Tribute to unsung sports hero ‘Oom Vossie’

0
111

He has been there, seen it and done it all – this is the true story of one of the unheralded pioneers of domestic football, Vorster Moetie, better known as ‘Oom Vossie’ amongst the passionate streetwise football-loving residents of Gemengde location.
Contrary to an undocumented long-held belief that Katutura giants Black Africa Football Club is the only football entity that was not established along tribal lines, it has emerged that it was indeed founded in the same pattern as all the other local football clubs.
One of BA’s founder members Oom Vossie has finally set the record straight by letting the cat out of the bag as he relives his industrious sporting journey.
Born in Kuruman, a tiny town in the vastly populated North East Province of South Africa, Oom Vossie arrived in the then apartheid South West Africa (SWA) via Upington in 1963, a year before the birth of Black Africa Football Club.
Generally known as a notable tennis player, Oom Vossie was a keen football lover and was instrumental in the formation of Black Africa. By his own submission, Oom Vossie proposed the name change from Eleven Kangaroos to Black Africa.
“There was a group of Motswana men eager to call into life an establishment which they could identify themselves with – that’s how the idea was mooted to form Eleven Kangaroos (Black Africa),” he recalls.
Although he played football at school level, Oom Vossie went straight into football administration and ranks amongst the most astute football administrators this country had ever produced during the apartheid era.
New Era Sport sat down with the humorous Oom Vossie, the unsung brains behind the introduction of tennis in apartheid South West Africa (SWA) who single-handedly masterminded the SWA Bantu Invitational Eleven six-week tour to South Africa in 1968.
Carlos ‘CK’ Kambaekwa
Windhoek

Whilst politicians have become synonymous with changing allegiance at the slightest provocation, hopping from one party to another in the same fashion mothers would change a baby’s nappies, football fans would have none of that.
Ever wondered why local socialite Cassius Moetie is dead passionate about the beautiful game of football, particularly his boyhood team Black Africa? Well the brother is a born and bred Gemengde boytjie, he eats and breathes BA – after all, his old man ‘Oom Vossie’ was a founder member of the Katutura giants.
Oom Vossie came to South West Africa (SWA) at the invitation of a friend he met while working in Upington. “While I was working in Upington I met and befriended a Tswana-speaking bloke going by the name of Joseph Katamelo who originally hailed from Gobabis, South West Africa (Namibia).”
“He fell in love with a young woman from Upington and was on the verge of tying the knot with the gorgeous lass, so what transpired is that the poor guy did not know anybody in Upington. He was stranded and in dire need of somebody who could assist him with wedding arrangements,” he adds.
“We managed to pull it through and after the wedding ceremony, bro Jo was over the moon and as a token of appreciation for my efforts he invited me to come over to South West Africa and look for better job opportunities.”
As it turned out, Oom Vosie heeded the call and arrived in South West Africa (SWA) where he found a slave with Phohl at Barlow Street, Windhoek in 1963.
A keen tennis player, Oom Vossie teamed up with locals Gotthardt Boois, Abel and John Mokomelo. The trio knuckled down swinging tennis racquets at open spaces whenever time permitted.
“Back in the day there were no tennis structures for Bantus (blacks) but we persevered and decided to approach and persuade the local authorities for donations in the form of financial assistance to construct a tennis court in Katutura.”
“Eventually the Windhoek Municipality and a few local business institutions joined hands to avail some funds for the construction of a tennis court next to the Immanuel Shifidi Secondary School in Katutura,” he says.
In the meantime, the multi-sports crazy Oom Vossie was also involved in arranging exhibition football matches in the absence of proper organized structures.
“There was no association for football to preside over the club’s activities or an organized football league for Bantus (blacks). As a result, teams were obliged to compete in exhibition matches against other teams from Tsumeb and Walvis Bay during weekends notably on month end.”
Nevertheless, Oom Vossie would team up with fellow South African migrant Robert Matlabo, a municipal social worker, to put the wheels in motion.
Together the pair invited a combined football team from South Africa (SWA) for a few exhibition matches against a SWA Bantu Invitational Eleven in Windhoek.
This exercise would change the entire complexion of domestic football after the South Africans reciprocated the gesture with an invite of their own – luring their neighbours across the Orange River for a six-week tour by rail.
The touring SWA amateurs featured in several fiercely contested exhibition matches against teams in Durban, Johannesburg, Bloemfontein, Hammanskraal, Vereniging and Pretoria.
Coastal outfit Eleven Arrows supplied the bulk of players for the travelling entourage led by Tommy Ushona, Gabes Mupupa, Bossie Samaria and Horongo Haufiku, followed by Tigers’ (three) Times Mwetuyela, Nandos Mbako, Coloured Kakololo; Namib Woestyn’s (two) Eddy Cloete and Tete Kangameni and Black Africa’s (two) Black Kangootui and Spokes Tibinyane.
Jonathan ‘Oom Tieb’ Goliath was the only representative from the south, while Zorro Willemse (Thistles), Nana Goaseb (Orlando Pirates) and Wherrick Zimmer (Pirates Dolam) were amongst the few squad members from the vastly populated central region.
The South African safari eventually paved the way for the inevitable establishment of organized football structures back home and Oom Vossie certainly played a pivotal role in putting together structures that saw regular tours from South African teams to SWA.
A year after the successful South African tour, Kaizer Eleven (to be rechristened Kaizer Chiefs a year later) descended on Windhoek for a few exhibition matches at the packed to rafters Katutura stadium.
The much-fancied visiting Soweto giants, spearheaded by a big-framed left-footed centre forward going by the name of Kaizer Motaung, were taught a decent football lesson by the Lemmy Narib-inspired SWA amateurs.
Unsurprisingly, they dangled a juicy carrot in the face of their chief destroyer ‘Lemmy Special’ Narib and afro-haired speedy winger Hermann ‘Pele’ Blaschke to relocate to the city of gold, Johannesburg, and as they say, the rest is history.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here