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Versatile Midfielder Bolle Hans Tells His Story

Bolle Hans promoting FNB sponsorship for local football 
Having been born and growing up in a family of noted footballers from his paternal side, it was obvious that young Bolle Hans, would unavoidably develop an unquenchable thirst for anything in the shape of a spherical object. He would hardly be seen without a ball at his tiny feet. This habit led to the clan name Bolle, a name that stuck to him up to this day.

Elder son of former St. Josephs Secondary School (Dobra) and Flames FC winger Johannes Hans, it was only fitting that young Bolle would become a footballer of note. Football runs in the genes of the Hans siblings, uncles Willem, Mike and Arnold were formidable footballers in their prime time with both Mike and Willem making their mark in domestic football with Katutura giants Black Africa in the 70s.

As a result, Bolle grew up supporting Black Africa and would always attend the team's training sessions at the old Katutura Municipal stadium adjacent to the NFA Football House and the old Katutura stadium (Sam Nujoma stadium) whenever possible. Young Bolle was fascinated by the amazing skills and ball artistry of both Steven "Falcao" Hochobeb and Moses "Crooks" Casper.

Like many young boys of well to do parents, Bolle was enrolled at the revered Ella du Plessis High School, in Khomasdal, a learning institution boasting a rich history of producing great football teams.
The school's star studded under 19 A-team had in its armoury players such as Floris van Rooyen, Hoon van der Colff, Heini Coetzee, Tollie van Wyk, Apollo Thlabanelo, Immanuel Munjoka, Mac Camm, Beachie Shekupe, Easter Partenbach, George Eiseb, Ricardo Mannetti and the late Larny Madjiedt.

The school team was a marvel to watch and inspired many youngsters in the under 16 side to emulate their feat. The under 16 team also had great footballers in the mould of Obed Kuhanga, Willie Swartz, Geoffrey "Beau" Kauta, Bolla Akwenye and Ricardo Mannetti, just to mention but a few. By the time the youngsters broke into the school's first team, they were unbeatable. "I vividly remember Mannetti, he was extremely talented that he got promoted to the senior team while still a teenager.

The school team won a sizeable number of silverware coming out tops in the local hotly contested derbies against bitter rivals Dawid Bezuidenhout and Augustineum secondary schools.
A Jack-of-all-trades, Bolle equally excelled on the athletic track showing his competitors a clean pair of heels in the middle distance races. He also earned national colours in 1991. However, he could not represent his motherland at national level in the football discipline because then school principal Clemens Kloppers, discouraged him to skip trials for the under-20 football team.

National selectors were assembling a youth team to represent Namibia at the biannual youth tournament in Helsinki, Finland. "I was devastated because football was my first love, missing out was a bitter pill to swallow. He (Kloppers) was afraid I might pick up an injury and be unable to represent the school in athletics." In his final year in 1992, young Bolle gathered some courage and told the school principal in no uncertain terms that he won't be available for athletics if he was denied the opportunity to play football. Kloppers, a noted former footballer himself, finally granted the football-crazy youngster his wish. Bolle was subsequently rewarded with the captain's armband.

The versatile attacking midfielder ended up playing trials that same year (1992) and was duly selected for the national team that toured Germany the following year (1993). Upon completion of his secondary school studies, Bolle joined exciting Khomasdal outfit Civics, campaigning in the country's topflight football league the Namibia Premier League (NPL) in 1993. He was persuaded by Mannetti and Brian Isaacs to stay with Civics, two players whom he admired having watched the pair playing for Arsenal, Civics and Black Africa, respectively. It was against family tradition and dream to play for boyhood team Black Africa.

In only his debut season with the Civilians, Bolle was amongst five members from Civics selected for the national under-20 side that traveled to Germany for a month long youth tournament. The Namibians won the trophy. Other notable squad members were; Mabos Ortman, Ricardo Mannetti, Bolla Akwenye, Rex English and Nino Prizonsky. While on the German safari, Bolle befriended African Stars defender Phillip Gairiseb. The latter spoke highly of his club enticing Bolle to join him at Stars, as known as Starlile.

"Eish, Phillip told me lots of good things about the rich culture of African Stars and their ardent supporters. I thought hard about it and when we returned home, I was on the bench for Civics against Stars and seeing the sea of red, white and blue army of Stars' supporters urging their team on was enough to make my mind up"

Tiger Goagoseb and Brian Isaacs tried hard to convince him to stay put, but his mind was already made up. "I joined Stars and whenever I was fielded we formed a telepathic partnership with Zico Tjazerua, Erastus Moncho and Oversea Tjongarero. Bolle was part of the travelling entourage to Karibib for the Navachab Cup as a youngster and was amongst the substitutes on that particular day. He was thrown into the deep end in the semifinal against former team Civics." "I was dried up and itching to play when the coach saw my enthusiasm, he asked me to warm up in the last 30 minutes.

I knew the exact weakness of Nino (Prizonsky) my former u/20 and Civics teammate. He was always in the habit of responding very slow when the ball is played to his weaker right foot, I intercepted a cross pass ahead of him and scored the winning goal." This was also the time where he learnt of African Stars supporters' usage of foul language when expressing their unhappiness or excitement towards their own players. "This was a rude awakening for me, which I could not understand, but when we played the final against Liverpool and beat them, there was much joy and admiration from the large army of Reds' followers."

Bolle found himself on the bench again for another knockout cup match against Liverpool, Stars' bitter rivals at the Khomasdal Stadium. Stars lost the match 2-0, with newly found youngster one Congo Hindjou pulling the strings in the middle of the park. "Liverpool had a well-balanced squad, spearheaded by Erastus Gariseb and a well-oiled defense marshalled by Bimbo Tjihero and the towering Hellao Naruseb. Our coach was Gary Sales deputised by Jakes Amaning. I was itching to play and was seated next to Bernard Diocothle and Eric Quest, two players who have joined the team from my boyhood team BA.

"The pair saw my enthusiasm and tried to console me with the following words; 'Hansikie, moenie worry nie, jou tyd sal kom, wag jy is nog jonk'."The teams met again in the decisive 2nd leg at Windhoek's Independence stadium but the technical staff selected almost the same starting lineup again. Bolle was devastated and disappointed not making the cut for a berth in the starting lineup.
While head coach Sales was busy going through the customary rituals of tactics on a sheet to the starting eleven, team manager Stanley Kozonguizi walked into the change room.

Kozonguizi instructed the coach to effect drastic changes to the already announced squad. To his delight, Bolle was amongst those drafted into starting lineup. "I vaguely heard Bernard Diocothle whispering in my ear 'just do the basics, move forward as much as you can, I'm behind you and will cover any counter attack'." "I played the best match I can ever imagine as we turned the tables, emerging 4-0 victors." Bolle netted a goal in that particular match and provided a double of assists for Congolese import Domingo Martins and Erastus Moncho.

"Our skipper Nico Hindjou, used to tell me that it is not necessary to trap the ball inside our penalty box while Rasta Mbuende would always encourage me to try those tricks in the opponents' half."
Reds' agile goalie Collin Usurua, knew exactly that whenever he has the ball where to locate Bolle in open spaces. The slippery forward was always amongst the fittest players in any team he has ever played for since his school days, something all his coaches can attest to.

His stellar career at Stars saw him being deservedly bestowed with the prestigious most improved player of the year award in 1994. "I really enjoyed playing against Kilian Kavari of Liverpool, Tigers Page Ananias and Doda Martins, aka Ephraim Shozi of Blue Waters." Bolle says his biggest supporters were his mother, uncle Willem, Om Les Kozonguizi and Brian Isaacs. The latter gave him his first soccer boots after school football. "I will be forever grateful to him." Bolle has been in the employment service of financial giants FNB Namibia for the past 25 years, occupying several portfolios.

He is the incumbent Public Sector Banking Executive at the bank for the last seven years, a role he loves so much as he engages with leadership in this particular domain, being an ardent follower of modern politics since childhood. "The opportunity that coaches identify and grant to young players with potential puts an inherent (good) pressure on the player to perform and repay the coach's trust while discipline needs to be maintained throughout one's life.

I'm grateful to have played for a big team like Stars, an institution I still have fond memories of and support wholeheartedly." He says he won't dictate to his football-playing son Ezekiel, which team he must play for
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