The ineffable footballing journey of Stephanus ‘Makati’ Doeseb… the intrepid pocket midfielder

Back then when there were no properly organized league structures for local football teams especially those of the poor natives. [Bantu] settings, many teams were content to field the same starting 11 for very long stretches unless death struck or serious injury occurred.

As things stand, many fringe players would be frustrated with this ongoing scenario and would be forced to resort to setting up their own football clubs to enjoy some much-desired playing time.

With football being considered a religion among the indigenous inhabitants of the country, the garden city of Okahandja was among the main cities producing athletes of great substance despite its paltry population.

The city had a sextet of top football teams in the form of Spoilers, Zebras (later Black Beauty Chiefs), Magic Tigers, Young Stars (mostly for people of color/basters) and the all-white team of Okahandja Mannschaft.

Growing tired of watching their heroes in action week after week, a significant number of vernacular Khoekhoegowab youths decided to start their own football team in the mold of the Battle Boys Football Club in 1970.

New Era Sport caught up with one of the club’s prominent founding members, now-retired pocket attacking midfielder Stephanus McCart “Makati” Doeseb.

A product of the revered Aurora Native School, Doeseb began chasing the ball as a barefoot youth on the dusty streets of Nau-Aib, Okahandja.

With no recreational facilities or other leisure activities for the majority of the townspeople, young Doeseb was like many other boys his age – crazy about football – and played the beautiful game whenever the opportunity presented itself.

The 15-year-old and barely out of his shorts, Doeseb teamed up with some of his classmates, led by stylish dribbling wizard Moses Tanib ‘Bastardo’ Straightwolf, midfield genius Times ‘Lemmy’ Goagoseb, steady defender Teacher ‘Lucky’ Claasen, forward Mike Migub Noabeb, speedy winger Ishmael Tsutsai Khoeseb, beanpole centre-back Gai-Namab ‘Ou Light’ Haigomab, nimble goalkeeper Hermann ‘Harry’ Garos-aob, attacking fullback Alex ‘Kanjungu Koura’ Kapenaina, and a few others who formed the backbone of the Battle Boys in 1970.

The new kid on the block hit the ground running, playing engaging attacking football never seen before in that corner of the woods.

The team recruited other talented youngsters from St Joseph’s Secondary School (Dobra) and Khorixas in the form of Bernard ‘Hassie’ Mingeri and devastating twins Paul and Peter Haosemab.

The young outfit has become the toast of the city’s football fans, vigorously challenging the dominance of the city’s main top teams, Spoilers and Black Beauty Chiefs (BBC).

High compliments from staff included: Johannes Haoseb, Chisley Hardley, Matheus van Wyk, Ishmael Goagab and Denias Godza.

The Battle Boys would compete fiercely in the hotly contested knockout cup tournaments in towns like Arandis, Walvis Bay, Omaruru, Khorixas, Swakopmund, Otjiwarongo, Outjo, Windhoek, Mariental and Grootfontein, where the team left a lasting impression with their attractive football mat style.

As the team grew, the black and white strip outfit managed to attract other highly gifted youngsters from the Garden City to their nest which saw the Spoilers FC pair of the clever general winger-midfielder Benjamin ‘Doc’ Naobeb pitch and overlapping fullback. George Gariseb crosses the room to join the Battle Boys.

However, the inevitable introduction of co-ed football to Apartheid South West Arica (SWA) in 1977 saw the team’s fortunes crumble, with many of the club’s best players recruited by the city’s top teams from bright lights (Windhoek).

Losing the valuable services of a decent number of top players led by the quartet of Doc Naobeb, George Gariseb, Times ‘Lemmy’ Goagoseb and Ishmael ‘Zambia’ Khoeseb to the glamorous football club of Katutura African Stars and Haosemab twins from Khorixas team Robber Chanties FC, was a blow to the club’s progress and left the club with a seriously skeletal playing staff.

Truth be told, the Battle Boys never recovered from the setback, as the team slowly evaporated into thin air, inadvertently finding refuge in the has-beens’ trash can. The burden was placed on the small shoulders of the indefatigable Doeseb to revive the team’s faltering fortunes.

However, as fate demanded, Doeseb jumped ship to join the new Rolling Computers FC, under new local deli owner and former team-mate Ishmael ‘Zambia’ Khoeseb. The latter dangled an irresistible juicy carrot in his slightly unearthly baby face to join the new club, and as they say, the rest is history.

“While playing for Rolling Computers, I befriended a smart boy named Phello Moviaro. He (Phello) told me to come with him south to try out at flagship club Aimablaagte, Black Marroko Chiefs (BMC) in Mariental, for testing,” says Doeseb.

As it turns out, it only took a few touches of the ball for Doeseb during a training session to impress his potential suitors. The absurd pocket attacking midfielder signed from the spot and hit the ground running, putting in impressive performances for the black and red stripe outfit.

Unfortunately, the long-held belief that home is always where the heart is has once again played its hand, as Doeseb’s return to the historic enclave was inevitable. [back to Okahandja]. Unfortunately, by this time, the football-mad playmaker was getting a little long in the tooth and eventually quit.

Nevertheless, Doeseb wasn’t entirely at a loss for football when he started refereeing. He was rightly rewarded with the task of officiating Premier League matches in his hometown, which coincided with the birth of Liverpool FC, the city’s only representative in the country’s top football league in the time.

In the meantime, a die-hard Orlando Pirates stalwart, Doeseb has been officially appointed to mobilize supporters in and around Okahandja.

Although he has retired from competitive football, Doeseb sporadically plays football for recreation for the Golden All Stars team in popular social football tournaments, alongside other retired legends such as Tiger Goagoseb, Eleazer ‘Godzilla’ Uirab, Samora Gurirab, among a galaxy. from other stars.

It will be a hard pill for many ignorant football fans to swallow, but the prevailing opinion among reputable football pundits is that Battle Boys, without a doubt, played some of the most appealing football ever seen on the ground. Namibia before the country’s democracy in 1990.

Truth be told, the Battle Boys should be in the same conversation as the exciting Khomasdal Young Ones outfit aka ‘The Kings at Night’ and the unplayable Omulunga Chelsea FC outfit from Grootfontein.

2022-04-01 Carlos Kambaekwa

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