18 Nov 2011 - Story by Carlos 'CK' Kambaekwa
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WINDHOEK - It's fair to note that former Tigers shot stopper, Moses "Khanyeza" Seibeb, is not exactly remembered for his heroics between the sticks but more for the uncompromising manner in which he dealt with troublesome strikers. Tigers have always been found wanting in the goalkeeping department, ever since the premature departure of Nandos "the Cat" Mbako, in the early seventies. Nandos' departure coincided with the shocking news of Times Mwetuyela's untimely death â€" bringing an end to the golden era of the country's oldest football club, while a significant number of the club's stalwarts also called it quits as a result of advanced age.
Butterfingered Bollie Kandonga was thrown into the lion's den to fill the big void left by the acrobatic Nandos, but could not come anywhere near the irreplaceable "Big Cat" and it was inevitable that he would make way for the bulky Seibeb.
During a football career that has taken him from Mariental-based Bee Bop Brothers (BBB) to Tigers, via Explorer Eleven (Walvis Bay), Southern United Brothers (SUB - Arandis), Chelsea (Grootfontein) and Battle Boys (Okahandja) â€" Bra Mokes took no prisoners as dozens of strikers who came face to face with him on one-on-one situations would testify.
The multi talented giant shot-stopper always came across as a rough guy but in real life - he is a likeable dude who likes cracking jokes and is a much sought-after musician who is at home with many brass instruments, notably trumpet and tuba.
Born in the eastern town of Mariental, young Moses was like any other youngsters in the neighbourhood â€" football crazy but unlike many great goalkeepers who started out as outfield players, Bra Mokes was stationed between the sticks since day one and was content to stop marauding strikers right in their tracks.
Growing up in Mariental's vastly populated residential area, Aimablaagte â€" it was inevitable that he would join his childhood buddies after school to chase leather in the dusty streets of Aimablaagte.
It was not long before he caught the attention of scouts from the township's glamour football club, Bee Bop Brothers (BBB), who managed to lure the youngster to their stable where he rubbed shoulders with the likes of Terry Cooper, Edu and Izaak Swarts.
He got a job with the South West Africa Railway Station and was immediately transferred to Walvis Bay, as a railway police officer in 1975. Bra Mokes was to represent South West Africa at the annual South African Provincial Railway Games in Bloemfontein.
"We did fairly well during our three matches over there. We enjoyed mixed results winning one, drawing one and losing the final match," recalls the 56-year old goalkeeper-cum-musician.
It was in Walvis Bay that he joined exciting Kuisebmond outfit Explorer Eleven. He went on to enjoy some success under the leadership of legendary midfielder Johannes "Storm" Khom-Khaiseb.
As fate would have it, the giant goalkeeper contracted pneumonia and had to relocate to nearby Arandis as per directives by his doctor. He wasted little time and became a founder member of Southern United Brothers (SUB) FC, a club mainly composed of footballers from the South.
After a few seasons manning the sticks at SUB â€" Bra Mokes found himself in the garden town of Okahandja where he joined Nau-Aib's glamour Football Club Battle Boys.
e quickly established himself as a reliable shot stopper and when Tigers visited the Garden Town for a friendly match against the exciting black and white-stripped outfit â€" the pair of Grey Umati and Mentos Hipondoka had seen enough.
Before he could wipe out his eyes â€" Bra Mokes found himself playing for the country's oldest football club Tigers to replace the jittery Bollie Kandonga in goal. His arrival at Tigers surely stabilized the team and Tigers duly returned the compliment by winning the coveted league title in his debut season.
His team mates at the star-studded Tigers outfit were: the Umati brothers Grey and Kumi, Brown Amwenye, General Angala, Dale Stephanus, Steve Haihambo, Vincent "Botsotso" Hermann, Mentos Hipondoka, Abner Tobias, Issy Naruseb, Fernando Simao and Boy-Boy Ndjadila.
"It was very easy to fit in with the boys because both Mentos and Brown could speak Nama fluently - thus allowing us to mingle easily. We had a very good team and very few teams could match us on our day," boasts the man who was nicknamed Khanyeza after former Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeper Moses Khanyeza.
He was given the name by former African Stars sharp-shooter Jackson Meroro â€" the man who always gave him sleepless nights with his canon-like shots whenever Tigers faced the Reds with the red-hot Jackson in the firing line.
Bra Mokes also had sporadic spells with Khomasdal-based outfit Western Suburbs.
After a successful stint with the Donkerhoek outfit â€" Khanyeza developed itchy feet and moved back to his native town Mariental of rejoin Bee Bob Brothers.
However, his stay would not last long after former Chelsea mentor Meester Ellis Uwanga went on vacation to his hometown â€" only to discover the bulky shot stopper.
Uwanga, the man accredited for moulding Chelsea into the most exciting football unit ever to emerge from the shores of this country in the early eighties, persuaded the imposing Khanyeza to accompany him up North and join forces with the Grootfontein outfit and as they say, the rest is history. He made his debut in the gold, red and green colours of Chelsea in the popular Top 16 tournament in Tsumeb and put in a sterling performance that propelled Chelsea to victory. The Orlando Damaseb-inspired Chelsea outfit won the tournament â€" seeing off Black Africa with a comprehensive 5-2 score line in the final.
With Khanyeza commanding the sticks with a great measure of maturity â€" Chelsea started to dominate domestic football and became the envy of every football follower and players alike with their carpet football and trademark breathtaking goals from long range.
He was on the substitute's bench on that fateful day when referee one Arnulf Schmidt denied Chelsea a famous victory in the Mainstay Cup final, when he awarded a highly disputed spot kick to Black Africa at the Windhoek Show Grounds in 1982.
"I played with some of the top clubs in the country including Tigers, but in all honesty, Chelsea was a cut above the rest. That team was like a well-oiled machine because all the players in the squad brought a different dimension to our style of play. The guys complemented each other perfectly â€" Orlando was a great dribbler who was equally blessed with a canon-like shot using both feet. Pieces could shoot from any range, George could read the game well and was a great passer of the ball, Dave Ameb could mark the hell out of any striker, while many goal poachers dreaded coming face to face with big Lazza."
He holds the late former Orlando Pirates striker Hendrik "Doc" Hardley in the top bracket of great footballers. "That guy had unbelievable confidence and could do anything with the ball at his feet. In actual fact, Doc possessed all the attributes required ofa complete footballer. He could beat any goalkeeper from his trademark penalty kicks â€" Doc would arrogantly tell you right to your face that he was going to put the ball in a particular corner from the penalty spot but goalkeepers could still not stop his well-executed spot kicks."
Seibeb strongly believes the progress of talented footballers in the modern game has been severely stifled by coaches with their far-fetched European ideologies.
"During our time, we did not have qualified coaches and only discussed tactics during the half-time break and the players responded in the most dignified fashion afterwards. But nowadays, the coaches are restricting players from unleashing their natural talent."
Currently, Seibeb is running his own music school - teaching aspiring musicians the finer points on brass instruments. He is one of very few local musicians who can play sheet music.
"I was exposed to music at an early age by Father Fritz Schneider at the Lutheran Mission in Otjimbingwe way back in 1969." Bra Mokes joined the Namibian Defence Force (NDF) Brass Band and managed to graduate to the plum position of Tuba Master.