Namibia’s glamour football club, African Stars, has unearthed a horde of highly-gifted athletes, past and present.
Danger Siririka, Oscar Mengo, Kanima Hoveka, Willy Rwida, Tjatjitua Katjiteo, Amos Tjombe, Kaika Kuzee, Albert Tjihero, Ndjiva Kauami, Juku Tjazuko, George Gariseb, Doc Naobeb, Skade Kandjiriomuini, Bernard Newman, Obed Kamburona, Gabriel Freyer, Mannetjie Kaimu and Stigga Ketjijere are all exceptionally talented, but Floyd’s name will always be mentioned in the same breath as amongst the very best of his peers.
Born in the Okondjatu village in the Otjozondjupa region, approximately 180 kilometers north-east of Okahandja in 1946, the stocky youngster, like many boys at the time, immigrated to the big city of lights, Windhoek, to start his schooling.
It was in the rocky and dusty streets of the Old Location that Bra Floyd first came in contact with the magical spherical object. A fairly short, but strongly-built chap, he was a natural athlete with good balance, amazing speed, quick feet, a great first touch and an eye for goal.
Bra Floyd might have gone ages ago to be reunited with his ancestors, but his legacy will forever live in our minds. Those, who were lucky enough to cast their eyes on the exploits of Floyd on the football field, would all agree that he was an extraordinary athlete.
One of his former teammates in the South West Africa Invitational Eleven, Namibia’s football guru, Uncle Bobby Sissing, who played alongside Bra Floyd in the late 60s, could not heap enough praises on the troublesome forward.
“Floyd was an intelligent footballer and a great club man who always put the interest of the team ahead of individual glory. I remember the Explorer Eleven quartet, led by the deadly Werrick Zimmer, Times Mwetuyela, George Hoveka and Nangi Nickel, tormenting defenders at will with astonishing speed and canon-like shots.
“There was a time when the Explorers toured Upington, South Africa for a couple of exhibition matches against local teams. Times and George were amongst the leading goal-scorers on that particular safari, but Floyd was indeed the real McCoy, opening defenses with some adrenaline-pumping passes,” recalls the much adored Uncle Bob.
“In the intervening years, the likes of Tjihero, Steve Stephanus and many other young and talented defenders came on board, but Floyd was in a different class. He was very cool under pressure and was not the kind of guy who hooked the ball away unnecessarily. He was always calm, and above all, an excellent passer of the ball.”
Unlike many of his peers who were lodged in the Old Location, Floyd lived a significant chunk of his formative years in the posh Katutura residential area – a situation that restricted his appearances for the Reds. He was among a group of defectors, who left their teams to join forces with the newly-established Explorer Eleven (Ovispule).
The club came into existence following a well-meant proposal by South African migrant social welfare officer, one Robert Matlabo. The beanpole football administrator spearheaded the noble idea of a two-match exhibition series between a strong Coastal Eleven and their Central counterparts, which led to the birth of coastal giants, Eleven Arrows.
After the two matches, both sets of players resolved to stay put – and while Arrows continued to make a serious statement in domestic football – things fell apart for the Windhoek-based outfit (Explorer Eleven), which had hopelessly too many bulls in one kraal (prima donnas).
Floyd, together with Danger and George, swallowed their pride and made a quick retreat to their former team, African Stars. With the highly-gifted Danger getting a bit long in the tooth and George unable to play regular competitive football as a result of work commitments, it was left to the enterprising Floyd to revitalise an average Stars outfit.
He teamed up with the equally dangerous Amos Tjombe, Tjatjiuta Katjiteo, Alex Vekarapi, Skade Kandjiriomuini, Kapuindi Heii, Rhoo Mbaeva and many others, thus masterminding the Reds’ rebuilding process.
Floyd was one of four Bantu (indigenous) members, alongside Times Mwetuyela, Danger Siririka and Joe Kariko in the predominantly coloured-infested South West Africa (SWA) Invitational Eleven for natives, that was scheduled to tour South Africa. Ironically, the envisaged tour never materialised, as the authorities wanted two separate teams, one for darkies and another strictly for coloureds.
However, the players under the stewardship of the uncompromising Sissing, would have none of that as they dug their heels in the sand in solidarity against the divide-and-rule tactics, perpetuated so loosely by the South African regime.
In the meantime, Bra Floyd would juggle his precious time between football and politics, using the latter as a vital tool to spread the gospel of democracy, rallying support from the most remote regions. He would on occasion camouflage Nama-speaking ladies in the Ovaherero sacred traditional dress, impersonating mourners on their way to political rallies in the southern part of the country.
A niggling knee injury abbreviated Bra Floyd’s involvement in football as a competitive player. However, this did not stop him from ploughing back the experience gained throughout the years of playing the game at the highest level, rubbing shoulders with the very best footballers of his generation.
Soon afterwards, Bra Floyd relocated to the garden town of Okahandja, and took over the coaching reins of the coachless Nau-Aib side, Black Beauty Chiefs (BBC) in 1973.
His arrival at the black and white striped squad produced the desired results, getting the best out of highly-gifted youngsters, Albert Tjihero and Ignatius Kaitjirokere, while the club’s revered sharp-shooter, Tjouho “Big Shoe” Kauaheke, reinvented himself as a much sought-after lethal goal-poacher.
Bra Floyd may have gone too soon, but his legacy will linger on in the minds of those who came to know him, for many generations to come. May his soul rest in peace.