The history of Namibian football would be totally incomplete and grave travesty of justice if written without mentioning exciting Khomasdal outfit Atlanta Chiefs Football Club – let alone ignoring the contribution of footballers from that neck of the woods towards the overall growth of domestic football.
It goes beyond any comprehension as to why it took football authorities close to three decades to recognise the sacrifices and immeasurable contribution of Namibia’s football guru, Uncle Bobby Sissing.
In today’s edition of your favourite weekly sports feature Tales of the Legends, profiling our athletes past and present –
New Era Sport takes you our esteemed reader down memory lane with exciting Khomasdal outfit Atlanta Chiefs FC.
WINDHOEK - Namibia’s football guru, uncle Bob Sissing wears the kind of face that would certainly not look out of place as a pop star, the hippy-look-alike football obsessed retired footballer-cum-administrator-turned-political activist, needs no introduction in domestic football.
Truth be told history reveals that uncle Bob is the man who has unselfishly put his body on the line, defying orders from authorities when they desperately sought to separate coloureds/basters and Bantus (blacks) from mingling through football segregation back in the day.
Uncle Bob was single handedly at the forefront when the button wielding Bowker boys refused permission to allow a mixed Coloured/Basters and Bantu football Invitational Eleven to represent South West Africa (SWA) in a South African Provincial Tournament in neigbouring South Africa in 1966.
Uncle Bob would have none of that as he bluntly refused to be bullied around, resulting in the cancellation of the tour – hence Namibian football is a great deal indebted to uncle Bob in many ways.
When the country’s top eight football clubs resolved to break all ties with the autocratic multi racial football league to form the rebel Namibia Super Soccer League (NSSL) – authorities retaliated by denying the rebel clubs access to stadiums in all black townships – much to the chagrin of the masses.
It was only after the timely intervention of the uncompromising uncle Bob that determined clubs would realise their dream of taking the game of football to another level.
Sissing made the Khomasdal field available allowing the new league to kick-start its campaign without any further hindrance.
The no nonsense uncle Bob, has survived many battles as he ruffled feathers with those who did share his views on many aspects of the game as he appeared to be way ahead of his peers with his advanced football philosophy.
When Kaizer Motaung arrived in the country with his team for few exhibition matches against the star-studded Central Invitational Eleven in 1969 – uncle Bob was hastily roped in as the match referee on the day and as they say, the rest is history.
His no nonsense handling of the match must have impressed the visitors, notably the team’s best player, one Kaizer “Chincha Guluwa” Motaung, a left footed striker wearing jersey number 24.
“I became good friends with both Kaizer (Motaung) and team manager, the late Ewert Nene because I was really taken by their spotless professionalism and football expertise,” says uncle Bob.
It was not long before the team’s name was changed to Kaizer Chiefs from Kaizer Eleven whiles the brainchild behind the formation Kaizer, was still plying his trade with North American outfit Atlanta Chiefs.
When the argumentative uncle Bob had a fall out with his club Merits FC, he wasted little time and formed his own football team, which he rightfully christened Atlanta Chiefs.
The hippy look alike football obsessed tough tackling fullback embarked on a serious recruitment mission and managed to assemble the cream de la crème of footballers from the Khomasdal residential area.
Amongst those who followed him to his new team was exciting young winger Alan van Harte, a highly gifted footballer without a shadow of doubt the finest coloured footballer to have ever emerged from that neck of the woods.
Back in the day, there were no organised football league structures, resulting in players changing allegiance at the slightest provocation.
And being the man he is, always true to his word, skin colour mattered very little to the easygoing uncle Bob as he spreads his wings further across the Khomasdal spectrum.
The likes of Oscar “Silver Fox” Mengo, Isaack “Brown” Amwenye, Steps Nickel, Kaika Kuzee, Ben Kauejao and Doc Hardley were all roped in when the team undertook a historic tour to Cape Town, South Africa.
The safari down under would ultimately strengthen the playing personnel further as the likes of Lionel “Boet” Mathews, Willy Rwida, Donald Cloete-Wentzel, Abrahams and Raymond “Gogo” Barreiro, all enticed with lucrative job offers in Windhoek to cross the Orange River for greener pastures.
With the new arrivals, Chiefs unavoidably became the toast of Khomasdal with their one touch style of football.
Ironically, that football brand would trickle down to the next generation of footballers in Khomasdal, as displayed by the exciting Khomasdal youthful outfit Young Ones Football Club, aka “The Kings at Night”.
In the absence of players’ registration, Atlanta Chiefs would often link up with local rivals Thistles to compete in high profile knockout cup tournaments where the team would sweep their more fancied opponents aside with their carpet like football.
As fate would have it, Chiefs were dealt a devastating blow when the team’s blue-eyed boy Alan van Harte, sadly drowned in the notorious Goreangab Dam on the outskirts of Windhoek on the 1st of January 1971, whilst celebrating new years day.
The team never fully recovered from the setback and folded slowly with many of its playing personnel joining ranks with other local clubs while others returned to their native Mother City.
Nonetheless, the now defunct Atlanta Chiefs will go down in history as the team that set the bar paving the way for many young footballers from Khomasdal to be entrenched in a unique style of football.
Those that spring to mind are; Mannetjie “Makes” Du Plessis, Brian Isaacs, Fritzie Polster, Lance Willemse, Donkey Madjiet, Ritchie “Ski” Steenkamp, Lester “Largo” Fourie, George Wiertz, Tollie van Wyk, Jan Cloete, Capes Nel, Bassie English, Stakes Coetzee, Willem Cloete, Peter “Gwacks” Moller, Mike Pieterson, Davon “Flamero de Janeiro” Jansen and many others.