‘Founders’ squabble over Pirates

NO WAYS … Founding member Hans Eichab says Orlando Pirates is not for sale. Photo: Matthew Dlamini

One of the surviving founding members of Orlando Pirates, Hans Eichab, has called for peace and unity among the leaders of the club, as the hierarchy of the black-and-white team shows cracks amid the lure of money.

This comes after reports that one of the ‘self-proclaimed’ founders of the club Lemmy Narib, allegedly wants to sell the team to a third party against the wishes of other members of the hierarchy.

The intended buyer has not been identified, neither has the amount of money been disclosed.

According to Eichab, who claims to be the only surviving founding member of the club, Narib has no right to sell the team because he is not one of the founding members of Orlando Pirates.

“I am the only surviving founder of the club and I want to make it clear. This team was founded on 4 April 1963 and before that we were called the Try Again Boys and we were still in high school then. Four of us – Edward Gowaseb, Gideon Erky Klassen, Harold Sam and myself – met at my stepfather’s shop in the locality and we discussed forming a new team,” says Eichab, surrounded by a number of former players of the club who were supporting him.

He says while their plans to form a club were still under discussion, Klassen went to South Africa to study and while there, he went to watch a soccer match between Orlando Pirates and some other team.

“So impressed was Klassen with the performance of Pirates that he decided we should name our team Orlando Pirates as well. He sought permission from Pirates’ management at that time that we also name our team in Namibia Orlando Pirates,” says Eichab.

“He got written permission that we could use the name, on condition we could only use the skeleton without the cross-bones below it as our symbol.

“So Lemmy must tell people the truth and come to us so we can discuss the issue amicably. We do not want to fight for the team, but we want unity. He was not one of the founding members, but came to the club as a player from African Stars. Lemmy was only 14 years when Orlando Pirates was formed. How could he have formed a club then?”

Narib, who was clearly upset, vehemently denied selling the team to anyone.

“They are lying; I am not trying to sell the team. To whom did I sell the team. I will sue them. They are talking nonsense. I was there when Orlando Pirates was founded – it was me, Hans, Elliot Hiskia and Klassen. Although I played for Ramblers when I was 15 years old at the Old Location, when I came to Katutura, I started playing for Orlando Pirates. I admit that Hans was one of the founders but he did not play soccer and I am the one who took care of Orlando Pirates. They just want to walk me out.”

Club director Axab Auchamb has declined to comment on the split, saying he wants peace at the club. He, however, clarified that Orlando Pirates was registered as a Private Limited company.

Stay informed with The Namibian – your source for credible journalism. Get in-depth reporting and opinions for only N$85 a month. Invest in journalism, invest in democracy –
Subscribe Now!