• May 26th, 2020
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Hand in glove with agile goalie Japhet Shapama //Gowaseb-Hellao

Football pundits opine that former Orlando Pirates Football Club acrobatic bulky shot stopper Japhet Hellao, aka “Bump Jive” was the finest gloves man to have ever walked Namibian soil. The fearless net guard enjoyed a stellar playing career with both the Buccaneers and the Augustineum High School football team. He was a valuable squad member of the unstoppable South West Africa {SWA} Blacks Invitational Eleven’s golden generation that won the Impala Cup in Johannesburg, 1974. The multi-talented net guard also had stints with home team Blue Boys, Explorer Eleven and Atlanta Chiefs before wounding up his illustrious football career with unfashionable Katutura outfit Swallows FC. A jack of all trades, the retired beefy goalkeeper-cum-tavern-boss-turned-entrepreneur, was also the lead vocalist for low key local pop band Motions and successful team manager for exciting Katutura youthful outfit Sorento Bucks. “Whenever you stand up against white people, one gets accused of politicking, conveniently branded a troublemaker, but when they disagree with you it’s not politics,” Japhet on his omission from the SWA Currie Cup team.

WINDHOEK – To many, he’s known as the talkative easygoing generous “mandala” with a good hand at barbeque meat at his roadside eatery in Soweto’s Abraham Mashego’s street.

However, the humorous grey bearded big framed entrepreneur is a man of many of talents. Born Japhet Shapama //Gowaseb Hellao in Swakopmund, is best remembered for his heroics between the sticks for Katutura outfit Orlando Pirates, back in the day.

He started his football journey with Mondesa outfit Blue Boys in Swakopmund and also manned the sticks for Kuisebmond outfit Explorer Eleven. 

He was founder member of exciting Mondesa outfit Atlanta Chiefs before relocating to the city of bright lights {Windhoek} to pursue his education at the revered Augustineum High School in 1970.
It was while turning out for the school’s football team that his exploits between the sticks drew the attention of Pirates’ talent scouts. “We played a match against Orlando Pirates in Katutura and beat them 1-0 via Asser Mbai’s solitary goal,” relates “Bump Jive”.

He was placed under the care of Pirates’ stalwarts, the late trident of Ou Geiter Namaseb, Blessie Auxab, and the bent horn guru Ou Leyden Naftalie. May their combined souls continue to rest in peace.
The Ghosts were in dire need of a decent goalkeeper after both their net guards Abel Nero and Jeremiah “Daggas” Hochobeb were suspended for life from all football related activities after the pair bliksemed the lights out of a match official.

He immediately established himself as the hottest shot stopper in the business and was deservedly called up to the Central Invitational Eleven for exhibition matches against the visiting Kaizer Chiefs at the old Katutura stadium.

The beefy net guard rose to prominence when he kept marauding strikers at bay with breathtaking saves when the South West Africa {SWA} Invitational Eleven clinched the biannual Inter Provincial Impala Cup in Johannesburg, in 1974. 

The SWA amateurs easily waltzed past Free State {3-1} in the final in front of a big crowd at Orlando stadium. The match served as curtain raiser for a league clash between Soweto rivals Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs. Willem Eichab netted a brace (2) with Pius Eigowab completing the score line.

That victory ultimately paved the way for the Soweto giants to lure the Namibians to the city of gold that saw both Oscar Mengo and Pele Eigowab join Amakhosi while Doc Hardley and inspirational skipper Steve Stephanus went into the opposite direction.

The Ghosts were also keen on capturing the signatures of the acrobatic Namibian goalie and two of his teammates Eliphas Sabatha and Ranga Lucas, but the trio would have of that.

In the interim, “Bump Jive” won almost everything there was to be won in domestic football. He was subsequently selected for the SWA Currie Cup team in 1978, but failed to board the plane after his loud mouth landed him in hot water with football authorities.  

“I vehemently protested against the rational of selecting eight central defenders but my well-meant argument did not seat well with team management. The late Chris Nel accused me of being political, a disruptive influence and masterminded my omission from the travelling entourage with the blessings of Elliot “Om Paul” Hiskia.”

The year 1978 proved to be a bad omen for the giant goalie as he also missed out for a starting berth when Pirates won the second edition of the annual Mainstay Cup – dispatching bitter rivals Black Africa 1-0 through 22-year old Eric Muinjo’s lone strike. 

“What actually transpired is that I had a fallout with our then hardcore coach Dios Engelbrecht. He was furious and summarily withdrew me from the squad.”  

Like many other good athletes, it was time for the giant goalie to seek new challenges elsewhere. He sent shockwaves amongst the Ghosts diehards when he jumped ship to join forces with Swallows – a breakaway team from Pirates’ reserves. 

“To be honest, I was getting a bit long in the tooth and when Swallows came knocking on my door my services, I did not hesitate and grabbed the opportunity with both hands.” 

With age no longer on his side, “Bump Jive” finally hung up his trusted gloves - venturing into business as the commander-in-chief at popular hangout spot, the Katutura Guests House in partnership with respected veteran politicians, socialites Emil Appolus and Paul Helmuth. 

In the meantime, youthful Katutura outfit Sorento Bucks FC pleaded with the retried goalie to become their Patron. He duly accepted the challenge of ploughing back his experience in the game that took him across the Orange River.

Under his stewardship, Bucks swept the boards in the newly formed Khomasdal based Central Namibia Football Association {CNFA} before joining the more competitive Central Football Association {CFA} second tier league. In no time, the exciting black & white strip outfit won promotion to the elite league and became the toast of the neutral football fan with their brand of carpet football. Bucks won three major cups during their somewhat short lived reign in the country’s topflight football league. 

History reveals that the streetwise seasider was the first club honcho to shower his players with financial rewards - an exercise that eventually opened the door for other teams to follow suit. 
A kindhearted man, bro Japh also played his part in the liberation of his motherland, unselfishly assisting the ruling party Swapo monetarily.  

When Namibia gained her long overdue democracy in 1990, it created a much welcomed platform for recognition for his unwavering contribution towards the overall development of domestic football. The likable war veteran was bestowed the distinct honour of becoming the first team manger to navigate the Brave Warriors. 

Carlos Kambaekwa
2019-09-20 10:19:40 8 months ago

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