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Former star defender turns to farming

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KOSMOS ‘Indies’ Damaseb will be remembered as one of the most formidable central defenders to come out of Namibia.

In fact, the Mariabronn-born star is one of the most decorated and sought-after defenders who played the sweeper’s role to near perfection.

The former St Joseph’s High School (Dobra) matriculant was also one of the biggest stars of the 80s and 90s, who played for the top-four Katutura giants, including Tigers and Orlando Pirates.

“Football was in our family. My elder brother, Stu Damaseb, also played for Black Africa (BA). And my late father and cousins were also good footballers,” he says.

Damaseb played for Orlando Pirates during his high-school years at Dobra and went on to join Tigers when he started working for Consolidated Diamond Mines at Oranjemund, because his friends and schoolmates, like Issy Naruseb, also joined the Katutura outfit at the time.

“I was a disciplined, dedicated, results-driven player, who was committed to the task, and very much a team player with earned leadership capabilities. I hated to lose.

“I was approached by Black Africa’s management to take over my brother’s position when he sustained life-threatening injuries after a serious car accident. I had to fill the void that was left by him. That’s how I became a central defender,” Damaseb says.

He played in midfield at Tigers, but he obviously had a lot of success with Black Africa, and singled out his Lively Lions’ back four, consisting of the late Bethuel Five Hochobeb, Mike Awaseb, Peta Useb and Fighter Louis, as his best-ever defensive partners.

He says BA’s two-legged match-up against Angolan giants Primero de Augusto in the preliminary round of the Confederation of African Football Champions League was a real eye-opener.

“Their professional ethos was really something to behold. We lost 7-0 in Luanda, Angola, but we drastically reduced the margin to 2-1 in the return leg in Windhoek. That showed we were a force to be reckoned with, and that we could match teams from other countries,” he says.

Damaseb attributes his exceptional form to dedication, hard work and training, adding he was fortunate to be surrounded by very good defenders.

He was part of the Namibian invitational team with former South African great Ephraim Jomo Sono and German legend Karl-Heinz Rummenigge as guest players during the country’s independence celebrations.

There were also a few times when he represented both the then Namibia National Soccer League and the country on invitational teams against visiting South African teams.

Damaseb describes the JPS Cup quarter-final match against African Stars as the most memorable football match of his career.

“I played a starring role for BA in one specific match against African Stars in 1987. It was the quarter-final of the prestigious JPS Cup, and the scene was poised for an epic cup encounter. It was a very tough match, and the coaching staff asked me to move upfront in the dying minutes of extra time. I was lucky to have scored the only goal of the match that day,” he says.

WAKING UP WITH THE CHICKENS

Damaseb is currently enjoying his retirement both from football and from his most recent job as commercial manager at the National Petroleum Corporation of Namibia.

He has six children and says he enjoys married life with his wife, Gwen.

He has moved on to commercial farming and farms with cattle, goats and sheep at Otavi.

“A few years ago the situation was very bad for Namibian farmers because of the drought. I lost a lot of cattle, but currently things are looking up because of the good rains we received last year.

“The scourge of the Covid-19 remains a major threat. Also, ageing infrastructure you must maintain and stock theft remain a nuisance and a constant threat,” he says.

The retired defence stalwart and his partners are new players in the petroleum trade and distribution business, but because their company is still in the infant stage, he prefers not to reveal too much.

He considers Covid-19 and the declining economy as the biggest challenges he is facing to provide for his family.

GREATEST INFLUENCES

Damaseb mentions his late father and his coach at both Black Africa and Dobra, Willem Hans, as the two people with the biggest influence on his soccer career, while his cousin Steven ‘Madigage’ Damaseb, Norris Afrikaner and Kosie Springbok were his most challenging opponents.

“I never thought I would become a farmer, but since my father passed on and he was farming, I developed a passion for farming. We are facing very tough times.”

He advises young players to complete their studies, be disciplined, respect their coaches and their teammates, and to be fully committed.

“Be dedicated and always strive to be a team player. Have a vision and work towards achieving it,” he says.

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