Former holding midfielder now enjoys life in northern Namibia

Stanley ‘Stiga’ Louw (right) strikes for goal for Eleven Arrows against Tigers during their Castle Classic Cup encounter at the SKW Field in Windhoek in 1992. Photo: Conrad Angula

Namibia has produced many exceptional footballing brothers and Stanley ‘Stiga’ Louw is one of the fortunate players to be born from a great footballing family.

His father Albert ‘Boetie’ Louw and uncle Hannes Louw – both former Black Africa (BA) greats – built themselves reputations as two of the most brilliant midfielders to come out of this country.

Known and respected for their excellent ball control, sublime passing and shooting skills, topped by their brilliant football brains, the two Louw brothers were undoubtedly a class above the rest of Namibia’s footballing brothers.

Born in Windhoek, the young Louw grew up at Tsumeb (his parental home town) but started his high school career at De Duine Secondary School at Narraville, Walvis Bay, where he also started playing football.

“I was born in Windhoek but I went to stay with my father’s family at Tsumeb before I joined my father in Walvis Bay. I virtually grew up between Walvis and Swakopmund. It was during my years at De Duine that I started to play organised football,” Louw says.

“I was with the likes of former Young Ones and national team midfield ace Rudolph ‘Dolfie’ Campbell at De Duine and we had a very formidable midfield partnership. He was the attacking one while I held the midfield together in the lock position.”

Louw’s talent was soon spotted by the selectors of the Namibian Schools Sport Union and he was drafted into the under-19 team that represented the country at the provincial tournaments in Durban and Cape Town, respectively, in South Africa, in 1990 and 1991.

“We had a small team of friends from the neighbourhood known as Ocean Spurs but then my dad was coaching a team known as Narraville XI and he invited me and a few friends to join him. That’s where I started to make a name for myself,” he says.

“It was not easy playing for your dad’s team because the expectations and requirements were very high. I didn’t want to give people any reason that I was only in the team because of my father, so I had to bring my A game every time I was on the football pitch.”

The retired midfielder says it was not easy to be a good player while growing up because it made him a target of over robust play from the older players.

He remembers one particular incident when the late Salathiel ‘Asinamali’ Ndjao practically stood on his knee. He was, however, quick to add that he doesn’t hold any grudges because it was apparently a process of growing up, as he was told by his teammates after the game – a tournament final between Narraville XI and Blue Waters.

Eleven Arrows, who were campaigning in the Namibian Premier League (NPL) at the time, seemed to have noticed his potential, sending two management members – Killa Samaria and Tara Shimbuli – to pursue him to join them.

“The offer was too good to decline and I found myself in the company of the star-studded Arrows team which boasted gifted young players like Ngenny ‘Om Tot’ Emvula, Eliphas ‘Safille’ Shivute, Bobby ‘Last Born’ Samaria and Munyanda ‘Koos’ Muaine,” he says.

“With senior players like exciting midfielder Elvis ‘Shaya’ Mwelashe, acrobatic goalkeeper Emmanuel ‘Sparks’ Gottlieb, all-rounder Julius ‘Sono’ Shivute and us, were unstoppable in the league as we brushed everyone else aside to clinch the championship in 1991.”

Arrows won the NPL title in 1991, securing the right to become the first Namibian team to represent the country in the prestigious African Cup of Champions Clubs, as the Confederation of African Football Champions League was previously known.

However, the harbour town outfit found the going too tough against Lesotho giants Arsenal, who annihilated them 3-0 at the Setsoto Stadium in Maseru during the first-leg of the preliminary round before going down 1-0 in the second-leg at the Katutura Stadium.

“The return leg match in Windhoek will also go down as my most memorable game ever. We may have lost the match but this time it was by a more respectable score of a solitary goal. We played our hearts out that even shocked the visitors,” Louw says.

“They could not believe that it was the same team that they were toying around in Maseru during the first-leg. The match against Arsenal was a complete eye-opener because we did not know what to expect because we were the first Namibian team to play in Africa.”

Louw, who describes himself as a hard-tackler and fighter on the pitch, was a member of the Namibian under-23 team that surprised their powerful Zambian counterparts with a 1-0 victory at the Independence Stadium in Windhoek,

The former midfielder left Arrows in 1995 to join his childhood family team BA, with whom he enjoyed great success.

“It was first tough to break into the starting line-up of BA, who were the dominant force in Namibian football, in my debut season under coach Rusten ‘Sukhile’ Mogane. But I went on to enjoy my football under the late coach Seth ‘Orlando’ Boois,” Louw says.

“My time at BA presented me with three leagues as well as other major cup competitions. I really am happy and honoured to have enjoyed so much success with BA because my own father and uncle enjoyed a lot of success with them as well.”

What thrilled the soft-spoken star the most is the fact that he was granted the opportunity to captain Namibia’s most successful – just like his father and his uncle before him – leading stars like Eric ‘Choice’ Quest, Lolo Goraseb, Masepo Dausab and Bobby Samaria.

Louw, who also participated in cycling competitions, triathlons, as well as marathon races during his football days, was also a long distance runner at school and also participated in the 100m and 200m sprints to build up his speed.

“I am happy with what I have achieved as a footballer. To win the league four times is no mean feat. However, I regret the fact that I never went to play professional football outside Namibia despite having trials with Vasco da Gama and Santos in South Africa,” he says.

“My biggest regret as a footballer, however, is that I declined the opportunity presented to me by Johnny Spinola to go to Portugal to hold trials at Benfica. Who knows what could have transpired if I just had that enthusiasm to go to Portugal. It was an opportunity missed.”

Louw, who is not married, has three children (two sons and one girl), and he is currently residing at Oshakati.

The trained IT technician who repairs photocopy and printing machines quit his job of 13 years at Nashua Oshakati in 2018 to work independently as freelancer or on a contract basis.

The former footballer, who loves working in his vegetable garden and spending time with his dogs, tried to coach a women’s team but stopped due to what he says was the the ill-discipline of players.

Louw mentions his father as the person with the biggest influence on his career, who always told him to be top fit and to be educated, which is also his advice to today’s young players.

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