Retired Black Africa FC and Brave Warriors’ burly striker Dawid Snewe, better known as “Big Fellah” in football circles is generally regarded as the most prolific goal poacher of his generation.
In hindsight, the big frame striker would appear like somebody who could hardly harm a fly but a deadly striker on the field of play tormenting robust defenders with brutal speed, strength and goal scoring instincts second to none.
Arriving from unfashionable Khorixas outfit Robber Chanties FC in 1983 – the big striker was in reality a late starter after failing dismally to nail down a starting berth in the Katutura-based Immanuel Shifidi Secondary School football team.
Big Fellah was made to play second fiddle to his more celebrated teammates, Alfred Juku Tjazuko, Thiamas Eiseb and Billy Tuahepa. He hardly made the school’s first and second teams – having to settle for cameo roles in the school’s third strings.
However, it was not until he enrolled at the famous Cornelius Goraseb Secondary School in Khorixas that the powerful net buster started capturing the imagination of local football coaches and fans alike.
In today’s edition of your favourite weekly sports feature, profiling retired sports stars – New Era Sports brings to you our esteemed reader the unrevealed fantastic tales of this phenomenal athlete.
Carlos ‘CK’ Kambaekwa
Otjiwarongo-Born in the southern tiny village town of Kalkrand in the semi-desert Hardap Region in 1962, young Dawid Snewe was to spend his infant years in Namibia’s commercial hub Windhoek.
It was here where he honed his relatively raw football skills and just like many other youngsters his age in the neigbourhood, football crazy, the big frame young forward would play football at any given opportunity.
Despite his huge frame, Big Fellah was a complete athlete, astonishingly fast, quick off the mark, packed dynamite in both feet, had par football intelligence barely witnessed in forwards, a great first touch and was a net rattler of note.
Whereas his classmates enjoyed playing competitive football with local clubs such as Flames, African Stars, BA and Orlando Pirates, Big Fellah had to be content with playing street football and often in the popular stake games at Ellis Park, a somewhat nil star gravel football field adjacent to the Lutheran church in the vastly populated Katutura township.
Big Fellah would feature for a small local football club going by the name of Botstosto FC from the Damara section, skippered by skillful playmaker Willem “Botstotso” Nanub. Some of the club’s prominent members were Migab Xoagub, Ezegiel Gaeb and Chris.
Nonetheless, he caught the attention of football followers when he moved to Khorixas to further his academic aspirations at the revered Cornelius Goraseb Secondary School in the Erongo Region, in the mid-late seventies.
Apart from playing for the school’s first team, Big Fellah was eventually snapped up by local club Robber Chanties and as they say, the rest is history.
In no time he established himself as a valuable squad member forming a telepathic partnership alongside the sharp shooting Ben “Kleintjiie” Gaseb, veteran playmaker Eliphas Sabbatha and the deadly right-footed Giddies Gurirab in a four-pronged strike force.
It took the powerful striker just half a season, to be precise, to announce his arrival in domestic football – dishing out astonishing displays week in and week out for the star-studded Khorixas outfit.
And when the gold and blue strip Khorixas outfit descended in Windhoek for a knockout tourney at the old Katutura stadium in 1983 – Big Fellah was without an iota of doubt the star attraction – tormenting robust defenders at will with breathtaking performances.
The wide-awake talent scouts from Black Africa had seen enough and resolved to dangle a juicy carrot in the face of the soft-spoken “Gentle Giant”.
He arrived at Black Africa when the club was in full-scale transitional mode – joining an array of highly talented youngsters led by Hannes Louw, Steven “Falcao” Hochobeb, Cosmos Damaseb, Lucky Boostander and a few others.
His goals propelled his new club to claim a second consecutive Mainstay Cup at the expense of Grootfontein outfit Chelsea FC in a repeat of the previous season’s final.
Big Fellah marked an otherwise great showing netting a well-taken brace in BA’s 4-2 triumph at Windhoek’s stadium to claim the coveted Mainstay Cup for the second time on the bounce.
In the same season, the free-scoring big forward was rewarded for his near faultless display complemented by an astonishing goal-scoring prowess. He was deservedly called up to the South West Africa (SWA) Invitational Eleven for the prestigious annual South African Provincial Currie Cup Tournament in neigbouring South Africa.
In the interim, his goals saw the fired-up Gemengde outfit claim several high-profile knockout tourneys – much to the chagrin of their opponents.
In 1987, Big Fellah was at the forefront when the star-studded SWA Invitational Eleven under the stewardship of head coach Oscar “Silver Fox” Mengo claimed their third Impala Cup in Johannesburg. His performance obliged PSL outfit Bloemfontein Celtic to sign him straight away.
Big Fellah made his debut for the Free State side alongside compatriot and Black Africa teammate Lucky Richter in 1988. The pair scored a goal apiece in their debut match against Soweto giants Orlando Pirates in a club friendly match won 3-0 by the Free State outfit.
And while his countrymen returned home after just one match – Snewe stayed put and remained with his new club for six months before retreating home, citing homesickness.
“It was quite a good experience playing professional football and while the set-up was superior to ours back home – in terms of quality there was not much to separate our domestic football from theirs,” recalls Big Fellah tongue in cheek.
In the interim, Big Fellah would send shockwaves amongst the BA diehards when he unexpectedly jumped ship to join forces with bitter rivals African Stars for a brief period alongside teammate Mike Peterson.
I was still very young and a bit naïve. Oscar Mengo approached us with a tempting offer of testing our strength against formidable opponents in the then Boputhatswana. Stars had friendly matches lined up against local teams there with the ultimate aim of enticing talent scouts from that neck of the woods.”
After a short spell with the Reds, Big Fellah eventually returned home to his beloved BA but it was not long before he developed itchy feet again – abandoning ship, to resurface at newly established Okahandja side Liverpool FC under the guidance of Mengo.
The free-scoring Snewe went on to win several silverware with the expensively assembled Nau-Aib outfit under the mentorship of former Durban Bush Bucks ball juggler Raphael Mlungisi Ngubane, aka “Professor”.
The newly formed club won the inaugural edition of the country’s fully-fledged topflight flagship football league in democratic Namibia in 1991, while his astonishing 35-goal tally won him the Golden Boot award in the same season – edging ahead of Ramblers’ Joseph “Draaitjies” Martin (33).
With time passing, Big Fellah went on to win almost everything there was to be won in domestic football with the ambitious Okahandja outfit. His goals propelled Liverpool to triumphs in the prestigious Castle Classics and Datsun Nissan Cup amongst others.
Snewe was in the starting line-up when debutants Brave Warriors were hammered 3-0 by Madagascar in Antananarivo in a FIFA World Cup qualifier in 1992.
Sadly, Big Fellah called it quits after he lost appetite for the game that took him beyond Namibian borders, while still at the pinnacle of his flourishing football career in 1993, aged 31.
“I just lost further interest in the game and decided to venture into coaching in a bid to plough back the experience gained during my playing days under great coaches such as Sheperd Murape, Peter Uberjahn, Rusten Mogane and Mlungisi Ngubane to name but a few.”
The retired forward also enjoyed successful coaching stints with a few clubs in the top echelons of domestic football – winning the coveted NFA leo Cup with Orlando Pirates in the 2010/2011 football season.
He cites former African Stars and Liverpool FC uncompromising centre back Albert Tjihero as his toughest opponent. “He (Albert) was quite a tricky customer to deal with because of his positioning and well-timed tackles – he was a very intelligent bloke.”
Though the dominant view is that Big Fellah was lucky to have played alongside legendary playmaker, one Lucky Boostander, whose passes resulted in many of his goals, the big frame forward is not entirely in agreement with that assessment.
“Take nothing away from him, Lucky was a great passer of the ball but we should not forget about my striking partner, Steven Hochobob.
“The two of us had a great telepathic understanding on the field of play, probably because we both came from the same background in terms of behaviour and basic interpretation of the game.”