Oscar Mulonda, the Unpredictable Zambezi Hawk

Way back in the mid eighties before Namibia’s Independence from apartheid South Africa in 1990, both Border Boys and King Fisher Football Clubs, were easily regarded by many as arguably the best and finest football entities in the entire Zambezi region.

Former Border Boys and Hawks FC’s sharp-shooting prolific net rattler, Oscar Mulonda is best remembered for a handful of special moments on the football field. g on the ground and amazing aerial power, he was the epitome of simple football and one of very few strikers, who guaranteed returns of no less than 20 goals per season.

The stocky midfield-cum-striker took no prisoners, blessed with an awesome change of pace, Oscar used to accelerate past opposing defenders leaving them for dead resembling zombies and could time his runs into the penalty box to unbelievable perfection.

New Era Sports caught up with the former Northern Ogongo Unam Campus, fast as lightning forward and incumbent Regional Head for Water Supply in Katima, as he relives his journey on the football pitch while expressing serious concerns over the continues lack of interest by local authorities to invest in the development of football in the vast Zambezi region.

KATIMA MULILO – It might be holed up approximately 1200-kilometers away from the Namibian commercial capital, Windhoek, but the sleepy town of Katima Mulilo, home to approximately ten-thousand inhabitants is buzzing with enthusiastic athletes.

Like in large parts of the Land of the Brave, the beautiful game of football enjoys massive following in that neck of the woods with more than 20 football clubs competing fiercely in various divisions including the popular social leagues.

Former Border Boys FC gly-built free scoring goal poacher, Oscar Mulonda, is one of many gifted athletes, who sacrificed their flourishing athletic careers to concentrate on football.

“I used to be a formidable high jumper who equally excelled in the triple jump event at school level at the Kaenda Primary, Sikosinyana Secondary and subsequently the Caprivi Senior Secondary School. I always finished on the podium during the popular zonal athletics meetings and was regional champion for a very long time,” reveals Oscar.

Born in Katima Mulolo in 1968, Oscar was football-crazy just like many other boys his age in the neigbourhood. He started chasing the spherical pigskin object at an early age and soon went onto represent the regional Secondary Schools Invitational side.

Oscar announced his arrival on the football pitch with countless outstanding displays during the popular exhibition matches. It was not long before the stocky midfielder was lured into joining forces with leading local football club, Border Boys, where he was tasked to supply killer passes to the forwards.

His keen eye for goals, convinced the Border Boys’ technical staff to upgrade him to the more glamorous centre forward position – a position he handled with absolute distinction.

He was to become the most complete striker in the North College team, representing the Ogongo Agricultural College that saw his unmatched goal-scoring prowess driving the crowds into madness.

In 1995, Oscar returned to his native Katima Mulilo and joined local outfit Black Hawks Football Club. Four years later, the deadly striker relocated to Windhoek to further his academic aspirations at Unam, but his inevitable move to the city of lights contributed immensely to the demise of Black Hawks FC.

Oscar returned two years later and was to play an instrumental role in reviving the ailing fortunes of his beloved Black Hawks. In his new role as chairperson, he led the team to a remarkable consecutive five league titles.

“We completely dominated football in the Zambezi region with very few teams incapable of matching us on the playing field. Unfortunately, the team always stumbled at the last hurdle whenever we contested the annual play-offs in search of promotion to the country’s elite league.

Oscar attributes the absence of football teams in the country’s top tier league to the heavy financial burden experienced by local clubs whenever it comes down to traveling long distance.

“To be quite honest, as much as we would like to see topflight football coming to Katima, clubs here just don’t have the necessary financial means to compete at that high level because of insufficient funds to cover traveling expenses.

“So, whenever teams from this neck of woods contest the play-offs, participating players are not taking the games seriously knowing very well in the back of their minds that it will take a Herculean act to sustain their operations in the Premier League”.

The football crazy Oscar, who also served as Chairperson of the Zambezi Football Association from 2006 to 2012, says despite the severe financial shortcomings experienced by football clubs in the Zambezi region, his undying wish is to have one g team representing the entire region in the country’s topflight league.

“There is an urgent need to do away with the customary tribal and zonal affiliation to clubs if we are to establish one competitive football team that can fully represent the Zambezi region and hoist the flag for a common goal”.

He adds that the Zambezi region is blessed with great footballers and highly gifted youngsters coming through the ranks but is afraid that talent will go to waste in the absence of highly competitive structures, especially in the MTC Premiership.

“People here in Katima are not willing to volunteer and until they change their attitude, the wish of playing in the country’s top tier league will always remain a pipe dream. Fortunately, many football clubs here have the leverage to recruit good foreign players from across the border in neigbouring Zambia and Zimbabwe respectively.

“However, as it stands, we can’t bring in those players anymore since football has become too commercialised because we will not be able to meet the players’ salary demands and accommodation while competing in the lower divisions”.

Oscar says the continues lack of sponsorships is seriously hampering progress which usually results in many talented athletes turning their backs on sports while still at the pinnacle of their sporting careers. He also lashed out at local business people for not wanting to sponsor sporting events of national interest.

“Its has been a massive challenge to convince and persuade the local business community to come on board as financial partners. This whole issue is also not made easier by the constant failure of elected officials to attend important meetings where crucial decisions are taken”.

Source : New Era