Tales of the Legends: The untold story of a forgotten football genius, Teenage Iyambo 1970 – 1994

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The author will put his head on the block by shouting out loudly that departed Tigers Football Club attacking midfielder Helmuth “Teenage “Iyambo was the finest entertainer of his generation.

The ball juggling midfielder easily ranked amongst the finest athletes the land of the brave has ever produced dating back to time immemorial.

Death has robbed the country one of its most celebrated athletes, a true son of the soil and highly gifted midfielder who kept football fanatics on the edge of their seats with amazing football skills second to none.

Deservedly given the nickname “Teenage” after the former Kaizer Chiefs ball wizard Nelson “Teenage” Dladla, a.k.a. “Botsotso” by his teammates, Namibia’s own “Teenage” surely lived up to his befitting nickname.

The likeable and slightly withdrawn lanky boy made the game of football look like taking candy from a toddler. He would bamboozle tough defenders in the same fashion as his more celebrated namesake.

From the moment the nimble-footed ball wizard, son of former Tigers stalwart, Phineas Iyambo (Boetie Pinny), started playing street football with the youthful Donkerhoek Eleven and in later years African Blizzards, one could tell he was without an iota of doubt a cut above the rest. Both clubs served as feeder teams for big brother, Tigers.

Teenage was a dribbling wizard and could do anything with the spherical object glued to his tiny feet, constantly leaving seasoned defenders sprawling and tumbling on the turf like beheaded hoenders.

The boy did not only resemble his namesake in many aspects, he shared the same frame and an identical style of play whilst the much-adored ball juggler’s sad departure from football also shares similarities with the entrance of his hero Dladla into the game.

 

Carlos “CK” Kambaekwa
Windhoek

Like many other football teams worldwide, Namibia’s oldest football club Tigers, has had its fair share of ups and downs and at some stage flirted with relegation as “Ingwe” struggled to string decent results together.

And while football pundits might claim and rightly so, that the Times Mwetuyela inspired untouchable Tigers side of the mid 60s and early 70s was arguably the best side – one cannot help but admire the resurgent Tigers outfit of the early 90s inspired by the midfield genius of an unknown young skinny boy going by the name of Teenage Iyambo.

Fittingly, his old man Phineas was a valuable member of the all-conquering Tigers squad led by the dangerous striking partnership of bro Times, Honnie Ochurub, Ferre Akwenye, Seth Urib, Johnny Veicko and Pwiro Angula.

Teenage’s arrival at boyhood club “Ingwe” coincided with the inevitable departure of a significant chunk of the club’s stalwarts.

The likes of Dalle Stephanus, Steve Haihambo, Issy Naruseb, Umati brothers Kumi and Grey, Brown Amwenye, General Angala, Abner Tobias and Sekulu Hipondoka amongst a sizeable chunk of regulars were all approaching the twilight of their flourishing football careers.

Unlike many of his peers who started their careers in topflight football by warming the substitutes bench, or rather used sparingly, Teenage walked straight into the youthful new look “Ingwe” starting line-up and hit the ground running.

When Kaizer Chiefs co-founder, Ewert ‘The Lip” Nene, was mercilessly killed by thugs who pumped their deadly “Oukapies” into his big frame, little did we know that his tragic death was to transform the face of South African football, and subsequently trickle down to sister province South West Africa (SWA) back in the day.

The 10th of October 1976 will go down in history as a black day for South African football because that day the country lost one of its favourite football brains, Ewert Nene, a.k.a. “The Lip”.

The astute football administrator had just completed a transfer deal in Kwa-Thema, Springs, Johannesburg, with the parents of Nelson “Teenage” Dladla, to join emerging Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs.

And though the streetwise bro E concealed the youngster in the back seat of his Chevrolet Impala covering him with a blanket, a bunch of no good knife-wielding Tsotsies, got wind of the secretive transfer deal and resolved to lay siege.

The men confronted “The Lip” and after a heated argument, they stabbed him to death through multiple stab wounds – much to the chagrin of football followers. Despite the setback, Dladla defied the threats and went ahead to join forces with the Phefeni Boys, and as they say, the rest is history.

He became the toast of the Amakhosi supporters including Chiefs’ followers in then South West Africa (SWA) Namibia, who took a liking to the dribbling wizard to the extent that those gifted with similar ball skills adopted the name of “Teenage”.

Though only a handful of damn good footballers got baptised “Teenage” either by their peers or admirers – only a few lived up to the name. Together with former Hungry Lions and Chelsea FC midfielder Hafeni “Teenage” Mwashekele, Ingwe’s emerging number ten (No. 10) Teenage Iyambo, was indeed the real deal.

The boy was a marvel to watch and many would flock to the stadiums, squeezing their beer bellied frames through the turnstiles just watch Teenage bamboozle opposing defenders, leaving them for dead before delivering the killer pass to prolific striker Forra Nicodemus.
Those in the know are convinced that had death not struck, Teenage would have been amongst the first footballers in a democratic Namibia to play professional football beyond Namibian borders or even overseas.

During his abbreviated tenure at the Donkerhoek outfit, the youthful “Ingwe” were doubtlessly the most entertaining football team in the country’s topflight football league.
Had it not been for his excellent ball work and great performance, Tigers could easily have been relegated during the 1993 term as Ingwe struggled dismally to make their presence felt in the country’s topflight football league.

Sadly, the country woke up to the sad news on a Monday morning in 1994 that their favourite footballer’s life had been taken via a bullet. The brutal deaths of both bro E and Teenage (Iyambo) were to leave contrasting similarities to their imposters.

Whereas bro Es protégé Dladla went onto to establish himself as a great ambassador for his club Kaizer Chiefs, his Namibian namesake, one Ewert Beukes, a real streetwise toughie was indeed a nuisance to many football fans.

The self-proclaimed fearsome Mr T shaved head brother was notorious for harassing and terrorising fans and players alike from opposing teams at local football matches.

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