I started playing football when I was around five years old.
The children in my neighbourhood would all come out into the corner of the street as the sun was setting to play an evening game before the streetlights would come on and our mothers would shout through their windows that it was time to come home.
I never had the best eye and foot coordination, but I enjoyed playing it because it was fun, and it was a time when all the children, boys and girls alike could play with each other as equals.
I remember going to the Independence Stadium with my mother whenever the Brave Warriors would play a big match and being obsessed with Ronaldo’s haircut in the 2002 World Cup.
In high school, I joined the girls’ football team and quickly realized that I was not cut out to be a striker, or midfielder because I couldn’t keep my hands off the ball for some reason. My coach asked me to try my hand at being a goalie, and surprisingly, I was actually really good at it.
Football is an integral part of Namibian culture.
It brings people together, from all races, backgrounds and ages, and supporting our national teams brings us so much pride as Namibians.
One thing that I took for granted is how the football that we know, and love today came into being in Namibia.
Curious, I decided to do some research and read an article by historians Giorgio Miesched and Dag Henrichsen titled “ Visualizing African football in apartheid Namibia: photography posters and constructions of consumers and nationalism.” which gave me some insight into the history.
Football was first introduced by German settlers in the early 1900s. At the time, football was very segregated and the first white football club “The Savages” was formed in 1916. Because of the segregation, a lot of black teams did not have the same resources or infrastructure as the white ones. The original Ramblers Club was founded in 1925 in the old location before the forced removals in December 1959.
There were well-established contests like the Hoveka trophy which started in the 1930s and the Witbooi trophy which started in the 1940s.
During the 1960s the municipalities started to build football fields for the black clubs, and there were more than black 20 clubs at the time. Some of the teams were called African Stars, Etosha Lion and even Taxi to name a few.
The South West News used to cover football matches and feature different football stars, but as Apartheid became formalized, there weren’t a lot of newspapers that would feature black football stories anymore once the paper closed in 1969.
Black football teams would play tournaments in townships etc., and would still attract a large following in their respective communities and each time had their own distinctive colours..
In the 1970s white football teams would compete against black football teams, but towards the 1980s a lot of white teams opted out of competing in “non-racial sports”
Once Independence came around in 1990, there was unity in Namibian football once again and it brought hope to a bright new nation which brought together a new sense of community and pride in Namibian identity.
A lot has changed since then, and we really should appreciate the good times and learn from our low points.
Soccer clubs gave birth to a lifestyle of weekends supporting your friends and family, on radio, watching on TV or even going to bond with friends and loved ones at the stadium, people would walk and drive from far afield to experience the beautiful game, that is what soccer does, it brings people together, just like Namibia’s Finest Lager, Tafel Lager, and the two together gives you an authentic Namibian soccer experience.
We could talk all day about the good old days, but I would really like to hear from you, your favourite moments, of years gone by.
Let’s engage on Tafel Lager’s social media platforms and relive the best and worst as we look forward to a brighter future of the most beautiful game.
Thanks for listening, I can’t wait to engage with you.
I am Hildegard, The Lady with the golden pen.
#NamibianLikeYou #NamibiasFinest #TafelLager #OsokaByTafelLager