Without a shadow of doubt, the Ramblers football team that swept their opponents aside with a certain measure of brutality during the second edition of Premiership football in democratic Namibia, was arguably the most exciting team in the business at the time.
History reveals that the multi-racial Pionierspark outfit clinched the coveted league title in stylish fashion under the shrewd stewardship of multiple-title winning mentor and former defender Gary “The Lip” Sales, in 1992.
The team had a mixture of a significant number of fairly unknown young footballers and stalwarts in the shape of Joseph Martin, Steven Carr, Donkey Madjiedt, Mark Kutzner, Roydon Manale, Rudi Pahl, Dove Fransman, Peter Schwaetzer, Nikita Hivei and Brian Chatburn.
The arrival of young lanky centre back Tollie van Wyk led to the unavoidable influx of young and highly gifted footballers from Khomasdal joining ranks with the Tunschell Street boys as the club underwent a massive facelift.
Amongst the new arrivals was a soft-spoken well-built hard galloping midfielder going by the name of Larney Madjiedt, a product from the garden town of Okahandja.
Sandwiched by inspirational captain Rudi Pahl, Nikita Hivei and Jorge Da Purificacao, the tireless midfielder played a pivotal role in Ramblers’ league title victory as the blue and white strip outfit outclassed their more fancied opponents with ease to clinch the elusive league crown.
Sadly, the adorable midfield general succumbed to death after losing a marathon battle with a severe stroke, a deadly disease that left him confined to a wheelchair until the time of his untimely death. Larney passed away at his parents’ home in Okahandja in the wee hours of Saturday morning.
New Era Sport editor Carlos Kambaekwa shared the same dressing room with the unheralded departed football hero and is certainly well placed to share with you, our esteemed readers, the untold football journey of one of the most underrated but yet complete footballers of his generation.
OKAHANDJA – The football fraternity woke up to the sad news about the untimely passing of former Ramblers and Civics football clubs midfield anchorman Gert Larney Madjiedt.
Born in the garden town of Okahandja on the 16th of June 1971 – the easygoing shaggy-haired midfielder started playing football for the KW von Marais Primary School in Veddersdal before graduating to boyhood team Teenagers FC - only to resurface at Nau-Aib outfit Golden Bees, as he grew in stature in later years.
At face value, Larney would appear like somebody who could hardly harm a fly but his quiet nature deceived many opponents, as he was a tough nut to crack, strong in the tackle and a fearless solid man marker who gave little away when confronted in one-on-one situations.
He also packed a decent shot in his right foot and managed to register his name on the score sheet on a few occasions via his long-range shots. A great passer of the ball, Larney’s unbelievable endurance came in handy as would always outmanoeuvre his opposite number - coming out unscathed from tricky battles.
He was a valuable squad member of the star-studded Ella Du Plessis High School football team alongside incumbent Brave Warriors mentor Bucksy Mannettie, Brian Isaacs, Rex English, Golla van Staden, Harold Kaunozondunge, Tiger Goagoseb, Mac Camm, Wella van Wyk, Tollie van Wyk and other highly gifted young footballers.
His arrival in the city of bright lights (Windhoek) almost coincided with Namibia’s independence as domestic football was starting to take a new dimension. It was still during the time when the country sadly resorted to revert to separate football leagues for blacks, whites and coloureds/basters – much to the chagrin of hardcore politicians.
Larney and few of his schoolmates would turn out for Khomasdal outfit Arsenal under the mentorship of football-obsessed administrator-cum-political activist, the hippy lookalike uncle Bob Sissing.
When Namibia gained her democracy in 1990, all the leagues were dismantled to make way for a unified football league. This exercise prompted the unavoidable amalgamation of Arsenal and Civics in an effort to form one strong team, representing the Khomasdal community.
Across town, old time campaigners Ramblers FC went out on an aggressive scouting spree and managed to lure a significant number of young footballers from Khomasdal. Astute businessman Cedric Martin took over the reins, turning the club into a kind of semi-professional set-up.
As it turned out, enterprising football playing young centre back Tollie van Wyk spearheaded an exodus of highly gifted young footballers from that neck of the woods to join the revamped Tunschell Street boys.
Larney arrived at the Pionierspark outfit in 1991 alongside namesake Donkey Madjiedt, Rene Classen, Nanky van Wyk, Willy Fredericks, and multi-talented Dove Fransman.
In only his second season with the Tunschell Street boys and Larney won the coveted league title – paving the way for the team to conquer the African continent in the lucrative CAF Club Champions League in 1993.
Ramblers opened their assault in the preliminary round with a date against Mozambican champions Costa Do Sol in Maputo – losing 2-1 after taking an early lead through captain fantastic Rudi Pahl. En route to Mozambique, the Namibian champions played a warm-up match against Futebol Clube de Primerose at the Germiston stadium, south of Johannesburg. The Portuguese side had Orlando Pirates goal ace Pio Noqueira in the starting line-up as guest player.
Larney bottled the highly rated Peruvian goal machine (Noqueira) - earning him high ups from the team management after the hard fought 2-1 triumph courtesy of goals by Joseph Martin and Brian Chutburn, on a chilly night under floodlights.
Back home, Ramblers put up a gallant display in the return leg but Rammies were eliminated after a goalless stalemate in an ill-tempered match. As fate would have it, the arrival of big frame midfielder Brian Chatburn from bitter rivals SKW limited his role in the team.
Nevertheless, the adorable hard galloping midfielder persevered and would play a crucial role when Ramblers reached the final of the prestigious Metropolitan Cup Knockout Tourney before losing 2-3 to Katutura giants African Stars at Windhoek’s Independence stadium.
Larney leaves behind a pair of daughters Esme (23) and Weavely (22). He will be laid to rest in his hometown Okahandja tomorrow morning. May his soul rest in eternal peace in one piece.