Windhoek-Two of the most recognisable football institutions in the annals of domestic football, Katutura glamour football club African Stars and eternal cross-town rivals Ramblers will join hands in taking their love-hate relationship to the next level.
History reveals that Ramblers were finalists in the maiden edition of the now defunct Mainstay Knockout Cup during the inaugural season of multiracial football in apartheid South West Africa (SWA) in 1977, and ironically also featured in the final edition of the coveted Mainstay Cup in 1985.
The Gunter Hellinghausen’s led Pionierspark outfit suffered a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Oscar Mengo’s inspired African Stars in the final in 1977 but redeemed themselves to claim victory in 1985 walloping Tsumeb outfit Chief Santos by four unanswered goals at the Katutura stadium.
Eight years later, Rambler’s bearded skipper Bobby Craddock led the highly motivated Tunschell street boys to a well deserved victory as the rampant Rammies ran riot against their outs of sorts opponents on a chilly Saturday afternoon.
On the other hand, Stars reached the Mainstay Cup final again in 1980, 1981– dispatching Black Africa and Otjiwarongo outfit Black Marroko Chiefs (BMC) respectively.
The Reds reclaimed the trophy at the expense of coastal side Blue Waters at a packed to the rafters Windhoek stadium through Mengo’s headed goal in 1984.
Now, exactly forty years down the line, the two clubs surviving legends last week celebrated their rival on the football field when they held a reunion in the capital that attracted a significant number of the clubs’ stalwarts, who gathered at the Ramblers club house in Pionierspark to relive the good old days.
Amongst the most famous faces in attendance were; Ian Wood, Bobby Craddock, Gunter Hellinghausen, Albert Tjihero, Oscar Mengo, Heiner Beiter, Asser Mbai, Karl-Heinz Steinfurth (Steini) Willy Rwida, Dieter Widmann (Stars coach) Doc Naobeb, Gary Sales (coached both teams) George Gariseb, Kierie Tjituaiza, Seadog Kuhanga and Patrick Kauta (NPL Chairman).
On completion of the usual rituals on the night, the two clubs knuckled down to some serious business, with Stars former defender and executive member Asser Mbai taking to the podium to propose the two clubs to work hand in glove to foster a closer relationship.
“It’s a well documented secret that Ramblers is blessed with good sporting facilities complimented by a comprehensive youth football academy – hence my proposal for the two clubs to work closely with each other”
“Since you don’t have a team in the country’s topflight football league (NPL) – it’s my humble appeal to your esteemed club to start considering grooming young footballers to be taken up in our structures once they have reached that level instead of going astray,” Stars long serving team manager Lesley Kozonguizi added.
In response, a delighted and articulate Ramblers Sports Club chairperson Herald Hecht expressed satisfaction with the mooted idea, promptly undertaking to engage in further discussions in the not too distant future.