Ode to a gentle giant – gone too soon, Connie Samaria 1955-2015

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WINDHOEK – Born in Otjiwarongo on July 22, 1955, Connie started his primary school in his native town before he went to further his studies at the Cornelius Goreseb School in Khorixas.

It was at this institution where he was to come across and rub shoulders with other football-crazy young boys from that neck of the woods. It was not long before he started making his presence felt featuring regularly for the school’s first team where he rapidly rose to prominence.

After leaving school, Connie relocated to the harbour town of Walvis Bay to be reunited with his elder siblings Freek, Bossie and Killa.

It was obvious that he would join forces with the maroon and gold strip outfit. He took up employment with Metal Box and eventually settled down in Kuisebmond, the town’s largest residential area for natives.

Connie was one of seven sons out of 11 siblings, eight sons and three daughters including Namibia’s track queen and Commonwealth medallist Agnes Samaria’s old lady.

A large chunk of his brothers also turned out for Eleven Arrows with the exception of Anton and Gabes. The latter featuring for Silent Killers FC in his native Orwetoveni township in Otjiwarongo.

His arrival at Arrows coincided with the club’s rebuilding process going into the third generation of the seasiders. This was after the retirement of the club’s stalwarts such as Lazarus Shikwambi, Lompie Viringa, Fonnie Hummel, Vic Kempo, Bossie Samaria and Wilfred “Mini” Nawatiseb, who all hailed from the club’s second generation.

Arrows was built on a sound foundation

The club always had in their armoury the finest footballers in the business led by the late Heinrich Horongo Haufiku, Ben Tembo, Lefa Kaifwana, Gabes “Flying Fish” Mupupa, Tommy “Speedtrap” Uushona, Jack Brown, Nangi “Watch” Nickel and many great footballers including the late dribbling wizard Times Mwetuyela.

Alongside elder brother Killa, Connie was to form the spine of the Arrows rearguard – one of very few football clubs not to have been established along tribal lines as can be attested by the number of athletes from various cultural diversity who have plied their trade with the exciting Kuisebmond outfit up to this modern day.

A tough tackler, Connie was blessed with pace and could easily handle hot strikers such as Frank Fredericks and many other speedsters at any given time. His commitment on the playing field led Arrows to become one of the most feared teams in the business.

He was a valuable member of the Eleven Arrows side that formed part of the breakaway Namibia National Super League (NNSL) in 1985 and was to play a pivotal role in steering the team to greater heights as well as overseeing the fortunes of his beloved club in the intervening years.

Upon retirement, Connie threw his weight behind his brothers Killa and Freek, assisting in the administration of the club whenever the need arose. Connie will be laid to rest in Swakopmund tomorrow.

May his soul rest in peace – Bra Connie, until we are reunited again in heaven one day, go well. Namibia has not only lost a great athlete but a true son of the soil!

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