Shooting From the Hip – Glory Days and Making Hay

AFTER much soul searching and head scratching as to what lies behind the reluctance of football fans to go through the turnstiles to watch local sporting events, including high profile football matches, yours truly has come to realize there are actually two reasons though both are distressing and wrong to the extent of seeming fundamentally weird.

Firstly, the overall performance of teams campaigning in the country’s topflight league is poor and the MTC Premiership is sub-standard with hopelessly too many average footballers in the mix of things, while many clubs go about their business unhindered without structured playing systems. To be brutally honest, our league lacks personalities in the mould of Norries Goraseb, Juku Tjazuko, Lucky Boostander, General Angala, Linton Aseb, Shakes Khomob, Orlando Damaseb, Dale Stephanus, Michael Claasen, Koko Muatunga, Skii Steenkamp, Kleintjie Gaseb, Congo Hindjou, Gerros Uri-Khob, Shaya Mwelasi and Mohammed Ouseb, as well as many others. These were highly gifted athletes who could not only entertain the paying customers with their silky skills, but were also capable of winning football matches with one moment of individual brilliance.

Yours truly has been inundated by calls from people wishing to know who was the best ever footballer to have emerged from our shores. Although football has been played competitively in the 1930’s, it was not until the late 60’s that local footballers started playing in organized structures. Since yours truly was still a pikinini in the true sense of the word in the 60’s, the following footballers come to mind. Timo Mwetuyela, Werrick Zimmer, Lemmy Narib, Gabes Mupupa, Phillemon Dacosta, Tommy Ushona, Black Kangootui, Floyd Maharero, Coloured Kakololo, German Gariseb, Danger Siririka, Ellen van Harte, Ruby Kamulu, Kirro Makati, Pele Blaschke, Spokes Tibinyane, Zika Williams, Nerab Gariseb and Nangi Nickel.

The next generation of great footballers led by Doc Hardley, Oscar Mengo, Grey Umati, Five Hochobeb, Pius Eigowab, Ambrossius Vyff, Ranga Lucas, Pieces Damaseb, Joseph Eiseb, Albert Tjihero, Kaputji Kuhanga and Malaka Somseb were also in a class of their own and out of the ordinary in many respects. However, the ongoing and seemingly unending debate among local football lovers is, who was the better footballer between Doc and Oscar? And while both were very influential players for their respective clubs Orlando Pirates and African Stars, logic suggests we must distinguish between best and most influential. Football wise, blokes like Lucky Boostander, Koko Muatunga, Dale Stephanus and Norries Goraseb were up there with the best on offer and could possibly be a notch better than the duo in question.

Secondly, the marketing aspect of our football leaves a lot to be desired and the buck stops with the local media houses and broadcasters, which appear hell-bent on promoting foreign products at the expense of local talent. As long as the local media remain divided with isolated views on the coverage of local sporting events, notably the beautiful game of football – Namibia will never realize her dream of transforming sports, football in particular, into self-sustainable business entities, with the ability to create employment for aspiring athletes. We are literally failing to make hay, while the sun shines. I rest my case.

Source : New Era