WINDHOEK – History will reveal that the forced removal from the old location to the posh Katutura township in 1968 has left many of the location’s inhabitants in tatters and homeless as members of the Pirates football team would learn upon their return from their southern safari.
The entire Pirates playing squad and a handful of supporters went on a tour to Lüderitz in the southern part of the country to explore the beauty of the spacious Naukluft area in-between exhibition matches against local teams in the remote southern harbour town.
The team embarked on an old Chevrolet that had seen better days to tackle the long journey to Lüderitz on a historical tour that was initially planned to finish in the mother city of Cape Town, South Africa. The pick up belonged to one of the club’s founding members Freddy “Axarob” Haoseb – a schoolteacher by profession.
It took the travelling entourage almost a week to reach their destination since the clearly dilapidated and overloaded van in which they were travelling would break down at the slightest provocation.
With the vehicle breakdown and significant number of days spent on the road – the team’s budget became depleted and management resolved to cancel the trip to the promised land, Cape Town – leaving many in the travelling entourage heartbroken and disjointed, as they so dearly wanted to feed their eyes on the famous Table Mountain.
Upon their arrival in the city of lights (Windhoek) late in 1968 – members of the team were shocked to the core to learn that their sacred shack dwellings were flattened by caterpillars from the municipality on the instruction of Colonel Bowker, while their valuable belongings had been removed without their consent.
“Imagine one looking forward to return home after being away from home for such a long time only to be greeted by ashes where our houses used to be stationed,” recalls former Pirates sharpshooter Erich Hanstein.
Despite their customary wayward behaviour on the playing field, Pirates against all odds were able to attract some of the finest talent on offer to their nest.
Great footballers such as Werrick Zimmer, Anton Hoebeb, Eric Hanstein, Zebulon “Brazello” Haoseb, German-Fox Xoagub, Issaskar “Sky” Kuvare, Safe Kuruseb, Zorro Haoseb, Walter Hanstein, Naftalie Xoagub, Dennis Eiseb and Zebedeus “Flicken” Garoeb all descended on Dolam, making Pirates their new home.
Pirates became a major force to be reckoned with and competed fiercely in the popular knockout marathon tournaments across the length and breadth of the country. The inevitable arrival of neighbours Ramblers ignited the competition with teams such as Orlando Pirates, Black Africa, Flames, Tigers and African Stars all reigning supreme.
Under the tutelage of the charismatic elder statesman German-Fox “Tsigeib” Xoagub, Pirates were fearless opponents and many teams never cherished the chance of confronting the gold and black Dolam outfit.
Some of the club’s stalwarts were blessed with the rare opportunity of playing with and against the finest footballers on offer. Pirates made their presence felt as they competed fiercely in a knockout competition at the old Katutura stadium that saw them rubbing shoulders with the legendary Percy “Chippa’ Moloi, featuring for Etosha Lions (Chief Santos) as a guest player in 1969.
The club won its first decent silverware defeating the star-studded Black Africa in the final at the old Katutura stadium – the Meccah of domestic football in days gone by.
Pirates were part and parcel of a new dawn when authorities reluctantly gave the thumps up for the amalgamation of the two different football leagues (blacks and whites) to form one strong league under one umbrella body – the South West Africa Football Association (SWAFA) in the then South West Africa (SWA) way back in 1977.
As much as the team crafted a reputation of being a robust side with very little respect, if any, for basic rules governing the game of football – Pirates produced some real quality athletes and one of the club’s stalwarts Brazello was always a starter for the provincial teams.
Apart from the old generation of Werrick Zimmer, German-Fox Xoagub and Ericke Paulino – the pair of Brazello Haoseb and Safe Kuruseb counts among the finest players to have emerged from the shores of the fearless Dolam outfit.
As fate would have it, Pirates’ existence was disrupted prematurely when an angry bunch of their players lost their cool in a league match against Black Africa at the old Windhoek Showgrounds stadium. The agitated players led by burly framed defender Bernard Kamundu Horaeb and his partner in crime, another toughie simply going by the name of “Zambia”. The enraged pair resolved to take the law into their hands and ‘bliksemed’ the hell out of match official Martin Kehrmann, whom they accused of giving preferential treatment to their opponents on the day.
That action was to signal the end of the once darlings of domestic football as football officials in the Central Football Association were gatvol with shenanigans of that sort and resolved to suspend Pirates from all football-related activities – bringing to an end the era of this great club.
Although the severe sanction was received with mixed feelings among the football folklore – the grounded Pirates’ players were declared free agents and could freely join teams of their preferred choice with Brazzelo and Safe joining forces with Orlando Pirates and Black Africa, respectively, while the majority of the squad decided the call it quits.
However, one of the club’s stalwarts Moses Moles Owoseb, turned to referring and was to become of the best whistle men in the business. The friendly Owoseb also had a taste of international football when he was duly assigned to officiate in international matches in neighbouring Angola, soon after Namibia’s independence in 1990.