Namibia: Remembering 'Superman', the Ageless Amos Ririvi Tjombe

2 August 2019

The history of Katutura glamour football club African Stars, and football in general, would be completely incomplete if the name of former versatile defender Amos Tjombe does not feature predominantly in its narrative.

Records reveal that Amos was the only squad member who oversaw four different generations with "Starlile". The much-travelled versatile fullback-cum-midfield-turn-striker represented the Reds with distinction over a career that stretched over two solid decades.

He was founding member of exciting Orwetoveni outfit Life Fighters Football Club, aka "Kahirona" in 1965 and also had sporadic stints with Katutura giants Orlando Pirates and Tigers, respectively.

The Gobabis-born football-crazy Amos started playing competitive football with boyhood club African Stars in the early sixties and went on to outlive a significant chunk of the club's stalwarts.

A highly gifted athlete the skinny Amos, apart from amazing endurance, had almost all the required ingredients required from a complete footballer and could equally shoot strongly with both feet.

Amos, together with hard galloping gangling fullback Mike Kangova Pack, were the only surviving squad members that made the Reds' youthful golden generation when the team underwent a complete squad overhaul upon the dawn of multiracial football in apartheid South West Africa (SWA) in 1977.

WINDHOEK - Born Amos Kavezeri Ririvi Tjombe, in the Cattle Country Gobabis, the versatile fullback would juggle his formative years between his hometown Gobabis and Windhoek, as a toddler under the care of his grandmother.

Growing up in Windhoek's old location, the author had the privilege watching Amos and his teammates going through their paces during practice sessions at the rocky football field adjacent to the Rhenisch Herero School.

It was obvious that bro Amos was a cut and shoulders above the rest of his teammates in a squad comprising of the following players: Dribbling wizard, the late George Kanima Hoveka, Floyd Maharero, Danger Sisirika, Theo Tjizembua Ndisiro, Obed Kamburona, Theofelus Hohova Ndisiro, aka "Slow Poison", Usiel Tjienda, Dawid Ndjoze, Tjatjitua Katjteo, Hijambura Ndjahera, Seth Kaimu, Mike Pack, Raonga "Rhoo" Mbaeva-Kaumbangere, Sam Kandjou, Chope Kauazunda, Cosky Uiisanua Ngaizuvare and Ripuree Hoveka.

Having played alongside some of the few remaining founding members, that included Justus Katume Handura, Aphas Katjivirue, Oscar Norich-Tjahuha, Cleaophas Siririka, aka "Danger", Willy Katjimbotjo Kavari and Joe Kariko, amongst others - Amos went on to usher in the Reds' third generation, spearheaded by the under-mentioned footballers:

Bertthold Tjiundje, Bob Vepi Kauapirura, Hei brothers Maihi and Phillip Kapundi, Meundju Kakunde, Willem "Scage" Kandjiriomuini, Petrus Mazenge, Alex "Kai-Kai" Vekarapi, younger brother Chief Tumbee Tjombe and the late Epson Kapuire, amongst others.

Back in the day, in the absence of organized structures, footballers were free to randomly feature as guest players for other teams and the football-mad Amos was no exception to this particular weird rule as he would occasionally turn out for Katutura rivals Orlando Pirates.

Like most highly gifted athletes, Amos was certainly not a saint and would often fall foul of his teammates' agitation for his serial outbursts, using strong language towards his less talented teammates whenever they committed schoolboy errors.

The sharp-tongued playmaker would often tell his teammates in no uncertain terms what he thought about their somewhat limited or rather fragile ball artistry, whenever they failed to control the ball properly or were unable to apply the basics, be it during practice sessions or in competitive matches - much to the chagrin of the skinny sharp shooter.

This did not always exactly sit well with some of his embarrassed teammates, obliging Amos to jump ship and seek greener pastures elsewhere - hence his serial sporadic flirtation with Tigers FC.

But as they say, once a "Red" - always a "Starlile": the prodigal son would always return home more energised than ever and was always duly welcomed with open hands by his teammates.

A much adored genuine crowd pleaser with his ferocious long range pile drivers, Amos was without a shadow of doubt the Reds' most accomplished squad member of his generation. He was adored much more than all his teammates by the club's followers.

And by the time the wide awake German migrant, one Dieter Widmann, had descended on Namibia's commercial capital Windhoek, to take scholars at the predominantly German high school, Deutsche Höhere Privatschule (DHPS) through the ropes, the ageless Amos Tjombe was still very much active in the mix of things.

Interestingly, the shrewd German national also started doubling as the Reds' mentor, assisting the strict disciplinarian Otniel "Kella" Kauta with the latest techniques of the modern game. The latter is the father of incumbent MTC Namibia Premier League (NPL) chairman Patrick Kauta.

Amos was to form an integral part of the Reds' golden generation that swept the boards un devastating fashion during the inaugural season of multiracial football in South West Africa (SWA) in 1977.

Stars claimed an incredible cup double, edging ahead of cross-town rivals Ramblers, in the maiden season of multiracial football in apartheid South West Africa. He might have retired from the beautiful game of football way before the country gained her long overdue democracy from apartheid South Africa, but the name Amos Tjombe will go down in history as one of the finest footballers to have ever walked Namibian soil.

Bro Amos easily ranks amongst African Stars' top ten best players alongside club greats Danger Siririka, Oscar Mengo, Floyd Kamaarijanda Maharero, Uahatjiri Kaika Kuzee, Immanuel Kamuserandu, Albert Tjihero, Willy Rwida, George Kanima Hoveka and Angolan refugee Domingo Martin.

The sharp-shooting Amos is the only footballer who managed against all odds to feature uninterruptedly through a quarter of different generations in the red, white and blue strip of "Starlile" - certainly no mean feat.

Unlike many former footballers who dismally struggle to make ends meet, not knowing where their next meal is going to come from upon retiring from playing competitive football, "Superman" turned his hand to cattle farming and is now a noted communal farmer in the Otjombinde District, holed up in the vastly populated Omaheke Region in the eastern part of the country.

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