Death has once again struck the Namibian football family with news of the sad passing of former Ramblers and South West Africa (SWA) lanky forward Wayne Jones.
The shaggy haired retired footballer passed away in Cape Town, South Africa where he relocated in the mid eighties after a short but successful stint with the exciting Pionierspark Park Ramblers.
A footballer, blessed with immense talent, Wayne could have played the game at the highest level but as a result of many reasons, the tallish goal poacher never really reached his peak.
Jones was a valuable squad member of the star-studded South West Africa (SWA) side, arguably the finest team to represent South West Africa (SWA) in the highly competitive annual South African Provincial Currie Cup tournament in Orkney, Western Transvaal, in 1981.
Sadly, the much-adored shaggy-haired retired net buster has taken a bow from the game of life in the Mother City, (Cape Town), his adopted land of residency, South Africa as a result of ill health.
In today’s edition of your favourite weekly sports feature, Tales of the Legends, a definite guide to the untold history of Namibian football, painstakingly profiling our sports heroes and heroines, past and present, New Era Sport unzips the football journey of this unheralded lethal goal poacher.
Carlos “CK” Kambaekwa
Windhoek – Without a shadow of doubt, the late Wayne Jones ranks amongst the greatest footballers ever to emerge from the newly formed multi-racial football league in the mid-seventies.
A significant chunk of former footballers that have immensely contributed to the overall growth of domestic football have slipped away from the game unnoticeably but the Namibian football fraternity certainly owes them a great debt of gratitude for their unselfish contribution towards the indisputable success of the beautiful game of football.
And while some of these athletes have gone the way of all flesh, others are still aimlessly lingering around not knowing where their next meal is going to come from. Sadly, the late Wayne Jones was amongst who had sadly gone off the rails.
A highly gifted fellow, Wayne possessed all the required attributes of a complete footballer but his promising football career was not soft peddling and foam rubber sailing for the talented tallish striker.
Should a book ever be written about the yet to be told true history of Namibian football, the script will be considered incomplete without having the name of Wayne Jones engraved in it.
At the peak of his unfulfilled football career, the lanky forward had little peers in the business if any. Your typical old fashioned centre forward, Wayne was blessed with almost all the required attributes of a complete footballer in the true sense of the word.
He was well known for his traditional never-say-die attitude on the playing field, richly blessed with a cool eye for goal and above all, possessed terrific aerial power second to none
Such was his unmatched football virtuosity that he was invited for trials at leading football club, Soweto giants Orlando Pirates in the South African professional football league, but his wayward behavour and personal obstacles obstructed his progress.
Dozens of condolences poured in for the departed Ramblers target man with those close to him praising his football whilst taking cognisance of his wayward behaviour.
“I’ve personally organised a trial for him at Orlando Pirates because I truly felt he was good enough to cut it through but personal obstacles got in the way. RIP Wayne, you have left your mark!!,” reads one of the comments.
“Yes, he was great player who sadly made many wrong personal choices,” states another sympathiser. His former club, Ramblers also sent their condolences to the bereaved family. “Our profound condolences to the family. What a character – RIP Wayne”.
Wayne arrived at Ramblers FC from the South African Army base in Grootfontein in the early eighties at the invitation of boyhood buddy Mike Smythe. The lanky forward fell in love with the country and decided to stay put in then South West Africa (SWA) upon completion of his compulsory two-year long army assignment.
The prolific goal getter previously played for leading Cape Town outfit, First National Rangers St Agnes Amateur Football Club (AFC) and brought a wealth of experience along with him when he joined forces with the Tunschell Street Boys
Those with intimate knowledge about the finer points of the beautiful game argue and rightly so, that the SWA Currie Cup team of 1981 was arguably the most well-balanced team to have ever represented South West Africa (SWA) at the prestigious 16-team provincial yearly football bonanza.
Two of the greatest footballers of their generation in apartheid South West Africa (SWA) Doc Hardley and Oscar Mengo were freely pulling the strings in the middle of the park for the SWA amateurs – much to the delight of the football fans whilst leaving their much fancied opponents in absolute awe.
The overall intensity of the annual tournament in that particular year was absolute top class with many of the competing provinces laden with super stars in their respective squads.
The province of Natal team had great footballers in their armoury led by giant centre back Merwin Haupfleisch, Mike du Plessis, Dennis Wicks, Stuart Turnbul and Ernie Wallis amongst others, mentored by former “Bafana Bafana” coach Clive Barker.
All the above-mentioned footballers have gone onto represent Durban City with great aplomb in the highly competitive South African professional football league in the intervening years.
He previously played for leading Cape Town club Saint Agnes FC and brought a wealth of experience with him when he joined forces with the Bobby Craddock-skippered Tunschell Street Boys. May his soul rest in eternal peace in one piece.