Let’s Save the Sinking Ship

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Carlos Kambaekwa Over the years, Namibia has witnessed a significant number of great football teams going the way of the dinosaur, and the author of this column is really shivering like a fired-up “Boere Orkes” every time the Namib Premier League standing is flashed over the printed media. Without beating about the bush, I would like to look at the sudden demise of a great team Etosha Lions, aka Chief Santos, from the Copper Town – what makes a football team suddenly become bad with virtually the very same technical and playing staff? Santos was one of the most consistent teams in the country’s elite league since Namibia’s Independence in 1990 and has in the said period won a good number of silverware including the coveted NFA Cup and league titles respectively. The team also served as a feeder for the national team the Brave Warriors and produced one of the most sought-after footballers in world, Mohammed “Slice” Ouseb, who almost made history by becoming Namibia’s first and only export to the English premiership, when Arsenal made advances to lure the bow legged defender to Highbury, but Namibia’s low ranking put paid to what would have been a lucrative move for the soft-spoken gentleman of Namibian football. I wish one could turn back the clock – who would ever forget Santos’ dominance in the mid-70’s when a young Selle Ochurub led an exciting outfit boasting a galaxy of stars such as the stylish Steps Nickel, the cool as a cucumber defender Max Johnson, Mannetjie Neidel, Conrad “Safari” Angula and many others who cut opposing teams down to size with the precision of a butcher. In later years, the generation of Khulu Geingob, Ben Neiseb, Jan Xamiseb, Pule Subeb, the Urikhob brothers Marcelus, Voete & Gerros, Engel Johnson and Lucky Kakuva, aag, the list is endless and my fingers are starting to tremble as I’m tickling the ivories on my keyboard right now. In years gone by, many teams evaporated from the face of Namibian football with no trace – great teams such as Namib Woestyn, Explorer Eleven, Sorento Bucs, Hungry Lions, African Warriors and Liverpool (though the latter’s franchise was dubiously acquired by SKW) not that I really mind since their initial entry into the league was also plucked with controversy. All the above-mentioned teams are now statistics and others such as Young Ones, Chelsea, Robber Chanties, Life Fighters are struggling to dribble their way around the lower divisions, while both Golden Bees and Benfica have adopted the yo-yo tag for their frequent visits to the country’s elite league only to make a quick retreat the following season. Life in the second division is certainly not a bed of roses and we as a nation cannot sit arms folded and watch the demise of a great team like Santos – what would life be like in the Copper Town without Chief Santos? When the mine shut its doors for business a couple of years ago, Tsumeb almost became a ghost town but two religions kept the flame alive – Santos Football Club and the historic Otjikoto Lake. Tourists from all walks of life stormed into the town to marvel at the amazing creation of the Otjikoto Lake, while Santos was winning trophy after trophy to keep the town’s inhabitants happy. Santos together with African Stars, Orlando Pirates, Black, Africa, Blue Waters, Tigers, and Eleven Arrows will always form the spine of any credible league in this country, notwithstanding their lukewarm performance on the pitch – these teams are a must for the existence of domestic football given their historic background. ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ºÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ºÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚º So, can we imagine a league without Chief Santos – nay my broer !! come on gents, pull up your socks and put your ducks in the row as the nation would really like to see Santos displaying the type of stuff the football loving fraternity have become accustomed to. I would like to urge the likes of Stone “Meester” Hoeseb, Selle Ochurub, Don Kavindjima, Freddy Guibeb and many others to gooi their hefty frames together and save Santos from sinking further into the doldrums. Heita outies, this dude urgently needs to refill – so until next Friday, it’s ADIOS for the time being!!.

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