When the star-studded South West Africa (SWA) all White Eleven arrived at the packed to rafters Suidwes stadium (Dr Hage Geingob stadium) on the outskirts of Windhoek for their historic exhibition football match against their Black counterparts in 1976 – the squad had in their starting line-up a tallish winger in the shape of German import Wolfgang Fleischhammel.
History reveals that particular football match was to completely change the misplaced perception of white people about the country’s majority darkish hide inhabitants.
It’s now a well-documented secret that the match ended in a narrow 2-1 win for the more composed all Whites after hero of the match Vic Lovell blocked Oscar “Silver Fox” Mengo’s weakly taken spot kick to give his team victory.
The Steve “Kalamazoo” Stephanus- inspired Black Eleven had done enough to win the match and looked on course to claim a historic victory until a tallish bloke with a visible moustache, going by the name of Wolfgang Fleischhammel, struck the killer punch.
With pride and racial superiority at stake in the aftermath of the not so cool 3-all stalemate the previous year – both teams were determined to settle the score and set the record straight as to who was in charge.
As it stood, the six-goal thriller the previous year ended in a highly controversial fashion after the all Whites were made to become chief beneficiaries of a highly disputed thrice-taken spot kick, which ultimately led to the undeserved equalizer (3-3) – much to the chagrin of the marginalized darkies at the time.
In today’s edition of your hot favourite weekly sports feature Tales of the Legends, painstakingly profiling tales of retired athletes, notably footballers, New Era Sport brings to you our esteemed reader the unrevealed football journey of this phenomenal footballer, Wolfgang Fleischhammel.
Carlos ‘CK’ Kambaekwa
Windhoek-Back in the day, black and white athletes were strictly prohibited from rubbing shoulders with each other on the sports fields by the skewed apartheid laws that prevented them from participating in all kinds of sports activities alongside each other because of the racial segregation system.
As a result, blacks were denied a chance to pit their god-given skills against the finest athletes on hand. And while darkies were restricted to compete in knockout cup tournaments – white teams played in the well-structured national football league.
As time went by, those with superior ball skills would be taken up in the country’s sole representative in the highly competitive semi-professional South African Provincial Football League. This led to the unavoidable formation of Windhoek City Football Club.
The squad had in its star-studded line-up greats such as the versatile Hasso Ahrens, Ronnie Hoole, dribbling wizard Bob Koudelka, Richard Wagner (goalkeeper), Don Corbett, Siggy Horstemkhe, Werner Massier, George Hill, Karl-Heinz Steinfurth (Steinie), Vic Lovell, Siggy Anderson, Ian Wood, Peter Rath, Hartmund Beyer, Ian Buchanan, Uwe Ahrens, Werner Sasse (Saxy), Gernot Ahrens, Paul Carstens and many others.
It so happened that when local authorities, though reluctantly under the stewardship of the hardcore apartheid perpetrator, Advocate Louis Pienaar, agreed albeit with a heavy heart to sanction a match between blacks and whites – this match was to ease racial tensions between the two factions.
The teams would trot on to the field at the same venue after the first match ended in a controversial 3-all draw – this after the whites were awarded an extremely controversial soft penalty in the dying minutes of an otherwise exciting match that had the large crowd on the edge of their seats for the better part of this adrenaline-pumping football bonanza, never witnessed before in our neck of the woods.
A goal apiece via the obedient boots of Fleischhammel and Paul Carstens gifted the whites a hard-fought 2-1 victory but football turned out to be the ultimate winner.
Doc Hardley netted the only goal for the Blacks Eleven while Oscar Mengo had a late penalty kick saved by the whites burly goalie, the late Vic Lovell.
Soon afterwards, the red-faced authorities finally resolved to abandon a significant chunk of discriminatory laws
including sport and the sharing of public facilities – much to the dismay and disgust of conservative or rather uncompromising lily-white “broedersbond”.
This particular football bonanza eventually paved the way for the inevitable formation of a multi-racial football league in apartheid South West Africa (SWA) in 1977.
And while the majority of Windhoek City’s playing personnel decided to form their own football team christened City Combined Banks United, some of the leading footballers opted to rejoin former teams Ramblers and Sport Klub Windhoek (SKW) aka “Imawida” respectively.
Fleischhammel resurfaced at the predominantly German-speaking club SKW, aka “Imawida”, where in no time, the fast as lightning winger established himself as a proven goal scorer in the highly competitive Central Football League (CFA) composed of teams from the richly talent-laden Katutura, Okahandja, Rehoboth and the broader City of Windhoek.
When the very first truly SWA representative football team was selected for the annual South African Provincial Currie Cup tourney – it was only befitting that the moustached beanpole winger with the delicious left foot Fleischhammel’s name would be engraved on the team sheet.
“Wolfie”. as the tallish winger was affectionately known amongst his circle of football friends, was an invaluable member of the touring SWA team that competed fiercely in East London, South Africa in 1977 and went on to uninterruptedly represent his adopted native land on numerous occasions in the prestigious Currie Cup tourney, with great aplomb.
In the meantime, the German national would torment many goalkeepers in the domestic football league with his ferocious shots from long range – much to the delight of the neutral football fan.
Sadly, the much-liked soft-spoken winger called it quits while still at the pinnacle of his blossoming football career – only to return to his native Germany. He now lives peacefully in the modest harbour city of Hamburg, northern Germany, with his family.