Khomasdal, a residential area holed up in central Windhoek, has in the past produced a significant number of some of the most accomplished athletes of all time.
The likes of Kiro Makati, Ellen van Harte, Fritzie Poulster, Pele Blaschke, Nimrod Williams, Lance Willemse, Capes Nel, Donkey Madjiet, Dove Fransman, Julius Hagedoorn, Floors and Ski Steenkamp, Tollie van Wyk, Brian Isaac, Mike Peterson, Ricardo Mannetti and a horde of others were unearthed from the township of Khomasdal.
Although Kloppies played a big chunk of his football in the mother city, Cape Town in South Africa, while a student at the Western Cape University, at the prime of his time, the huge framed athlete was a rare talent. This can be attested by the brutal fashion in which he used to bamboozle defenders as a noted midfield anchorman.
Born in Windhoek’s old location on November 30, 1957, Kloppies was just like all the other boys his age in the neighbourhood. He would play football at any given time and though he also tried his hand at athletics and rugby, football was always going to be the staple diet for his body and soul.
“I started playing football barefoot in the dusty streets of the Old Location, making use of a tennis ball to master the skills. In those days, there were no proper recreational facilities for ‘non-whites’. We were obliged to do with what we had at our disposal,” Kloppies narrates with a shy smile on his baby face.
His football career eventually took off at the St Andrews Primary School, (Pionierspark) and continued when he went to further his schooling at the then revered Ella Du Plessis High School in Khomasdal.
Here, he found himself in the company of highly gifted youngsters led by Capes Nel, Mely van Wyk, Hennie and Donkey Madjiet, Stakes Coetzee, Eric Muinjo, Julius Hagendoorn, Eric Schaeffer, Dawid Ochuizen, Boetie Samuels, Ivan Brown and the late Claasen siblings, Paka and Chris.
“As you may recall, Ella Du Plessis was the only high schools for coloureds, leaving us to compete against teams within our close proximity, Thistles, Merits, Eleven Strangers and Atlanta Chiefs, with now and then the odd game against teams from Katutura and Rehoboth.”
In the intervening years, Dr Lemmer High (Rehoboth) came on board and the two high schools for middle class non-whites became eternal enemies on the sports fields, competing fiercely for bragging rights.
“The competition was very tense as they also had great athletes in their armoury in the shape of Brian Greaves and Floors Steenkamp, but we also had the Stuurman brothers from Mariental Brandy and Whisky, in our midst”.
Far away from home across the Orange River in the Cape Town, the likeable midfield-cum-striker (Kloppies) would go about his business unhindered on the football field.
He would terrorise defenders, playing a leading role for the University team and he formed a deadly combination with Danny Jordaan, Noel Morris, Lean Fourie and homeboys Max Johnson, Hakkie Louw and Andreas Guibeb.
“We assembled a very strong squad and used to compete fiercely with other universities in the tough and demanding Inter-Varsity Games against the likes of Fort Hare, Durban Westville and the University of the North,” Kloppies recalls.
Back in his native land, the football crazy Kloppies joined unfashionable Khomasdal outfit, Western Suburbs where he played alongside Bertus Damon, Hennie Madjiet, Steyn Jackson (goalkeeper) Billy Nel and Kiro Makati (aka Diergaardt) in the domestic league.
Kloppies was part and parcel of the breakaway group that severed ties with the powerful South West Africa Football Association (SWAFA) to form the rebel Central Namibia Football Association (CNFA) under the shrewd stewardship of Namibia’s football guru, uncle Bobby Sissing.
“Frankly speaking, uncle Bob does not enjoy the recognition he so dearly deserves for his tireless and unselfish contribution towards the upliftment and development of local football”.
Kloppies believes uncle Bob sacrificed so much for football that he almost lost all his belongings, because of his undying love for the game, adding that the hippy-lookalike football guru used football effectively to fight long battles with the apartheid authorities.
“Not only did Bobby compromise his family’s life for football, his unequalled visionary leadership led to the arrival of top footballers from Cape Town, a scenario that improved the standard of our football significantly.”The quartet of Willy Rwida, Raymond “Gogo” Baretto, Boet Mathews and blonde shot-stopper, Ronald Wentzil, all descendent on Namibian soil through slick persuasion by the wide-awake uncle Bob.
“What I really and honestly admire about uncle Bob is that he never excluded teams from outside Khomasdal to participate when he launched the so-called rebel league. Katutura-based teams, Sorento Bucks, Benfica, Hot Flames and Cosmos were all included in the new setup.”
Having played at provincial level in South Africa and in an effort to plough back the experience gained during his time in the Mother City, Kloppies opted to coach young footballers upon his retirement. He mentored exciting footballers the likes of Kosie Springbok, Hendrik Feres, Ben Hendricks, Brian Isaacs, Martin Ndandu at school level and also enjoyed a successful stint with Young Ones Football Club.