Exciting Grootfontein outfit, Chelsea Football Club, has in the past unearthed a significant number of great footballers of substance. Apart from the maiden generation led by tricky forward Anton Orlando Damaseb, cousin Lucas “Pieces” Damaseb, the equally dangerous Francis brothers Richo and Tiger, Naobeb siblings Kid and Ruru and the much-adored Tsandib brothers, Elvis and Danaob. In the intervening years, a new generation took over the button but two specific youngsters of exceptional talent captured the imagination of the local football fraternity. The pair was Steven Damaseb and Boeta Mungunda. New Era Sports caught up with the latter, as he unpacked his abbreviated football journey.
Carlos “CK” Kambaekwa
Grootfontein-Omulunga outfit, Chelsea Football Club, was generally regarded by many as the most entertaining football entity in the business, though the dominant belief is that had the club not been gravely prejudiced by suspicious match officials – people would be telling a different story now.
Many believe just because the club did not hail from the city of lights (Windhoek), Chelsea were always subjected to serial dodgy decisions by match officials – thus denying them victories that were there for the taking in august cup tourneys.
And even though the majority of the playing personnel became disillusioned – quitting the game while still at the pinnacle of their flourishing football careers, Chelsea managed to weather the storm despite all odds staked against them.
Chelsea regrouped recruiting highly gifted youngsters but the new blood though could simply not replicate the club’s traditional carpet football implemented by the Pieces Damaseb’s generation.
One of the new recruits was none other than stocky attacking midfielder-cum-striker, Boeta Mungunda. The latter went on to form a telepathic partnership with fast-galloping sharpshooter Steven “Madigage” Damaseb in the firing line.
Born Dawid Mungunda on 19 January 1966 in the southern town of Mariental in the Hardap region, young “Boeta” was certainly destined for the bigger stage. After all, elder brother Edu Karigub was a phenomenal midfielder, who cut his teeth in the tough and demanding rigours of domestic topflight football league with Katutura giants African Stars and exciting Nau-Aib (Okahandja) outfit Battle Boys Football Clubs during an illustrious but short-lived football career.
His nephews, Johannes “Ou Joe” and Lucky Mungunda were also formidable footballers, featuring for Black Africa and Hungry Lions, respectively.
Although Boeta was born in Mariental, he relocated to Grootfontein at a very young age with his grandmother. The family settled in the Omulunga township and it was here where his interest in chasing an-inflated pigskin took off.
Hardly out of his pair of shorts, aged seven, Boeta was football crazy like many other young boys in the hood and would play football at the slightest provocation, be it on his way to school or with friends whenever time permitted.
Aged 16, Boeta started playing competitive football for local side Poison Arrows, an unfashionable outfit made up of predominantly blokes of Ovaherero tribe residing in that neck of the woods.
Boeta found himself in the company of versatile lanky playmaker, the legendary Poriro Upingasana, lethal goal-poacher Curtis “Mayfield” Tjizepa, Richard Newman and others.
Sadly, with the majority of the team’s playing personnel starting to grow a bit long in the tooth – the team folded
thus obliging young Boeta to seek refuge at local rivals Dynamos FC.
Although Dynamos lived in the shadow of their celebrated neigbours Chelsea, the club boasted great athletes in the shape of Jouyee, Images, Socks, Timo Xoaseb, Zimbo and ou Dawf, just to mention a few.
“After a few matches, I decided to join forces with boyhood club Chelsea in 1985 where I was to play alongside my childhood hero, the great Orlando Damaseb.
“It had always been my boyhood dream to rub shoulders with Orlando and the first time I shared a dressing room with him was doubtlessly the biggest milestone of my entire football career,” reveals Boeta.
When he arrived at Chelsea, the club had a very competitive squad, comprising of the dangerous Francis brothers Richo and Tiger, Safe Ochurub, Pieces Damaseb, Laza Auchumeb,Timo Xoaseb, Ruru and Kid Naobeb, Dave Ameb, Elias Castanova, George Nawatiseb and Turu Horaseb.
However, by the following season, the club inevitably underwent a major facelift with a number of youngsters roped in to replace the ageing old guard.
The new arrivals were led by fast-as-lightning free-scoring forward Steven Damaseb, schoolteacher Gottfried Damaseb, Alex Ganaseb, versatile beanpole midfielder Puli Subeb, a crowd favourite and Doctor Hishiko.
With Boeta leading the firing line, the new look Chelsea side reached the final of the Metropolitan Cup where they came up against Young Ones only to fall short (1-4) against the “Kings of the Night”, as the Khomasdal outfit was affectionately known among its ardent followers including the neutral football fan.
Nonetheless, the club atoned for their embarrassing defeat by claiming the elusive coveted Namibia Soccer Super League (NSSL) at the end of the season in 1986 – dethroning inaugural league champions, Tigers.
A natural goal scorer, Boeta was sparingly used as a false centre forward (No. 10) but the dribbling wizard would regularly register his name on the scoreboard with breathtaking goals.
Still a scholar in Rundu, Boeta went on to enjoy unsurpassed success with the exciting Omululnga outfit – winning several knockout tourneys in towns such as Tsumeb, Otjiwarongo, Otavi, Khorixas and Rundu.
“I was also turning out for local Rundu Chiefs playing alongside incumbent Director of Sports Shivute Katamba, Gerson Garosab, Simbo and Simon Kgobetsi, Mr Ball, J.P.S and Bonnie Kudumo.”
His goal-scoring prowess did not escape the eyes of talent scouts, the stocky attacking midfielder was snapped up by Katutura glamour football club African Stars in 1988.
It was indeed while at the Refs that Boeta unleashed his full potential playing alongside the club’s blue-eyed boy Juku Tjazuko and the free-scoring Jackson Meroro in a three-pronged strike force.
The same year, Boeta was drafted to the South West Africa (SWA) provincial Invitational Eleven. As fate would have it, Boeta was summoned back to his adopted town Grootfontein to be closer to his ailing grandmother.He rejoined Chelsea where he was made to wear the captain’s armband by head coach Orlando Damaseb in the same year the great Chelsea found themselves in unfamiliar territory after they were relegated from the country’s topflight football league.
It was back to the drawing board for the Omulunga outfit, as the club was obliged to start afresh with a completely new squad.
Highly gifted youngsters James Shipunda, Steps Tsanigab, Samora Kubas, Ages Dandu, Dabae Damaseb, Doctor Hishiko, Hafeni “Teenage” Muashekele, Cezil and Elvis were all thrown into the lion’s den alongside old hands Richo Francis George Nawatiseb and Elka Tsuxub, as the club sought to steer the sinking ship out of stormy waters.
In the meantime, Boeta found himself employment as a cop with the Namibian Police Force (NAMPOL) and was dispatched to the garden town, Okahandja, in 1990.
“I went to Okahandja police officer and joined newly formed Liverpool Football Club. The team was campaigning in the all-inclusive newly formed Namibia Premier League (NPL) and was loaded with great footballers with immerse talent.
“We had veteran defender Albert Tjihero, his brothers Jamanuka and Bimbo, Mbakero Jaezuruka, Dawid Snewe, Gotty Goagoseb, Max Xamseb, Toufie Mbako, Kamitiri Kuuahee, China Utoni and my elder brother Edu Karigub under the leadership of Oscar Mengo in our armoury.”
During his short stint at Liverpool, Boeta became the darling of the usually hard-to-please club’s supporters with his goal-scoring instincts.
The serial net-rattler scored the only goal of the match when Liverpool sent Tigers packing (1-0) in a league match. He also netted a well-taken brace against Young Ones in the team’s 3-all draw in a six-goal thriller at the same venue, the following day in 1990.
He quickly established himself as a vital cog in the star-studded Liverpool line up but his dream move was to be cut short after he was badly injured in a horrific car accident.
The unfortunate accident derailed his potential first call up to the Brave Warriors squad under the stewardship of wily Zimbabwean mentor Shepherd Murape, who had expressed a desire to include the tricky forward in his squad.
“Football was great in those days because despite the lack of money, we played for pride and bragging rights.
“It was very competitive and I’m still shivering whenever recalling my on the field tough battles with Life
Fighters bone-crunching tackler Sipho Kauripeke and Vemuna “Roadblock” Hoveka of Hungry Lions.
“The pair was doubtlessly the toughest defenders I had to deal with during my entire playing career,” concludes the soft-spoken Boeta, who has since retreated to his adopted hometown, Grootfontein.
“I’m currently working around the clock with former players setting up structures in place to revive the ailing fortunes of Chelsea Football Club. Our ultimate aim is to reclaim our rightful place among the country’s finest football teams.”