schools meetings,” recalls the gentle giant.
In 1978, “Momina” {Theo} retreated to his adopted village town Khorixas and joined forces with local club Robber Chanties FC where he was to be installed as player/coach of the exciting outfit.

“We had a very good squad but most of the players were not exposed to competitive football while some of them have never seen the sight of the Atlantic Ocean. 

“I took the team to places like Walvis-Bay and Windhoek”. Spearheaded by burly midfielder Eliphas Sabatha, Robber Chanties won promotion to the elite league during Momina’s short tenure in Khorixas. 
Sadly, his newly found romance with the gold and navy outfit was cut short as he relocated to the city of bright lights {Windhoek} to be reunited with his beloved Ghosts.

“Momina” brought along with him the dangerous striking trident of Moloi Amadhila, Eben Ndjuella, Kleintjie Gaseb and as they say, the rest is history. 

The big frame net buster continued to rattle the opposition’s net - winning several knockout cup tournaments including the coveted Central Football Association {CFA} league title to crown a stellar football career.    

His astonishing goal scoring prowess did not go unnoticed, as “Momina” was deservedly included in the Invitational Central Eleven for a pair of exhibition matches against the visiting Orlando Pirates and Marokko Swallows from South Africa respectively, though he did not make any appearance on both occasions.

Upon retirement from competitive football, elder son of salted multi lingual roaming detective police officer, the late Lazarus Gurirab – May his soul continues to rest in peace, Theo went onto establish himself as a noted scribe. 

The nonsense law enforcer instilled discipline, respect and integrity in his siblings, drumming into their skulls the value and importance of education, “Momina” joined ranks with the South West Africa {SWA} Broadcasting Corporation {SWAUK} Damara/Nama radio station as an astute announcer/programme producer. 

However, the big frame number nine developed itchy feet - only to resurface at Afrikaans daily newspaper Die Republikein where he was to cement his place as a specialized multi skilled pen pusher.

Loide Jason
2020-01-10 08:08:51 | 5 months ago

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