Despite the frustrations of having to bide his time on the substitute’s bench for a period of three months – former Young Ones lightning striker Jacobus “Kosie” Springbok, finally got his first taste of topflight football by default.
At the tender age of 17, Kosie was thrown into the lion’s den when regular left-winger Dawid “Donkie” Majiedt, fell foul of coach Nose Morgenroth’s crime sheet.
The strict disciplinarian and mentor grounded the misbehaving and cocky Majiedt ahead of a crucial Mainstay Cup semifinal clash against giant killers Sorento Bucks at the old Katutura Stadium that would set up a grand finale against Katutura glamour football club African Stars.
The energetic youngster grabbed the chance with both hands and announced his arrival with a five-star display, while running circles around the static Bucks defence and crowned a splendid performance when he netted the decisive winning goal against Stars in the final.
The speedy winger also tasted the tough and demanding rigours of professional football with Bloemfontein Celtic in the South African Professional Soccer League (PSL), albeit temporarily, as his club Young Ones refused to let its most prized asset go on the cheap.
WINDHOEK – Unlike many of his peers who started their football in the lower leagues before graduating to the country’s elite league, Kosie’s journey was meteoric by dint of good fortune or by default.
His association with the spherical object started way back in his native town of Gobabis at the Nossobville Primary School, where the multi-talented and strongly built boy excelled in almost everything he laid his hands on.
Young Kosie was a sprinter of note and was the school’s highest try scorer as a full back or wing in the rugby discipline and was a mean striker on the football pitch – that was definitely not a mean feat for the raw youngster barely out of his shorts.
He progressed under the tutorship of teacher Iglanit Taylor who took him through the ropes in both the football and rugby codes.
He also played for the Nossobville outfit Eastham Football Club under the tutelage of Koos Brandt and also featured regularly for Epako-based outfit Easter Chiefs, whenever the opportunity presented itself.
Kosie is among few athletes of extraordinary skill in the mould of Namibian sport icon Frank Fredericks, who excelled beyond any expectations in all the sports codes they had tried their hand at.
By the time he arrived in the city of lights to further his education at Ella Du Plessis High School in 1982 – he immediately carved himself a place in the school’s second team where he played alongside the likes of Kawinga Kaunazondunge, Brian Isaacs, Tiger Goagoseb, Raymond Tanga, Reggie Willemse, Vennie Isaacs and Bassie English, among a horde of highly talented young footballers at the Khomasdal-based school.
It was during a school match against Döbra where former Young Ones executive member Otto Hansen spotted the electrifying youngster tormenting opposing defenders at will, with his amazing speed and canon-like shots.
The school team was mentored by teacher Clemence Kloppers, a former left winger with the star-studded Western Cape University football side where he rubbed shoulders with Danny Jordaan and compatriot Max Johnson during his younger days.
Ella won the tie 4-2 with the dangerous Kosie netting a well-taken brace – much to the delight of Hansen.
In the absence of reserve football team, young Kosie was made to chew on his nails on the substitutes’ bench since he could not break into the starting lineup of the exciting Khomasdal-based outfit deservedly duped “Kings of the Night’, as a result of the team’s exciting brand of carpet football, notably under floodlights after darkness had set in.
His inclusion in the Young Ones starting line-up was by default, since he was a last-minute replacement for the club’s blue-eyed boy - left winger Donkey Majiedt, who was relegated to the substitute’s bench as punishment for breaking a team curfew.
No-nonsense coach Nose Morgenroth, threw the speedy youngster into the mix of things and the Gobabis-born lad did not disappoint as he put up a sterling performance in his debut match against the formidable and dangerous Sorento Bucks.
His darting runs down the wing left many seasoned defenders gasping for fresh air while his bullet-like shots were menacing to any opposing net custodian who risked fracturing their fingers if they dared to interfere with his net-bound shots.
The usually hard to please football fans quickly took note of Kosie’s presence as the youngster became the toast of the exciting Khomasdal outfit.
He scored a cracking goal past the outstretched hands of the country’s most adored net guard, one Ndjiva Kauami, in the final of the popular annual Mainstay Cup at the Windhoek Stadium, as Young Ones beat African Stars 1-0.
In only his maiden season in the domestic topflight league, Kosie became the top goal scorer for six consecutive league campaigns as he rattled the net at will between 1986 and 1992.
His exploits on the football pitch prompted national selectors to include him in the League’s Invitational VI that competed in exhibition matches against visiting South African clubs such as Bush Bucks, Ace Mates and the Birds in the intervening years.
Kosie steered Young Ones to victory in the annual Metropolitan Cup when the Reds demolished the much-fancied Chelsea Football Club in the final.
He went on to represent Namibia internationally, including the African Cup of Nations qualifiers, albeit with minimal success and toured countries such as Madagascar, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), while he also graced the shores of Lesotho and Ethiopia with his club Young Ones in the now defunct Mandela Cup - Africa’s second tier club competition.
He tasted international football when he was selected for the Brave Warriors to represent the country against Mauritius in a Fifa-sanctioned international friendly at Windhoek’s Independence Stadium. Namibia won the tie 1-0, via Foresta Nicodemus’ lone strike.
Kosie was also a member of the Namibian invitation team, which competed against the visiting Spartak Moscow from Russia during Namibia’s independence celebrations in 1990. Among his team mates in that squad were: the legendary Jomo Sono, Karl-Heinz Rummenige and former Real Madrid and Spanish international Hector Camacho.
After being told by the club’s hierarchy that he was getting a bit long in the tooth and that it was time to step aside and give upcoming youngsters a chance – Kosie would have none of that and rather trekked across town to join Young Ones’ rivals Ramblers in a bid to rekindle his ailing football career.
After a somewhat see saw-season with the Tunchel Street Boys – Father Time came calling and Kosie retreated to his hometown of Gobabis where he hung up his soccer togs. But the sport crazy Kosie soon dusted off his togs and joined Gobabis Rugby Club, where he played at fullback and who will forget that memorable day when he dispatched a beauty from a last minute conversion to give the Cattle Country side a well deserved victory during Namibia’s independence celebrations in 2000.
He still regards former Hungry Lions and Black Africa’s lanky hard tackling defender, the late Ringo Skrywer, and former African Stars centre back Nico Hindjou as his toughest opponents during his playing career.