14 December 2012

Namibia: Donkey With the Sweet Left Foot

Article Views (non — In 1981, a team of raw but highly talented young footballers from the Khomasdal residential area in Windhoek won promotion to the more competitive Central Football Association (CFA) and brought with them a completely new dimension to the playing style of domestic football with their blend of what was known as carpet football.

Although Young Ones Football Club could not break the stranglehold of the central top four - the quartet of African Stars, Black Africa, Orlando Pirates and Tigers - that dominated the game, the exciting Khomasdal outfit announced their arrival with 'tiki-taka' football and captured the imagination of football fans, making their opponents look like a disorganized flock of sheep more often than not.

Young Ones FC recruited all the available young talent from the neighbourhood, but it was not until the arrival of a young skinny lad - going by the name of Dawid Madjiet - that the team started to blossom. The youngster was blessed with a sweet left foot and many net guards dreaded facing his ferocious bullet shots that rightfully earned him the nickname 'Donkey'.

WINDHOEK - Young Donkey began his flourishing football career at the Catholic mission school, St Andrews Primary School, at the tender age of six through a journey that started from his birthplace in Upington in South Africa and brought him to Windhoek via the garden town of Okahandja.

A natural and prolific goal scorer, Donkey played as a striker during his formative years on the football pitch and scored lots of goals playing alongside the legendary Frank Fredericks. He also excelled in athletics and was a mean sprinter in the shorter distance, the long jump and the 4x100m relay. As if his exploits were not enough, the hyperactive youngster captained the school's Rugby XV, while he was also a well-respected Karateka. He later graduated to the Ella Du Plessis High School and continued to torment shot stoppers on the football pitch.

Donkey was a founding member of Bethlehem outfit Red Devils Football Club. "We used to compete for a couple of Wilson's toffees but nevertheless, the competition was quite fierce with nothing taken for granted," reveals the modest Donkey. When his parents relocated to the Donkerhoek section of Khomasdal, near what is known as the Laeveld, Donkey was obliged to jump ship and join forces with Young Ones Football Club where he teamed up with Lance Willemse, Dove Fransman, Paka Klazen, Makes du Plessis, Milkies Hendricks, Ski Steenkamp, Tara English, Sacca Bula, Jeffrey Bailey and Boet Mathews.

His inevitable move to Young Ones saw him playing football in a much more organized environment for the first time with the Reds who were competing in the competitive Central Division Two League. In between, the highly talented youngster would go on to feature for another Khomasdal side known as Strangers Football Club alongside elder brother Hennie Majiedt, Bertus Damon and the late Brian Greaves.

When South African Professional Football Club Wits University came to Windhoek for two exhibition matches against local sides African Stars and Orlando Pirates - the Ghosts needed to reinforce their playing personnel and looked no further than the Strangers trio of Donkey, Bertus and Brian to give them some much needed muscle against the Mike Mangena-led students.

Although Pirates lost their exhibition match, their guest players gave a good account of themselves and the Ghosts tried by all means to persuade the trio to make their stay at the Buccaneers a permanent one, but young Donkey and Damon would have none of that and the pair returned to their club with the highly rated Greaves staying put. The youngster went back to Young Ones and steered the exciting Khomasdal outfit to promotion to the elite league at their first attempt in 1981.

And while many newly promoted teams struggled to make their mark upon entering topflight football - Young Ones made the doubting Thomases sit and eat humble pie as they taught their more illustrious opponents a football lesson on the basics of the beautiful game, which was not to be forgotten easily.

"To put it bluntly, we had a very shrewd coach in Nose Morgenroth. He was a tactician and strict disciplinarian who always practised fairness and honesty. With Nose, there were no favourites in the team and one great aspect that made the team tick was the unbelievable camaraderie and phenomenal team spirit among the players," recalls Donkey.

Young Ones won the inaugural edition of the annual JPS Cup and the coveted Mainstay Cup - beating Katutura giants African Stars in the final at a packed to the rafters Windhoek Show Grounds under the guidance of Gary Sales.

This success was followed by cameo appearances in high-profile cup finals, but the league championship always eluded them but Donkey would go on to finally lay his hands on a league medal in the intervening years.

Having achieved greater heights, winning almost anything there was to win in domestic football, Donkey left his beloved Young Ones to recharge his batteries with Katutura glamour football club African Stars. He soon left Stars after an indifferent and brief spell with Stars and retreated to Young Ones before he developed itchy feet again. This time, he moved across town to join the revamped Ramblers outfit where he found himself reunited with former boss Gary Sales.

Ramblers won the elusive national league title in 1992 with Donkey playing a major role in the team's march to claim their first league title in independent Namibia. He went on to represent the Tunschell Street Boys in the African Club Champions League and though Rammies failed to clear the first hurdle in their qualifying clash against Mozambique's leading football club Costa Da Sol - Donkey was doubtlessly one of the top performers in the two-legged qualifier against the more experienced Mozambicans, who narrowly triumphed 2-1 on aggregate.

"In those days, there was no money in football but we played with pride and passion, but the most notable aspect was the massive talent at our disposal. We could fill the stadiums to capacity to the extent that even what was described as a low profile league encounter between Young Ones and Hungry Lions, would draw large crowds simply because of the kind of appetizing football on display."

He was among the very first crop of local footballers to represent the Brave Warriors team against Zimbabwe during Namibia's Independence Day jamboree in 1990 and went on to represent his adopted country on several occasions internationally, albeit with minimal success.

Donkey was also capped at youth level when he represented the South West Africa Under-20 team in the South African Provincial Youth Competition in Cape Town. Some of his team-mates included Basil Riekets, Koko Muatunga and Mario Rodriques among others. Despite his unmatched talent, Donkey for some strange reasons never made the cut for selection into the much sought-after South West Africa Currie Cup team as a result of an assortment of reasons though he was always invited for trials.

"Vic Lovell was at the helm of team selection and would always make reference to my small frame, telling me that I was too light to compete in the Currie Cup competition. But what really pissed me off is that they would always take three to four centre-backs along without a recognized left back in the touring entourage - a practice that denied me a legitimate claim to represent my country,' says Donkey ruefully.

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