All roads lead to harbour town… as Birds celebrate 80 years of excellence
The coastal harbour town of Walvis Bay will be a hive of activity this weekend when one of Namibia’s most celebrated football entities, Blue Waters Sports Club, celebrates eight decades of sheer excellence with a colourful ceremony yet to be witnessed in that neck of the woods, on Saturday.
The celebrations will coincide with the launch of the book entitled Official Illustrated History of Blue Waters, which is a tribute to the great Kuisebmond community, the club’s followers as well as sponsors for their collective loyal support to the development of this great football club.
The book, authored by well-known Walvis Bay celebrity, King Mandume Muatunga, is a special dedication to his late parents, Petrus and Martha Muatunga, his eldest sister Ndeshi and his football-crazy brothers, while reflecting on the unsurpassed achievements of the Beautiful Birds in detail.
Established in 1936, Blue Waters managed to weather the storm amidst all odds stacked against them and today rank amongst the most successful football clubs in the country’s topflight football league.
Back in the day in 1925, to be precise, the Union of South Africa passed a Constitution for South West Africa (SWA), reaffirming that Walvis Bay was part of SWA.
At this juncture, the majority of employees from the town’s Old Location were mostly employed at the railway station, the local authority, petroleum industries, fishing factories, and as schoolteachers and general labourers.
Many individuals were to play different roles in the struggle and achievements of Bantus in the 20th century, leading to waves of events with many people contributing to the making of the heritage and history of Blue Waters.
Pursuing to create a winning mindset, the historical document ‘Blue Waters – The Time to Remember’ catalogues the heady successes that were achieved by the seasiders over the years.
In 1935, a great courageous thinker, pioneer, visionary, team leader, community activist, musician and most importantly a schoolteacher in the Old Location, one Daniel Shimbabi, came up with a brilliant idea of starting a community football team – with the emphasis on Oshiwambo-speaking people.
He cross-fertilized his idea with fellow elders, and the mooted concept was eventually accepted by all at a meeting tailored specifically for this venture. They immediately enlisted the physically active young footballers from the Oshiwambo-speaking community living in the Old Location to form the envisaged football team.
Many social engagements took place between this unnamed Oshiwambo-speaking community team and other teams in the Old Location. That small group of elders sowed the seed which would grow into one of the most famous brands in domestic football.
The name Blue Waters derived from a political thinking of the blue sea and the white foam of the waves. This led to the embedded colours of Blue Waters – blue and white that the club is still proud to be associated with after so many years.
The name of Daniel Shimbabi will go down in the annals of history as the “founding father” of Blue Waters. His inspiration created an everlasting memory and joy that are still being enjoyed up to this day.
In 1946, Blue Waters won the annual Mukurundu Hoveka (Kanima’s old man) Cup in Windhoek, seeing off the star-studded Cape Cross in the final. Soon afterwards, new arrivals strengthened the squad and the coastal giants started to dish out a brand of football never seen in domestic football before.
In 1948, a cloud of sadness befell Blue Waters when the legendary and founder member of Blue Waters, Daniel Shimbabi, took his bow from the game of life. He was buried at the old cemetery in Swakopmund, but his legacy still remained a symbol of inspiration.
It was also during these years that a number of young players went to further their studies in teaching and vocational technical studies at Augustineum Training College in Okahandja.
Blue Waters attracted a significant number of supporters and onlookers to their matches that were always packed to capacity. As the revised slogan went ‘Blue Waters Never Lose’, this spirit led to the club entering the 1950s with vigour, commitment and full of courage. Some of the old players of the late 1940s continued to serve as the backbone of the team in the early 1950s.
In September 1959, the club won the maiden edition of the prestigious Nangura Cup in Windhoek – defeating Cape Cross 4-0 in the final. Substitute Ben Amadhila netted the last goal.
In 1960, Bantu and Coloured communities from the Old Location were relocated to the newly built township of Kuisebmond and Narraville, respectively. The removal also meant the development of a new football pitch, known as the Kuisebmond Football Field.
In September the same year, the club reached the final of the Ethel Dresses Cup in Windhoek to set up a date with coastal rivals Namib Woestyn. As the match was progressing in the first half, a player from Tigers stormed the area where the Cup was placed on the table and destroyed the Cup with a home-made knobkierie.
The final match ended in a one-all stalemate with Gabes ‘Flying Fish’ Mupupa netting for the Birds, but a physical scuffle broke out at the end of the match and the Cup was taken to the municipal offices for safe-keeping. It was thereafter decided to have the match replayed within three months.
After extra time the two teams were still deadlocked (2-2) and the result had to be decided through the dreaded penalty shootout. Gabes Mupupa scored all three penalties for Blue Waters while the agile shot-stopper saved all three penalties from Namib Woestyn – giving Blue Waters victory in the coveted Ethel Dresess Cup for a second time in a row.