He came, lived and conquered the pitches of domestic football, and former Blue Waters Football Club’s top marksman Neema Lemmy Lazarus will go down in history as one the most lethal goalscorers of all time.
The stocky attacker was the catalyst in the well-oiled Waters frontline, alongside veteran goalpoacher Pwiro ‘Black Napoleon’ Angula, Lawrence ‘Zondi’ Amadhila, and the nimble-footed Micah Capro Ngapurue.
In today’s edition of your favourite weekly sport feature, Tales of the Legends, New Era Sport will posthumously pay tribute to this great son of the soil.
The coastal town of Walvis Bay has given Namibian football great players over the years, but none captured the imagination of the neutral fan more than tricky forward, the late Neema Lemmy Lazarus. The much-adored, free- scoring Lazarus was part of the Birds’ untouchable side that swept their opponents aside in the mid-70’s.
His impressive displays week in and week out caught the attention of the national selectors when he was deservedly included in the star-studded Western Invitational Eleven against the visiting Kaizer Chiefs at the old Katutura stadium in 1976.
Lazarus earlier led the firing line when the strong South West Africa Invitational Eleven confronted their supposedly superior white counterparts in the historic first mixed race exhibition match at the packed-to-the-rafters Suidwes rugby stadium in 1975.
Although he did not register his name of the score-sheet on that particular day, the nimble-footed forward ran the show, showing the tough-tackling robust white defenders a few tricks about the finer points of the game.
Lazarus would go on to play a pivotal role in Waters’ domination of local football. He also made his mark in the first multi-racial match against cross-town rivals Atlantis Football Club that saw him sending the clearly out-of-sorts Atlantis defenders on a merry-go-round with his unique style of dribbling.
However, Lazarus sent shockwaves amongst the club’s followers when he silently slipped out of the harbour town, only to resurface in the Copper Town of Tsumeb, where he found temporary shelter with Nomtsoub outfit Benfica.
After a few impressive performances with the blue and white strip outfit, the dribbling magician skipped his motherland, crossing the Angolan border into the unknown. Sadly, that was the last time he was ever seen and heard alive, and his whereabouts remain a mystery up to this day.
Lazarus is one of many prominent footballers who never returned from exile, joining the list of former Blue Waters’ teammates Capro Ngapurue, Vincent Botsotso Hermann and Lawrence Zondi Amadhila, Tigers’ stalwart and astute football administrator Simon Sisingi Hiskia, Flames trident of flying wingers Ngururume Katjiku, Edward Futuma Kaizemi, goalie Boas Mboroto Herunga, former Okakarara Secondary School hard-running winger Immanuel Fusi Semba, Orlando Pirates’ midfield general Benny Petrus, and young Pirates left winger Petrus Perro Eichab as well as Black Africa’s promising midfielder Erich Khari-agab Lambert. May all their souls continue to rest in power.