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New Era Newspaper Friday July 21, 2017

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38 SPORT Friday, July 21 2017 | NEW ERA Tribute to our very own beloved Robbie Savage Carlos Kambaekwa Windhoek The Namibian sport fraternity has suffered a massive blow following the sad death of the country’s renowned number-one football and rugby superfan Robbie Savage, who died aged 50. In all honesty, Robbie, who succumbed to suspected complications from diabetes mellitus after spending weeks in a local hospital in Windhoek, died in the battlefront to protect the people’s most treasured property - football. With the passing of Robbie, the pavilions of Namibian football and rugby stadiums will never be quite the same again. And indeed, the country’s sport fraternity has lost a BATTLE OUR loyal companion and an unwavering well-wisher. Robbie was not only a diehard football fan, he was indeed the unofficial poster boy of Namibia’s entertainment industry, sports and music in particular. The brother would frequent almost all high-profile events, including the popular annual Windhoek jazz Festival. The author can write a book full of tales about the life of Robbie, a character very much liked and loved by those who came to know him well. I vividly remember June 2010, when I went to locate him at Melba’s Otjikaendu Den, a popular eatery in the Soweto section of Katutura to reveal the good news to him that a Good Samaritan by the name of Ian Kemp had purchased a return ticket for him BEYOND BORDERS! 2018 CHAN QUALIFIERS, 2ND ROUND NAMIBIA vs ZIMBABWE Man of the people... Robbie was such character that if you disagreed with him he would make your life miserable whenever you crossed paths until the offender bought him a full lunch at his favourite eatery, Café Schneider, in the heart of the city. DATE: 23 JULY VENUE: HARARE NATIONAL SPORTS STADIUM and a guide to go and watch the FIFA World Cup in Cape Town, South Africa, all expenses paid. It was quite chilly and it was obvious the brother first mistook the good news for a joke and further kept insisting “moet nie lieg nie” in his native Afrikaans (don’t lie). Upon arrival at my office where the gentleman lay in waiting, Robbie burst into tears of joy and ecstasy when the gentleman confirmed the news to him, asking him politely whether he was in possession of travel documents. Besides the return air ticket for two, Robbie’s patchy wardrobe was adjusted and off he went to the Mother City to watch the World Cup, while many of his peers had to follow the global showpiece on television. The author got to know Robbie during his childhood days. His late uncle, Paul Willemse, aka Zorro, was a valuable member of the all-conquering South West Africa Bantu Football Eleven that toured South Africa by rail in 1968. A businessman of note, Zoro also managed the Khomasdal pop band Fifth Wheel in the 70s. One of his band members was percussionist Sebastian, whom Robbie could only refer to as “Haksteen”, as he could not pronounce Sebastian. In fact, Robbie lived in the shadow of his celebrated late elder brother, known as Mannetjie during his younger years. The pair would often take turns to entertain the crowd at major sport and music gatherings, be it in Windhoek, Rehoboth or Walvis Bay. When elder brother Mannetjie took a bow from the game of life – Robbie became an instant celebrity and would be ever-present at sporting and highprofile gatherings. Robbie was the indeed first official mascot of the first-ever non-racial rugby test match between hosts NANRU and the visiting SARU at the Khomasdal field in 1987. Just a few years back, popular Cape Town musical band The Rockets performed at the Palm Beach in Windhoek, but before launching into their first song, lead vocalist Theo Watt noticed that there was something amiss and asked loudly through the microphone: “Where is Robbie?” I can recall the time when we traveled to Mozambique for a COSAFA match in Maputo; we left the hotel after the match to frequent the Ma Chick Chick nightclub and left Robbie behind. After few minutes, we were summoned to the entrance door by the bouncer wondering what we have done wrong. To our surprise and amazement – there stood Robbie with the taxi driver. Robbie had managed to wangle his way out of the hotel and told the driver that we would settle the bill. Please don’t ask me how he knew where we were. That was Robbie for you. There was another side to Robbie – the brother was not exactly comfortable in the skies whenever he traveled with the Brave Warriors beyond Namibia’s borders. He would be so quiet that you could hear a needle drop around him whenever he was on a flight. He was on the plane with supporters and journalists when the Brave Warriors went to Accra, Ghana for the AFCON finals in 2008. His brother in-law, Titus Kunamwene, would keep an eagle eye on him, as Robbie was advised to keep a healthy distance from the Haya Water of Moag, obviously much to his chagrin. At times, he would go astray, because he underestimated the size of Accra, thinking Accra was like his tiny home town of Windhoek, where he could easily roam between Katutura, Khomasdal and the city. May his soul rest in eternal peace. GO BRAVE! WEATHERMEN & CO PROUD TO BE THE BEER BEHIND THE BRAVE COME SHOW YOUR SUPPORT ON FACEBOOK.COM/TAFELLAGER Photos: File Proud servant... Robbie was the first-ever official mascot of the first non-racial rugby test match between hosts NANRU and SARU at the Khomasdal field in 1987.

Friday, July 21 2017 | NEW ERA SPORT 39 Luckey Kakuva, powering Santos to unprecedented heights The Namibia Football Association (NFA) Windhoek Lager Cup final between coastal giants Blue Waters and youthful Tsumeb outfit Chief Santos in 1991 remains arguably the most exciting final witnessed in our neck of the woods ever since time immemorial. After 90 minutes of thrilling non-stop action, the two teams Carlos ‘CK’ Kambaekwa Windhoek were deadlocked at three-all with a combined tally of six goals. Both sets of players certainly came to the show in front of an enthusiastic fired-up crowd at Windhoek’s Independence Stadium on a cold Saturday afternoon. Santos looked dead and buried until young gangling striker, Gerros ‘The Bomber’ Uri-Khob, bravely took the game by the scruff of the neck with his trademark breathtaking canon-like shots from long range. However, the intensity of the exciting clash of the titans was manufactured in the middle of the park where a young light-skinned midfielder, going by the name of Luckey Kakuva, turned the tables, taking responsibility on his tiny shoulders. Wearing the captain’s armband, the calculated playmaker was not only confined to shouting instructions to his team-mates, the Santos No. 7 effortlessly dictated the pace of the game with ease. etter still, his deadly accurate long ball passing game had the opponents at sixes and sevens – much to the delight of the appreciative crowd. New Era Sport tracked down the retired silky midfielder to relate his football journey. Born Lesley Kakuva, on the 21 st of September 1971, Luckey relocated to the copper town of Tsumeb while hardly out of his nappies. The adorable mild-mannered light- skinned boy started playing street football in the dusty streets of Nomtsoub, Tsumeb’ largest residential area, at an early age. He was one of very few footballers who earned their stripes at all age group levels for the South West Africa (SWA) youth teams during the height of apartheid and was already a noted athlete by the time he enrolled at Oshikoto Secondary School. Such was his influence and leadership qualities that he was installed as captain of the school football team. Aged seventeen and hardly out of his pair of shorts, Luckey managed to carve himself a starting berth in the star-studded Chief Santos line-up. He made his debut against exciting Khomasdal outfit Young Ones, aka ‘Kings of the Night’ in Windhoek and ended on the winning side as the visitors defeated their much-fancied hosts 2-1. In 1991, his splendid performance for Santos did not escape the eye of national selectors as he was picked for the very first Under 20 football side representing a truly democratic Namibia against Lesotho, away in Maseru. Chief Santos have always been a major force to be reckoned with in domestic football since its formation as Etosha Lions back in the day. Up to this day Santos still boast their own unique style of attractive football with a traditional three-pronged strike force. The club will be best remembered from the late sixties when then team manager Herbert Conradie shipped in former Orlando Pirates legend Percy “Chippa” Moloi from South Africa to take the team through the ropes. It was indeed Chippa who proposed the name change from Etosha Lions to Chief Santos, and as they say, the rest is history. Santos produced phenomenal athletes in the mould of Engelhard Gariseb, Benson Khotiseb, Frans “Archie” Ochurub and in later years Celle Augumeb, Steps Nickel, Kapapi Ochurub, Bandike Ochurub, Mannetjie Neidel, Barnabas Ouseb, Pele Damaseb, Crooks Casper, Hannes Louw, Max “Zoda” Johnson, Jan Xamiseb, Don Kavindjima and a few others. The copper town lads reached the final of the coveted Mainstay Cup but sadly lost to the Joseph Martin-inspired Ramblers (4-0) at the Katutura stadium field in 1985. Needless to say that the third generation, spearheaded by young Luckey, was without an iota of doubt Captain Fantastic… Luckey pictured with Chief Santos FC prior to the Tafel Lager NFA Cup final against Life Fighters at the Mokati Stadium, Otjiwarongo in 2001. Back row from left: Rodney “Wallace” Doeseb, Fannie Xamseb, Gerros “Bomber” Uri-Khob, Celle Augumub (team manager), Lesley “Luckey” Kakuva (5 th from left standing), Augustinus Axarob Mukoya, Nelson Geingob. Front row from left: Dokolo Gaoab, Base Basson, Marcellus “Orde” Witbeen, Ricardo Witbeen, Warren Neidel. the finest squad assembled by the Nomtsoub-based orange and green strip outfit. With the old guard getting a bit long in the tooth, it was inevitable for the squad to undergo a major shake-up with the calculated Luckey entrusted to take over the baton from versatile ageing midfield genius Absalom “Shakes” Khomob. The youngster acquitted himself majestically under trying circumstances in a fairly young and relatively inexperienced squad with only Puli Subeb, Ben Awaseb, Jan Xamiseb and dreadlocked goalie Marcellus “Orde” Witbeen the only visible survivors from the old guard. “What really carried us through was the high level of discipline and commitment within the squad. The squad was laden with a good bunch of committed and highly gifted young Midfielder par excellence… Luckey Kakuva is amongst very few decorated footballers in postindependence. footballers who were eager to win things,” recalls Luckey. Santos reached the newly introduced second edition NFA Windhoek Lager Cup shortly after Namibia’s independence in 1991, dispatching old foes Blue Waters in arguably the most exciting knockout cup final in history. The match produced eight goals as the teams were tied 4-all after regulation time at the packed to rafters Independence Stadium in Windhoek, obliging a replay. Santos emerged victorious in the dreaded penalty shootout after the match ended in another stalemate (1-1) with young Luckey installed as skipper, delivering a five-star display in the middle of the park and coming out tops in the battle of the titans against the legendary Koko Muatunga. In between, Luckey would steer Santos to victory in the NPL season opening MTC knockout cup in Walvis Bay. This was followed by the coveted Premiership title in 1993 as Santos dethroned Ramblers as the undisputed champions of domestic football. Regrettably when Santos won back-to-back NFA Cup titles in 1997 and 1998 respectively, Luckey had relocated to the city of bright lights (Windhoek) because of work commitments. His resurfaced at Katutura giants Orlando Pirates, but unfortunately his arrival at the Buccaneers coincided with the Ghosts’ loss of form with the majority of the playing personnel having reached the twilight of their football careers. Arguably the best versatile midfielder of his generation, the likeable midfield kingpin made his long awaited debut for the Brave Warriors against Malawi and also played in the historic 1-all stalemate against Zambia away in Lusaka. A complete athlete, Luckey was richly blessed with great vision – he was a great passer of the ball, possessed endurance second to none and could pop in with a crucial odd goal now and then notably when the situation demanded. After an unsuccessful stint with the struggling Ghosts, Luckey made a surprise return to boyhood team (Santos) where he won the NFA Tafel Lager Cup against hosts Life Fighters in a live televised match at Otjiwarongo in 2000. In the intervening years, Luckey joined forces with Olympia outfit SKW in 2006 until his retirement from competitive football though he kept featuring for Imawida Old Boys. Unlike many of his peers who disappeared from the football scene upon retirement, the former Santos mercurial midfielder took up coaching. He has coached SKW and Orlando Pirates, whilst working with youngsters at the SKW Football Academy.

New Era

New Era Newspaper Vol 22 No 167