Kings of Night – Rise and Fall of Mighty Young Ones

Despite the fact that there were virtually no proper organized structures in domestic football and competitive league football, many football clubs used to engage in knockout tournaments playing for trophies and pride.

Competition on the field of play used to be very tough and dozens of aspiring young footballers found it extremely hard to make a breakthrough into established clubs where Thistles, Atlanta Chiefs, Eleven Strangers, Kaizer Chiefs, Rocla Pipes reigned supreme in the predominantly Coloured residential area, known as Khomasdal, holed up on the western outskirts of Namibia’s capital Windhoek.

Frustrated by the continuous lack of game time at the abovementioned clubs, an enthusiastic bunch of youngsters from Ella Du Plessis High School in the Khomasdal township decided to call into life their own football team to be known as Young Ones in 1972, and as they say, the rest is history.

The new club would engage in several low-key knockout tourneys in nearby towns and settlements such as Rehoboth and Groot Aub before spreading their swings to the coastal towns of Swakopmund and Walvis Bay. The Kings of Night became a much sought-after recreational commodity in action-starved local folklore.

Young Ones’ exciting brand of carpet football caught the imagination of football fans across the length and breadth of the country, and by the time the inevitable introduction of multi-racial football was effected in 1977 – Young Ones was rightly and justifiably included in the new setup.

However, the club had to start their long and industrious football journey in the second tier division of the highly competitive Central Football League.

This did not dent their aspirations as the club made a clean sweep in the lower division before gaining instant promotion to the elite Central League in 1983 – edging ahead of fierce rivals Hungry Lions and Sorento Bucks after football authorities introduced the internationally practised promotion and relegation formula.

One of the club’s key strikers Lance Willemse rewrote the history books when he was selected to represent the South West Africa (SWA) team for the prestigious annual South African Provincial Currie Cup across the Orange River in neigbouring South Africa in 1986.

He was one of only two players in history from the lower division to be bestowed with that distinct honour alongside Hungry Lions speedy toe-poking goal machine, the fast as lightning Justice “Jannaman” Basson to represent their native land at the highest level – leaving their more celebrated counterparts in the elite league green with envy.

Lance went on to represent SWA on several occasions against many visiting teams from South Africa and ranked among few players to have laid their palms twice on the now defunct prestigious Impala Cup in Johannesburg (1984) and Windhoek (1986).

The club still boasts an impressive resume in domestic football – having won numerous knockout cups including the coveted Mainstay Cup, Metropolitan Cup, JPS Cup and the Castle Cup Classic amongst its hordes of accolades.

Young Ones also represented Namibia in the continental club competitions and reached the second round of the CAF Club championships during the formative years of international football under the banner of world’s football governing body Fifa.

Who could ever erase from their mind that damn freezing night at the SKW Stadium that saw a fired-up youthful Young Ones outfit running rings around the formidable Black Africa, leaving them look like a disorganized flock of sheep – obliging the Gemengde outfit’s playing personnel to plead with the match official to stop the match and recount the fired-up Coloured boys.

Although the club played some amazing football under the stewardship of former Thistles defender Edward “Nose” Morgenroth, the arrival of former Ramblers tough-tackling fullback Gary Sales brought a new dimension to Young Ones’ style of play as the Khomasdalers claimed the scalps of the top guns to win several silverware.

As fate would have it, the club took a worrisome decline in performance after the majority of the old guard became a bit long in the tooth and started to faze out.

Amazingly, Young Ones suffered relegation, dropping to the national second tier division before more misery followed with another relegation to the third tier division.

This prompted the club’s stalwarts to put their shoulder to the wheel and revive the club’s ailing fortunes in a bid to restore the pride of Khomasdal residents in the absence of a truly representative football team for the vast Khomasdal community in the country’s flagship football league, the MTC Premiership.

Source : New Era