Death has robbed Namibia of one of its most recognizable shot-stoppers in the shape of former Black Africa’ Football Club lanky goalkeeper Naftalie Cakes Naobeb.
Cakes or Koekie as the ebony-skin net-guard, whose white teeth could only be found in toothbrush advertisements, was known, was literally thrown into the lion’s den when he joined the star-studded Black Africa outfit in the mid-seventies to succeed club stalwart Hubert Mootseng.
Stepping into the big boots of the legendary Mootseng was no mean feat and the Saint Josephs Secondary School (Dobra) protégé stood his ground and went on to form part of the invincible Gemengde outfit that ruled domestic football for long periods.
A student from Dobra, Cakes was made to play second fiddle to Ephraim Riruako (Katjimbungu) for a starting berth in the school’s first team starting eleven.
With Black Africa in dire need of a replacement for the departing ageing Mootseng, Bra Cakes was lured to his boyhood team Black Africa by his teammates at Dobra.
Bro Cakes arrived at BA almost the same time as a number of highly gifted young footballers from Dobra led by reliable centre back, Stu Damaseb, Corrie Uri-Khob, Vossie van Wyk, Fighter Louis, Stevn Hochobeb, Hassie Mingeri, Gabes Dausab, Five Hochobeb, Mike Hans, Willy ‘Garrincha’ Katire, Hannes Louw and Garab Gariseb amongst a significant bulk of new recruits from the unofficial school of excellence (football-wise) Dobra.
The ebony-skin beanpole net-guard immediately established himself as a reliable goalie as his safe pair of hands propelled him to stardom whilst wrestling for the number one jersey with fellow schoolmate August Gaeb.
He went on to win almost every available piece of silverware there was to be won and played a pivotal role in Black Africa’s upsurge in domestic football.
Bro Cakes might not have ranked amongst the most talented goalies in the business, but his sheer on and off the field charisma, sense of humour, imposing figure and unmatched ball distribution endeared him to the hearts of not only Black Africa’s usually hard-to-please supporters but to neutral football followers as well.
As fate would dictate, Cakes skipped his native land alongside his Black Africa teammate Erich Kariaxab Lamberth in the late seventies and went into exile to further his academic aspirations.
Upon his return to his motherland in 1989, Cakes rejoined his boyhood football team on the technical staff and was in the dugout when Black Africa won the maiden edition of the coveted Windhoek Lager Namibia Football Association (NFA) Cup at a packed to rafters Windhoek’s Independence Stadium in 1991.
He went on to oversee the club’s transformation as the Gemengde outfit dominated the domestic football scene at the dawn of Namibia’s democracy in the 90s.
Sadly, Bro Cakes took a bow from the game of life after losing a battle against illness. The brother died peacefully in the Katutura state hospital and was laid to rest in his home town Windhoek last weekend. May his soul rest in eternal peace in one piece.