Windhoek-Almost a century ago, a bunch of bored contract workers teamed up with enthusiastic schoolteachers to call into life what was then meant to be just a recreational institution in search of a sense of belonging.
With virtually no recreational facilities available for the native Bantus (black people) back in the day in Windhoek’s rocky Old Location, the workers – mostly migrants from the then Ovamboland in the northern part of South West Africa (SWA) – established a football team they christened Tigers.
And although the naming of Tigers did not go well down the throats of the baton-wielding “Bowker Boys”, the name stuck up this day – 90-years later.
Coincidently, Tigers are the incumbent Namibian champions, as the club celebrates 90 years of football excellence.
Tigers FC held a function in celebration of the club’s 90-years in existence at a posh hotel in central Windhoek on Monday evening and what a memorable night it turned out to be.
At the glittering ceremony, the club handed out certificates acknowledging and honouring former players in recognition of their invaluable contribution to the growth of the brand, while others were honoured posthumously.
With a sizeable number of the club’s legends having given up the ghost, anxiety took centre stage when some of the club’s most prolific departed heroes were called out during the emotional presentation, as family members walked to the stage to receive the certificates on behalf on their departed loved ones.
Amongst the notable names that caught the attention of those in attendance were club legend and arguably the finest athlete the country has ever produced Times Mwetuyela, Coloured Kakololo, Sisingi Hiskia, Honnie Ochurub, Ferre Akwenye, Seth Urib, Kapuii Angula, Puriki Vorster, Spagherro Shikwambi and many others.
Speaker after speaker could not heap enough praises on the club’s amazing longevity and ultimate survival in the dog-eat-dog industry of the country’s flagship football league, adding that Tigers, as the oldest football club in history, were indeed trendsetters and should always strive to take the lead and set the benchmark for others to follow suit.
“We should take pride in ourselves that this great institution managed the weather the storm against all staked against us to be where it s today.
“Tigers is the oldest football club in history and yet whenever we see things done wrongly and call people to order, we are being labeled rebels. How can we become rebels if we are the forefathers of Namibian football?” quibbled Lukas Nanyemba, to loud applause from the floor.
At the same occasion, guest speaker Cassius Moetie, the outspoken newly appointed chairman of Black Africa, minced no words in tearing into the country’s seemingly fragile football administration.
“It’s about time people start to take note of the role played by some of the big clubs in the history of domestic football. We have been there and seen it all, crossing many storms along the way.
“The setup in our football is hopelessly skewed. We have some small teams who consider themselves to be on par with the big guns, such as the Katutura big four. There has to be a balance in power with clear-cut guidelines, “ he charged.
On a lighter note, Moetie urged fellow Premiership clubs, notably the big guns to work hand in glove when it comes down to salary structures for players.
“There should a carefully defined collective salary cap, because if one club pays above the normal salary cap, we are likely going to shoot ourselves in the foot and price ourselves out of business.”
The well-attended gathering was graced by amongst others, local Kwaito star Gazza, a staunch Tigers supporter, NPL chairman Patrick Kauta and a decent delegation of high profile football personalities.