OTJIWARONGO – A product from the unheralded School of Excellence (football-wise), St Joseph’s Secondary School (Dobra) holed up northeast of Namibia’s commercial capital Windhoek, the pop star look-alike Uri-Khob was one of the most recognisable and much-adored footballers of his generation.
Though he was born in the copper town, Tsumeb, Uri-Khob was raised in the city of lights, Windhoek. He started his primary school at St Joseph’s School (Dobra) and it was here that the humorous Uri-Khob was exposed to sports at an early age during his formative years.
From day one, Uri-Khob was a mean athlete, who excelled tremendously in the track events on the athletics track making the 100 and 200-metre sprints his own property.
His straightforward style of play that saw him taking on defenders at full speed resembled that of an old-fashioned forward and earned him admiration from club usually hard-to-please BA followers, including opposing supporters.
Uri-Khob joined a local football club from the school’s hostel going by the name of Sorento Bucks where he played alongside the likes of Kandas Paulinho, George Martin, Stu Damaseb, Lewa Awaseb, Xarab Gariseb and a horde of other highly gifted young boys at the school hostel.
Like many of his peers from the school team, Uri-Khob was snapped up by Katutura giants Black Africa and joined a group of highly talented footballers from that neck of the woods and as they say, the rest is history.
He was to form a dangerous combination with George Martin and Crooks Casper in the intervening years and became the toast in line up of the all-conquering BA side that swept their opponents aside to dominate proceedings in domestic football.
Uri-Khob was a valuable member of the invincible BA side and contributed immensely to BA’s success, propelling the club to back-to-back Mainstay Cup titles in 1982 and 1983 at the expense of Chelsea on both occasions.
His exploits on the playing field brought him some rewards, as he was duly selected to represent a South West Africa touring side in Upington. After a few seasons with his beloved BA, Uri-Khob received a tempting employment offer from giant financial institution
Barclays Bank, to be rechristened First National Bank (FNB) in later years.
In 1985, the country witnessed the biggest split in the annals of local football leading to the inevitable birth of the highly competitive Namibia National Soccer League (NNSL) under the mentorship of the late Daniel Tjongarero, Oscar Mengo, Five Hochobeb and Stanley Kozonguizi that was to change the face of local football.
Uri-Khob relocated to Swakopmund and joined forces with coastal rivals Blue Waters in Walvis Bay but the speedy winger was soon in familiar territory as he came back to haunt his former team by scoring the decisive winning goal against his former team in a crucial knockout cup match in Windhoek.
His lone goal eliminated BA from the knockout tournament and did certainly not go well down the throats of the club hierarchy, who immediately set plans in motion to summon their former blue-eyed boy back home.
Uri-Khob rose to prominence when he joined the club, as a youngster from Dobra alongside many talented youngsters, who honed their skills in the star-studded BA second strings.
He was to rub shoulders with the likes of Kandas Paulinho, Magic Mamaringane, Pierre Janeiro, Mike Awaseb, Zambia Motola and other talented youngsters who struggled for game time in the star-studded BA first team.
Having won almost everything there was to win in the game of football, Uri-Khob sent shockwaves among football lovers when he hung up his boots to go into building construction business while still at the pinnacle of his flourishing football career.
“In all honesty, I must confess I was extremely lucky to be surrounded by so many great footballers in the mould of Lucky Boostander, George Martin, Five Hochobeb, Safe Kuruseb, my elder brother Corrie, Crooks, Albert and Hannes Louw, Mike Hans, Joseph Eiseb, Rusten Mogane, Cakes Naobeb, Alacatz Kurivera, Steven Hochobeb and Xarab Gariseb to mention but a few,” recalls Uri-Khob with a twinkle in his Irish eyes.
Although he would occasionally turn out for family team Chief Santos in his native Tsumeb as a guest player during school holiday – the strongly built winger was your typical one-team man and still follows his boyhood team Black Africa wherever they play.
“We played some great football and used to attract lots of supporters to our matches notably when playing against African Stars. The vibe was always great prior to the ball getting rolled and the crowd responded positively so that kind of stuff would galvanise the players to give their best shot.”
Uri-Khob, who looks much younger than the 54-odd summers behind his back, has great admiration for the departed African Stars huge framed holding midfielder Kaika Kuzee. “That guy was a complete footballer, strong in the tackle, excellent ball shielding, great passer of the ball, possessed unbelievable endurance and never lost focus – he was really a marvel to watch”.
“In those days, there were great athletes in abundance but the guy that really gave me sleepless nights was Albert Tjihero. I vividly remember our countless battles dating back to our school days at Dobra, he was a tough nut to crack, I honestly never cherished that mere sight of coming face to face with him on the football pitch”.