Thursday, March 29 2018 | NEW ERA SPORT 43 Elias Castanova, the tireless Angolan refugee Up to this day, Grootfontein - many as the most entertain- - team’s engine room that domi- Apartheid South West Africa (SWA) as a skinny 17-year- In today’s edition of your fa- - Mr Cool… Elias Castanova is a big fan of former teammate and lethal sharpshooter Anton “Orlando” Damaseb and BMC’s Linton Haseb. Carlos ‘CK’ Kambaekwa Grootfontein Born Elias Castanova on the 22nd of October, 1959, in the Angolan southern capital town his native war-torn Angola in 1976 with his elder sister and brother-in-law – only to resurface in Rundu, Kavango Region. The football-crazy young man joined forces with the town’s leading team Cuca Tops where he made an immediate impression playing alongside club legend Paulus ‘Pau’ Kandere. After two seasons with the club, Elias’ near faultless performance on the football pitch did not go unnoticed as he developed into a much He was lured to unfashion- Arrows in 1978 where he played alongside the beanpole playmaker Poriro Upingasana and Curtis Tjizepa. It was not long before the tireless Angolan was eventually snapped up by Arrows’ rivals Chelsea where he was to establish himself as a vital cog in the club’s engine room. “Football was great in those days, there was very little money in the game but the players gave their all as almost all the teams campaign- league were on top of their game,” recalls Castanova. “I was playing alongside very intelligent players in the mould of George Nawatiseb and Teacher Afrikaner. Overall, we had assembled a very balanced team, which Back row from left: Ellis Uwanga (team manager) George Nawitiseb, Elvis Tsandib, Reinhard “Tiger” Francis, Erich “Richo” Francis, Thanao Tsandib, Anton “Safe” Ochurub, and Teacher Afrikaner. Kneeling from left: Dr Petrus “Pele” Damaseb, Anton “Orlando” Damaseb, Daniel “Pieces” Damaseb, Elias Castanova, and Christian Namubeb. Standing from left: Pieces Damaseb, Ruru Naobeb, Festus Tsandib, Orlando Damaseb, Tiger Francis, Dave Ameb. Squatting from left: Maxi Neumann, Boeta Mungunda, Elias Castanova, Lazza Auchumeb, Chris Namubeb, Michael Haraseb. complemented each other quite well in almost all the departments.” Castanova played an important role in Chelsea’s upsurge as the team started to dominate football in the maize triangle to replicate in several knockout cup tournaments across the length of the country. He was on the winning side when Chelsea reached nual top 16 knockout cup tournament in Tsumeb. The opponents aside to reach dangerous Otjiwarongo outfit Black Marroko Chiefs (BMC). Despite the hype that preceded the clash of the titans, the match turned into a shooting practice from the trigger-happy Grootfontein “Eish, we were on song on that particular day, we walloped BMC to claim the trophy and from there onwards, very few teams could match us whenever we clashed as we went on to dominate domestic football for a considerable period.” Castanova played in both against Katutura giants Black Africa at the Windhoek Showgrounds and Windhoek Stadium in 1982 and 1983 respectively. Sadly, Chelsea lost both finals against the Lucky Boostander-inspired Ge- taste in the mouth of many a neutral football fan. “To be honest, we were hard done by dubious referee decisions that went against us less, we won a lot of friends with our exciting brand of carpet football.” The team played under the shrewd stewardship of much-adored schoolteacher Ellis Uwanga, who took a bunch of unknown but highly gifted young footballers from scratch unbelievably turning them into world beaters. The gold, green and red strip outfit announced its arrival in domestic football with breathtaking displays not witnessed in our neck of the woods in a long time. Chelsea brought to an abrupt end the seemingly eternal dominance of Windhoek-based teams in domestic knockout cup competitions, making a habit of beating their more fancied opponents with large score lines, notably in the adjacent copper town of Tsumeb during the popular annual Easter Tournament. Castanova would play a of his beloved Chelsea during his lodging at Chelsea, spearheading the Grootfontein out- be undone by highly dubious referee decisions. Castanova ranks amongst to have graced the shores of our Land of the Brave during the apartheid era. He still has fond memories of Chelsea’s hotly contested encounters against Black Africa. Such was Chelsea’s popularity and dominance in domestic football that whenever major football knockout tournaments were staged without the presence of the exciting short of attraction. eral followed in the footsteps of Zenga Dodo (Zaire), Amerigo de Almeida, Zecca, Tony Belange, Armando Pedro, Fernando Semeo, Domingo Martin, Mundu Camana, Paolo Jamba, Papi Matengu (all Angola), Abidal Bwalya (Zambia), Frederico “Chico” Gonsalves (DRC), Elgin “Sputla” Masite, Aaron Mthebe, Raphael Ncukane, Junias Grootboom, Jabu Brown, Willem “Rebel” Plaaitjies, Willy Rwida, Raymond “Gogo” Barrera, Lionel “Boet” Mathews and Ronald Wentzel (all South Africa).
NEW ERA | Thursday, March 29 2018 Gloves off in SA as hawks circle Zimbabwe football Page 40 Elias Castanova, the tireless Angolan refugee Page 43 SPORT Clubs unhappy over amended league fixtures …NPL maintains decision Otniel Hembapu Windhoek C Dismayed… Various clubs within the country’s premium football league, MTC Namibia Premier League, NOTICE TO OUR VALUED READERS The cover price of New Era will increase to N.00 with effect from 03 April, 2018. The increase, our first in 14 years since 2004, was necessitated by high printing and other productions costs.