TO say that retired Brave Warriors captain Petrus Orlando Haraseb was a born leader is attested to the fact that the former NamPol, Pubs, Orlando Pirates, Liverpool, Chief Santos and Young Ones defence stalwart, captained all the teams he played for.
Born at a small settlement called Klein-Naoas, near Dordabis in the Windhoek district, the former no-nonsense defender resettled with his parents to Erwee, in the Kunene region, where he started his education journey at Anker Primary school from Sub A to 4 (now Grade 1 to 4).
He completed Standard 5 (Grade 7) at Fransfontein Primary School in 1987 before he went to Uis the following year where he started Standard 6 (Grade 8) until matric.
It was only during his years at Uis that Haraseb started playing football, first with Orlando Pirates (a hostel team) and Russups in Windhoek before he was recruited by former Pubs hotshot Lamola Gaeseb to join the Outjo-based outfit.
“I was surrounded by very good footballers like Sebbo Afrikaaner, Mike Claasen and Hoeseb both at Swapol and Pubs. We are coming a very long way from our school years. We had an excellent understanding on the football pitch.
“I was only 18 years old, when I sneaked out in a box from the school hostel by Katutura giants Orlando Pirates to go play for them in a league encounter against Chelsea FC at Grootfontein in 1986. It was also where I scored my first premier league goal,” he says.
The towering defender, who enjoyed immense success ever since he started playing top flight football in 1983, also remains the longest serving captain of the Namibian senior national team before he retired in 2000.
A product of Petrus Ganeb High School at Uis, Haraseb made his instruction to organised football with Outjo-based Pubs FC as a 17-year-old in 1983, before he joined the then South West Africa Police Force in 1989 after which he started to play for the police team.
“We were registered as Swapol FC in the Crow’s Inn League of the Central Namibia Football Association. We took that league by complete storm by winning it in two consecutive seasons and we scored goals as if they were in the fashion.
“I was playing upfront in a twin striking partnership with Ewald ‘The Terrible Hoeseb, who later went on to make a name for himself with Orlando Pirates and the Brave Warriors. We scored 86 goals in the first season and 89 in the second season,” explains Haraseb.
The retired star was not only a footballer but he was also a star athlete at school who excelled in the 200m, 400m, 1 500m and the javelin. In fact, the 48 seconds record he set in the 400m in 1984 in the former Damaraland, is still standing.
Haraseb considers the 2-0 and 3-1 defeats they handed Orlando Pirates and Black Africa respectively, in the same weekend with Nampol (formerly Swapol) after they joined the Namibia Premier League after independence in 1990, as his most memorable league matches.
He says that he wants to be remembered as a robust and tough, but highly disciplined player.
If Haraseb was a prolific striker he even became one of the most reliable defenders and a very valuable player of the Brave Warriors ever since he was converted by ex-national team coach Rusten Mogane into a defender.
It happened during a friendly match between a makeshift Central Invitational XI against the Zamibian Under-20 national team at the old Katutura Stadium in 1990.
“Coach (Rusten) Mogane convinced me that from what he saw during my time when he coached me at Russups that I could become a very useful defender. He gave me the no2 jersey during the match against the Zambian juniors and told me to play right back.
“I must have impressed him because I finished the match in that position as we ran out 2-1 winners. I just played as a defender as I went on to play as a sweeper for the rest of my playing career and my form also saw me being elected captain of the Brave Warriors,” he notes.
He was playing for NamPol when he was snatched by the late Dios Engelbrecht to join the Katutura Sea Robbers where he played for quite a while before Okahandja-based outfit Liverpool bought him to join their new project.
Haraseb won two Eastern Tournaments with Pirates while he won the BP Top Eight and a Metropolitan Cup with Liverpool before he moved on to Chief Santos at Tsumeb where he won two NFA Cups and one Metropolitan Cup as well.
His time at Young Ones in 2000 was highlighted by a runners-up finish for the league title and a semifinal defeat to Life Fighters in the NFA Cup on penalties at Tsumeb.
Haraseb started off as vice-captain of the Brave Warriors under Sandro ‘Jingles’ de Gouveia before he finally took the reins from the former Blue Waters star midfielder, after impressing against Niger while also scoring his first goal for Namibia in Niamey.
He went on to represent the country’s Class of 98 in all the World Cup and African Cup of Nations Cup qualifiers, including the Cosafa Cup matches. The towering defender also skippered the country at the 98 Afcon finals in Burkina Faso.
A proud father of 16 children (12 girls and four boys), Haraseb is currently enjoying his love life with the love of his life and girlfriend from his school years.
Haraseb started to work as a tour guide for Hobatere Lodge, in the Kunene, after he retired from football in 2000 before he joined Ultimate Safaris (who later changed their name to Sandy Acher) from the middle of 2004.
It was while he worked at Sandy Acher when he received the silver award at Wanderlust World Guide Awards, during a glittering awards ceremony at the World Heritage Hall in 2017.
“Now that was the turning point in my career as a tour guide. I mean topping over 18 000 guides from all over the world is no mean feat for a young man from a tiny African country, Namibia. It really was a very pleasant surprise for me.
“I decided that I had more in me than just guiding tours for tourists and I realised that I had gained a lot of experience to start my own business Orlando Safaris in 2018. All was going well until the scourge of the deadly Covid-19 virus also hit our shores,” he points out.
The retired footballer is currently the vice chairman of the Academy of Tourism and Hospitality where he is also mentor, assessor, moderator and trainer.
He is also a mentor, assessor, moderator and auditor at the Namibian Training Authority and he also trains at Gondwana Collection, Namibia Wildlife Resorts and Wilderness Safaris.
He explains that Orlando Safaris was going well and he really worked very hard to become one of the most sought-after guides in Namibia which also popularised his company.
“However,” he explains. “The scourge of the coronavirus and the restrictive measurements that come with it threaten to wipe out the tourism industry but thanks to God things are starting to pick up slowly because many economies around the world have opened up.”
Haraseb has since gone back to his home village of Erwee where his girlfriend, who also has 17 years of experience in the tourism industry, is supervising a crop (corn, lucerne and tomatoes), pigs and chicken farm.
The couple also have daily needs groceries shops at Erwee and outside Khorixas, respectively.
Haraseb reveals that despite his very busy schedule he makes time to be a good father for his children by constantly keeping in touch with all his children via cellphone and he makes it his business to call them and wish them well on their birthdays.
They may not always be together but they strengthen their relations through reunions at the farm, especially during the Christmas season.
His daughter Cadisha Hambira followed in her father’s footsteps and she is now working for Gondwana Collections and a proud owner of a master’s degree in tourism travel management.
She was also a last five finalist in the 2017 Miss Namibia beauty pageant.
His son Rian ‘Giggs’ Goagoseb, used to play for Orlando Pirates but he is now into tourism as well.
Haraseb mentions his elder brother Charles Seraun, who was a champion triple jumper during his younger days and his kid brother Jackie Seraun, who also played for the police team, as the two people with the biggest influence on his soccer career, while he considers the late former Black Africa tricky forward, Lucky ‘Bazooka’ Richter, as his toughest opponent.
Equipped with a A Level coaching licence, Haraseb sponsors playing equipment that he gets through his connections in the tourism industry, from English Premier League club Norwich City to a team at Erwee and another team from Gobabis, David Canaries.
And as an honour to his legacy Orlando Haraseb Sports Field, which consists of a soccer field and a netball court at Erwee, is named after him.
Haraseb, who still dreams that he is playing football, attributes hard work, fitness and the clean life that he lived of no alcohol and drug abuse, as contributing factors for his consistency.
He has represented Namibia against countries like Botswana, Cameroon, Gabon, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mali, Niger, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
He considers the match against the Harambee Stars of Kenya in Nairobi, during which he scored his first goal for the national team, as his best in a Brave Warriors shirt.
He admits that he is definitely living his dream at the moment, adding that there are big things to come, saying that he would make a very big announcement soon.
He advises the young players of today to abstain from drug and alcohol abuse and to make sure that their bodies are well rested and ready to do battle on the pitch.
“Try to train on your own and perfect your game. Work on your strengths and make them count for you and your team. Always put in the extra effort by staying super fit. Be disciplined, dedicated and determined. There is a lot of money in the game today, it is up for grabs,” he says.