Another dark cloud has befallen the Namibian football fraternity with news of the sad passing of football legend retired Chief Santos Football Club sharpshooter Sagarias Auchumeb, also known as ‘Selle’, amongst his circle of friends.
The likeable Selle took a bow from the game of life after losing a long battle with severe diabetic ailments that saw him having both legs amputated, confining him to a wheelchair.
The late Selle will be best remembered for his well-taken brace in the historic first-ever multi-racial exhibition football match between the South West Africa (SWA) blacks Eleven and their white counterparts at the packed to rafters Suidwes stadion (Dr Hage Geingob stadium) in Windhoek in 1975. The hotshot lanky forward was one hell of a painful figure for opposing shot-stoppers during a successful career that saw him tormenting defenders at will with his blistering pace and canon-like shots.
The 4th October 1975 will go down in the golden pages of our national archives as the day when domestic football finally came of age. It was the day when authorities effectively used the beautiful game of football as an essential tool to break racial barriers between blacks and whites.
It was on this particular day that a young tall and skinny lad, Selle, stunned the close to 6 000 fans at the compact Suidwes Rugby Stadium. The “copper Town Bullet” rattled the net with a pair of well-taken goals that gifted the South West Africa Blacks Eleven a share of the spoils in a six-goal thriller in the first-ever football clash featuring black and white footballers on opposing ends.
Carlos ‘CK’ Kambaekwa
Unlike many footballers from his generation who started chasing leather in the dusty streets of their respective towns and cities – Selle’s interest in the spherical object took off around bushes on a remote farm at a very young age.
From the time that he kicked around a football for his village team Forest Garden – Selle showed unmatched brilliance with a ball glued to his tiny feet.
His football career took off in full stream when he started his schooling at the Roman Catholic Mission School in his hometown Tsumeb. Here, he rubbed shoulders with other boys such as the late Corrie Uri-Khob, Steps Nickel, Alphons Makako and Jakes Gariseb, it was only proper that he would be named captain of the newly formed exciting outfit Blue Waters.
“It was just a small team made up of schoolboys, touring surrounding towns, playing against other boys from Mariabron with Pele Eigowab and the Ugelwie brothers Markus and Gotthard amongst our opponents,” recalled Selle during an exclusive interview with New Era Sport in 2009. As times went by, he joined one of the town’s top teams Rangers, for which he featured regularly between 1966 and 1968. “Rangers used to be a very strong team on the playing field but the leadership was not up to scratch – and that eventually led to our downfall. We had a very formidable squad that consisted of talented footballers such as the late Gabes Dausab, Ectos Kandundu, Mike Howaeb and the late Kauru Bullower, amongst the cream of the town.” A product of the Catholic Mission School in Tsumeb, it was only fitting that young Selle would further his schooling at the “School of Excellence,” the St Joseph’s High School at Dobra, northeast of Windhoek. Upon his arrival at Dobra in 1969, Selle joined a hostel team Indian Pirates and was immediately drafted into the school’s second team where he played for six months alongside Eddy Klazen, Five Hochobeb and Moganedi TIhabanelo.
“Tihaba and I were eventually promoted to the first team the following year and found ourselves in the company of Steve Stephanus, Kariirii Katire, George Ngeseya and the Hans brothers Willem, John and Mike”. The school’s football team became the toast of football followers around the country with their brand of direct one-touch football philosophy capturing the imagination of many.
And though the team never won any particular major tournament – it became regular customers in the semi-finals of dozens of knockout cup competitions. Back home in his native Tsumeb, Selle left his Rangers in exchange for local rivals Etosha Lions but never got a chance to play until 1970.
“At the time, I had relocated to Khorixas to further my studies at the Welwitschia High School where I teamed up with a crop of highly gifted young boys spearheaded by the colourful Mini Nawatiseb, Theo ‘Momina’ Gurirab, Ou Rudge Noariseb, Gawarib Urib, Titus Gariseb and schoolteacher German Gaseb,”. As the years rolled on, Selle became a regular starter at exciting Nomtsoub outfit Etosha Lions, which has in the meantime changed its name to Chief Santos.
“Eish... the squad was very dangerous, few teams could match us and with guys like Steps Nickel, Levy Guiseb, Sacharias Gowaseb, Barnabas Ouseb, Daniel Kubas and schoolteacher Engelhard Gariseb in our armoury... we were unstoppable. The latter was an absolute born leader.” “He maintained a high spirit amongst the playing personnel. Santos won several knockout cup competitions under his leadership and who would ever forget that historic day in Tsumeb when we beat Katutura giants Orlando Pirates in the final of the first-ever knockout cup tourney carrying prize money of N$500.” The teams were tied at one-all after Benzil Khotiseb had put the hosts ahead... only for Ambrossius Vyff to level matters – leaving the teams deadlocked with seven minutes left on the clock until a skinny lad going by the name of Selle made his presence felt with one moment of individual brilliance.
Young Selle was tightly marked by Pirates’ robust defender Ananias ‘Bigman’ Nanuseb who never gave him any breathing space in that particular match.
Nonetheless, the slippery forward won possession and left Bigman for dead before letting fly with a scorcher from 40 meters out, leaving Japhet Hellao catching thin air. Santos won the match 2-1 and Selle would always cherish that goal for the rest of his life.
Selle was selected for the South West Africa Bantu Invitational Eleven that went onto win the South African Provincial Tournament, the biannual Impala Cup in Johannesburg in 1974, but could not make the trip across the Orange River because of other pressing commitments, which he flatly declined to reveal to the author.
His exploits on the football field did not go unnoticed and when authorities reluctantly sanctioned the historic match between the blacks and whites invitation teams – Selle’s name was amongst the first on the team sheet. He grabbed a brace in the six-goal thriller against the tactically superior whites who were made to chase shadows by their more skilful black counterparts
It was an unbelievable experience aided by a phenomenal atmosphere amongst both sets of players. Young Albert Tjihero netted our first goal from a free-kick before I scored two stunning goals to give us a 3-1 lead.
However, the whites came back strongly in the second half and scored two late goals through Ivo de Gouveia strike and Gernot Ahrehs’s highly disputed penalty to give them a share of the spoils as the match finished in a 3- all stalemate. Pufi Rahn scored the other goal.
“Both teams had great players in their respective squads, but we were more talented. The likes of Storm, Lemmy, Ranga, Max, Theu, Fritzie, Kaika, Safe (Kuruseb), Riva (Jakonia), Kaputji, Archie, Albert, Vossie and Gawarib were just something out of the ordinary.”
Selle and Santos teammate Archie Ochurub chickened out of a proposed move to an unnamed club in Johannesburg – arranged by the late tallish football guru Herbert Conradie. “He ( Conradie) had already bought flight tickets for us but we refused point-blankly to board the Johannesburg-bound Boeing. He was very upset with me and since that day we were no longer on talking terms until his death.”
A stalwart of many successes at Santos, the departed forward was undoubtedly the longest-serving footballer in the history of Santos.
Selle guided several generations at the Copper Town outfit and was the catalyst behind the all-conquering Santos side that boasted emerging youngsters in the shape of Slice Ouseb, Lucky Kakuva, and Gerros Uri-Khob. “I enjoyed playing alongside Barnabas Ouseb and Archie Ochurub because the three of us formed a telepathic partnership on the playing field. Very few defenders could contain us on our day”.
He also had a short stint with exciting Kuisebmond outfit Namibia Woestyn where he played alongside elder brother Straal Auchumeb in a devastating five-pronged firing line comprising Daito Hagendoorn, Haban Adams and Axarob Doeseb.
All of them have since gone the way of all flesh... May their combined souls continue to rest in peace.