Peta Useb, the football playing ‘Gatta’

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Windhoek

Born in Grootfontein, it is was only fitting that young Peta Useb would join the fray and chase after an inflated pigskin during the popular street games.

Like many youngsters in the neighbourhood, young Useb got hooked to the beautiful game and would play football whenever the situation presented itself – a bit during school intervals, on the way to school and back from school – the soft-spoken ebony-skinned chirpy would always be seen with a tennis ball glued to his feet.

“I started playing football at a very tender age with my boyhood buddy the late Laza (Auchumeb) and the two of us also played together at the Catholic Mission Mariobron Primary School near Grootfontein,” reveals Useb.
Back home in Omulunga Township, Peta’s elder brother, Engebert Toreg Useb, formed a football team of young and upcoming footballers and Peta was obliged to feature for his brother’s team during school holidays.

Useb went to further his schooling at St Joseph’s Secondary School (Dobra) and immediately knuckled down to some serious business as he joined Sorento Bucks on the campus where he was to be reunited with homeboy Stu Damaseb and former Orlando Pirates’ likable acrobatic shot-stopper Gottfried “Lewa” Awaseb.

After leaving school in 1979, Useb relocated to Walvis Bay and joined forces with coastal giants Blue Waters on the recommendation of his buddy from Dobra, the late Vincent “Botsotso” Hermann.
He managed to fashion a job as a police officer (cop or ‘gatta’ in township lingo) and after a brief spell with the Birds, he jumped ship to be closer to his newly found colleagues at Blue Waters’ eternal rivals Eleven Arrows.

“In those days, Arrows had a lot of police officers in their armoury and I was persuaded to join forces with them since we moved around in the same circles – kind of bird of a feather,” laughs Useb.

Some of his well-known teammates included the late Fonnie Hummel, Oswald Kafuru, Gerhard Kasomba and Kudumo.
“Ironically, it was the very same Vincent who encouraged me to jump ship and join Arrows because he was on the verge of skipping the country and did not want me to have sad memories about him at Blue Waters.”

After three solid seasons with the maroon and gold outfit, Useb developed itchy feet and joined Namib Woestyn in a shock move. It was during his time at Arrows where Useb was to establish himself as a no-nonsense defender, who stopped marauding strikers right in their tracks.
Regional selectors took note of Useb’s unmatched defensive abilities and duly obliged by selecting him for the strong Western Invitational side. In the meantime, Useb left the police unit after he found a better offer with gas suppliers Afrox who in turn transferred the defender to the city of lights (Windhoek).

Upon his arrival in Windhoek, Useb put up tent at his homeboy’s house, the late Doc Hardley. The latter persuaded his buddy to join Orlando Pirates where the late Hardley reigned supreme.
He made his debut for the Buccaneers in a knockout tournament at the old Katutura stadium pairing the robust Eleazar “Godilla” Uirab and Frans Kazimbu in defence.

Unfortunately, Useb’s debut for Pirates coincided with the arrival of the great centre back, the late Salathiel Ndjao. “I will never forget that day. Salath just joined Pirates out of the blue but he was not registered, as Blue Waters were reluctant to issue his clearance.”

As fate would have it, the coastal outfit got bundled out of the knockout tourney in the early stages and eventually released the player. Unfortunately, for Useb, he was to be made the sacrificial lamb dropping to the substitute’s bench.

Ghosts’ classy midfielder, the late Lesley “Ou Les” Goagoseb, twisted his ankle during the warm up session and Useb was restored to the starting line-up.

Although he acquitted himself well, playing a blinder as a holding midfielder keeping the dangerous Lucky Boostander at bay, Useb suffered the embarrassment when he was hauled off at half-time making way for Goagoaseb who had been injected with painkillers in the meantime.
Pirates had taken a 2-goal cushion going into the changeover but Useb’s departure threw BA another lifeline and the Gemengde outfit crawled its way back to win the tie 3-2.

After the match, pandemonium broke out in the changing room with players venting their anger at those who dared replacing Useb at halftime. The victim himself had enough of the shenanigans at Pirates and told them in no uncertain terms that he was done with Pirates.

He walked out of the cloak rooms a disappointed man and got into the Black Africa bus on his way home only to resurface at Pirates’ conquerors (BA) on the day and as they say, the rest is history.
Useb quickly established himself as valuable member of Black Africa’s rearguard where he was to form a telepathic partnership with homeboy Indies Damaseb, Bigman Schultz and the late Ringo Skrywer.

In his first season with BA, Useb won almost everything there was to be won, including the coveted Mainstay Cup, Metropolitan Trophy, Castle Classic Cup and the much sought after Namibia Super Soccer League (NSSL).

Useb re-joined Eleven Arrows in 1990 and was a league winner in independent Namibia in 1991. His reward was international participation in a mini four-team tournament in Gaborone, Botswana.

“We played against hosts Botswana Defence Force (BDF), Arsenal from Lesotho and Swaziland’s Mbabane Highlanders. However, our head coach, the late Albert Louw, withdrew from the trip to Botswana at the eleventh hour and his absence surely affected the moral in the squad.”
Arrows enjoyed mixed fortunes in the mini competition – winning one game against hosts BDF (3-2), drawing with Arsenal (2-2) before losing to Highlanders (6-4) in a 10-goal thriller.

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