Corrie Uri-Khob, as solid as a rock

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Tsumeb

Former Black Africa and Chief Santos utility fullback Corrie Uri-Khob was born on the 4th of October 1952 in the copper mining town of Tsumeb.

Corrie was to leave a long lasting legacy as both his younger brothers Lawrence and Gerros followed in his footsteps and became household names in domestic football. Football-crazy cousins Marcellus, Martin (Voete) and nephew Ricardo were not to be outdone either, as they also made their mark with boyhood team Chief Santos.

A dedicated Catholic, young Corrie was dispatched to the popular St Joseph’s Secondary School (Dobra), while hardly out of his pair of shorts to start hi schooling at the age of eight. Like many other boys his age, the football-crazy boy would chase the spherical object at the slightest provocation.

“When I arrived at Dobra, I hooked up with Vossie van Wyk, Hassie Mingeri, Stouter Ochurub, Kariirii Katire, the Hans brothers, Johannes and Mike and homeboy Gabes Dausab. We formed a team on the campus which we christened Indian Pirates FC, competing in hard fought stake games after school and weekends,” reveals the former Black Africa hard tackling fullback.

The well-built muscular boy from Nomtsoub not only confined himself to the beautiful game but would now and then try his hand at athletics, where he excelled in the discus.

As the years wound on, he graduated to the school’s second strings under the shrewd stewardship of revered football guru Willem Hans. In the meantime, Corrie would turn out for Rangers back home whenever on school holiday.

“I deliberately joined Rangers because I saw the need for stiff competition for the likes of Chief Santos and Red Bees, and since most of my buddies were playing for Santos, I was determined to compete on equal footing.”

At the same time, former Black Africa blue-eyed boy Albert Louw, and calculated centre back Gabes Dausab, were also playing for Rangers whenever they were on a visit to their hometown.

After just one season playing for the school’s second team, Corrie was deservedly promoted to the first team in 1973.

He quickly established himself as a rock solid defender, drawing the attention of talent scouts from Katutura giants Black Africa.

“Upon completing my studies, I went back to Tsumeb and continued playing for Rangers, but the late Albert Louw,persuaded me to relocate to Windhoek so that I could play alongside him at Black Africa.”

Corrie joined other Black Africa new recruits who were drafted as trainee boilermakers at the Windhoeker Maschinenfabrik. “It was very easy for me to settle into the set-up at Black Africa and their playing style, because I knew most the squad members from the school.

“In all honesty, the game of football used to be extremely competitive in those days and once you got the chance to play at the highest level – you were obliged to grab it with both hands and make damn sure you stayed put.”

Although he missed out on selection for the historic exhibition match between the South West Africa Black Eleven and their White counterparts in 1975 – Corrie nevertheless got some consolation when he tasted international football against formidable opponents on tours to Botswana and Johannesburg, South Africa with his beloved BA.

“We played against Township Rollers in Gaborone and proceeded to Johannesburg, where we played against very strong teams from the Indian Federation League in Lenasia. The tour was an eye-opener as it improved our game, while it also sharpened our tactical and technical awareness.”

A niggling knee injury put paid to an opportunity to represent his native land in the popular annual South African Provincial Currie Cup. “I was called up for trials but unfortunately I could not attend because of injury.”

Corrie was to oversee a number of generations at the Gemengde-based outfit, and went on to win almost everything there was to be won in the game.

He was in the starting line-up of the Black Africa side that was narrowly beaten by archrivals Orlando Pirates in the second edition of the lucrative Mainstay Cup, through Eric Muinjo’s opportunistic lone strike at a packed to the rafters Katutura stadium in 1979.

Soon afterwards, he found himself back in familiar territory as he retreated to his hometown Tsumeb, having been transferred to the copper town by new employers BP Petroleum. Instead of rejoining boyhood club Rangers, the tough tackling left back opted to join rival club Chief Santos, and as they say, the rest is history.

“The main reason why I changed allegiance was simply because Rangers never wanted to compete outside the maize triangle. Since I just arrived from a competitive environment – I wanted to be engaged in tough competition and playing for Santos offered me that edge.”

After helping Santos to many accolades in several knockout cup competitions, Corrie finally called it quits following a knee injury that was to abbreviate his flourishing football career.

He immediately turned to coaching and is the man accredited for having accelerated the club’s fortunes, when he introduced a new blood of highly gifted youngsters to make Santos a major force to be reckoned, with and one of the most adored football clubs in domestic football.

Corrie still cherishes some of his greatest moments on the football field. “Those were the good old days. I used to enjoy our countless battles with Orlando Pirates – they had speedy strikers but I would always define a special strategy to stop them right in their tracks.”

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