Kefas Shipi Elago
A new wave of hope is rapidly rising for Okahao football after former footballers came home to resuscitate the people`s game that was literally disappearing into thin air, following a long spell of absence of football activities at the town.
A contingent of footballers, mainly retired footballers, organised a two-day tourney over the Easter Weekend to raise funds aimed at developing the game in the town that was once known for its long and illustrious football pedigree, dating back to the days when most of these players were in their prime.
Ten veteran football teams took part in the fundraising tourney that attracted large crowds, witnessed in that neck of the woods ever since 1998 when football used to be the talk of the town.
Despite the vast distances between the villages, this did not deter the interest as most veterans travelled from as far as Oranjemund, Windhoek and other destinations to Okahao to spearhead the football revolution in their home town.
The veterans received a warm welcome by the local business community, traditional leaders, and regional and town councillors who were in attendance from the beginning until the end of the two-day tourney.
Iithete Amukuu, one of the event organisers, said it was extremely painful to watch several generations come and go during an extended football drought at the town that had almost paralyzed its football fraternity.
All veterans turned out in the colours of their boyhood clubs assembled by villagers from the surrounding areas.
Ekwa-lyamuchemo FC entered the tourney as pre-favourites to claim the trophy and they did not disappoint in their opening match as they thrashed Oluteyi Legends 5-0.
However, Ekwa could not negotiate their way past Oshiteyi in their second game that ended in a stalemate, before the boys from Ekwa had their tails up again in their final group stage match dispatching Uukwalumbe by a solitary goal to top the log standings in group B.
Okahao Veterans beat Okamalindi by two unanswered goals (2-0) before a goalless stalemate against Infantry FC in their next match though a hard fought 1-0 triumph over Okano Kagwamupela handed them a berth in the semifinals.
Day two saw most teams run out of steam with Infantry and Okahao Veterans seizing the situation to advance to the final where eventual winners hosts Okahao Veterans proved too strong by beating Infantry 1-0 to scoop the floating trophy and gold medals.
The tourney was named after local celebrity, Eddy Willibard, aka ‘Man of Action’, a former boxing coach and a man who has in the past played a pivotal role in the overall development of football, and donkey and cycling racing in Okahao, back in the day.
Sadly the usually joyful socialite could not attend the gathering due to ill health as a result of old age. The fundraising tourney raised a handsome N$50 000.
According to Iithete, the money will be used to develop football at the town with Okahao FC the chief beneficiary. The gathering will become an annual sporting event on the calendar of the sports-crazy Okahao.