From riches to rags – the untold story of a forgotten football genius

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Windhoek

The telepathic partnership of former football greats, the late pair of Herbert Conradie and Bernard ‘Ou //Oeb’ Gariseb, spearheaded the move that led to the inevitable establishment of the untouchable Katutura outfit Poison Arrows Football Club in the early seventies.

The club recruited the crème de la crème of local footballers and those who managed to don the green and orange strip of the exciting outfit still walk the talk these days – years after the club took the path of the dinosaur.
The dangerous Grootfontein cousins Eliphas Sabatha and Doc Hardley, as well as homeboy Safe Kuruseb, all donned the colours of Arrows, while local heroes Martin ‘Zica’ Williams, aka (Okambua Kombandi), Gerson van der Byl and others, also joined the fray.

Among the galaxy of stars was a very quiet but highly skillful young ball juggler going by the name of Dennis Eiseb, better known as Ou D amongst his peers.

A product of Windhoek’s old location, Ou D honed his ball skills in the dusty streets but only rose to prominence when he joined boyhood team Pirates (Dolam).

“My old man Address (father) used to play for Pirates alongside the robust late defender German ‘Tsigeib’ Gariseb, Issaskar ‘Sky’ Kuvare, Zorro Hoaseb, Erich Hanstein and many others, so I had no other option and was obliged by tradition to follow suit,” reveals Ou D.

The club hit the ground running, sweeping their more established opponents aside – leaving their detractors green with envy.

In the absence of organized league structures back in the day, Arrows embarked on engaging in various exhibition matches around the country and would always draw large crowds to their matches with their beautiful brand of football.

The team enjoyed a successful tour of Kimberley, South Africa where they competed against local teams Dalton Brothers and other top clubs from that neck of the woods.

Young Dennis played a pivotal role in Arrows’ upsurge and was one of the stars of the team. As fate would dictate, the notion that one cannot have two bulls in one kraal played its hand as Arrows crumbled without the team reaching its full potential.

Ou D and Safe Kuruseb found refuge at Dolam’s Pirates FC – improving the waning fortunes of an average Pirates squad that had the ‘King of Acrobatics’, Brazello Haoseb, as their talisman.

Though Kuruseb soon left to join Black Africa, Ou D remained put and was part of the team that was disbanded by local football authorities after an ugly fistfight that saw match referee Martin Kehrmann running for his dear life at the show grounds in Windhoek.

Football authorities were not exactly impressed with Pirates’ behaviour and resolved to expel the club from all forms of football but for some strange reasons the players were free to join any club of their choice.

And while a significant chunk of the squad members decided to hang up their togs – it was obvious that those with exceptional talent would join other clubs with Brazello joining Orlando Pirates.

Emile found home at Hungry Lions and Ou D joined the newly formed Swallows outfit, a team that was formed by Orlando Pirates fringe players who sought game time.

The tireless goal machine mainly operated as a false centre forward in modern football and quickly established himself as the leading marksman in a squad laden with a fair amount of average footballers, mixed with a couple of law enforcers.

Like many retired footballers from his generation, the father of six siblings bemoans the current standard displayed in the domestic topflight league.

“Conditions are by far much better than during our days. We used to play marathon matches within the space of few days that would sometimes stretch to three or four matches per day during highly competitive knockout tournaments.

“In those days, footballers showed a lot of affection for the game and would put their bodies on the line just to entertain the crowd with amazing excitement accompanied by plenty of breathtaking goals.

“Footballers in the modern game are not bothered by the standard and are only interested in making a quick buck.”
The quicksilver forward has good memories about his time and long battles with robust defenders and cites former Explorer Eleven and Orlando Pirates centre back Samuel Doeseb as his toughest opponent.

He also holds former African Stars strongman Albert Tjihero and Grey and Kumi Umati (Tigers) in high esteem.
Although he enjoyed playing against coastal giants Blue Waters and Katutura glamour football club African Stars, his favourite players were Sadike Gottlieb (Eleven Arrows) Thomaro Isaacs and Castro Haosemab (both Tigers).

Dolam-Pirates Swallows-FC-Players

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