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Home / Bidding farewell to Döbra’s blue-eyed boy...RIP – Albert Karumbu Kahiha, AKA ‘Grootman’  (1955 – 2024)

Bidding farewell to Döbra’s blue-eyed boy...RIP – Albert Karumbu Kahiha, AKA ‘Grootman’  (1955 – 2024)

2024-04-05  Carlos Kambaekwa

Bidding farewell to Döbra’s blue-eyed boy...RIP – Albert Karumbu Kahiha, AKA ‘Grootman’  (1955 – 2024)

From the well-crafted words of internationally-acclaimed philosopher William Penn, “For death is no more than a turning of us over from time to eternity and when we lose someone we dearly love, we gain an angel we know”.  The steadfast African Stars Football Club family and the entire Namibian football fraternity are in shock, following the untimely death of club legend Albert Kahiha. Undervalued is an understatement in the real sense of the word. Döbra protégé Kahiha, famously known as 'Grootman' in social circles, was a phenomenal athlete, who succumbed to death after losing a long battle with illness. Kahiha died in a Windhoek health establishment last Sunday. 


Then a student at the St Joseph’s Secondary School (Döbra), Stars Kahiha will be best remembered for his winning goal against pre-tournament favourites Black Africa in the hotly-contested final of the lucrative Dave’s Furnishers Knockout Cup at the packed-to-rafters Katutura stadium in 1975.

Despite his lack of height and relatively tiny frame, the soft-spoken, afro-haired attacker was a menace for opposing defenders. He was cunning and packed a decent shot in both his tiny feet. 

He could strike a spherical object well from range with the precision of a seasoned butcher and barely missed the target.

Having spent a significant chunk of his infant years at the St Joseph’s boarding school, located northeast of Windhoek, young Kahiha announced his arrival on the big stage with breathtaking performances way below his rookie tag.

The serial net buster will remain a cult hero for his individual display and heroics in the Dave’s Furnishers Cup final, and he will go down in history as one of the most talented footies of his generation. 

He registered his name on the score sheet when he netted the decisive winning goal in the final. Stars won 3-2 in the thrilling five-goal encounter, where no quarter was asked or given. 

Regrettably, the pocket-size forward mysteriously disappeared from the scene without a trace. One of his trusted teammates at Döbra and longtime buddy Hermann ‘Blue’ Karimbue recounts some of the great moments he shared with the departed Döbra protégé.

“I met him in 1971 at Döbra, where we were roped into the hostel team, Eusebio Eleven, alongside other young boys, such as Meester Steve Kauzuu, Gary Arnath, Vekuii Rukoro, Johannes Tokwe, Protaius Simon, Jackes ‘Mempo’ Ganeb and Ephraim Riruako. 

“He was extremely talented, committed and passionate about the game. Karumbu hardly missed training sessions and worked very hard to perfect his game.

“Well, there’s a saying that dynamite comes in small packages; Karumbu perfectly fitted that description. Despite his small physical stature, size did not matter too much, as the brother was always prepared to roll with the punches, competing fiercely against much bigger, stronger and more experienced opponents,” said Karimbue.

He added that Kahiha gradually rose to the upper echelons of the various school teams before he was elevated to the school’s senior football team. 

“It was at this juncture that he was elevated to the first team. It was at that time that he was recruited alongside Albert Tjihero to feature for Katutura giants Stars – and as they say, the rest is history.

“Apart from his football virtuosity, Kahiha was an exemplary sportsman, a great lad of decent upbringing,” Karimbue added.

According to Karimbue, Eusebio Eleven was not doing exactly well in the beginning until the unavoidable arrival of gifted footies shepherded by Hannes Louw, Xarab Gariseb, Max Johnson, Ambassador Wilfred Emvula, Samani Kamerika, Tibo Newaka, Tokolo Naruseb and Hosea Naobeb. 

The youthful outfit became a major force to be reckoned with in the hotly contested inter-hostel exhibition games.  

“Eusebio Eleven supplied the bulk of the playing personnel to the school teams – nine players to be precise. Karumbu was the chief beneficiary of defence, splitting passes from Kamerika and Louw handsomely feeding the deadly front line, marshalled by Rukoro, Gariseb and George Martin,” concluded the teary-eyed Karimbue. 

Tjihero also weighed in with great words for his departed hostel roommate and eternal buddy. 

“[I am] utterly shocked and devastated by the sudden death of my old colleague. What a wasted talent; Karumbu was very talented, could strike the ball well with both feet and had excellent technique on the ball glued to his tiny feet. May his soul rest in peace.”

Kahiha’s former club Stars sent profound condolences to the bereaved family, describing their former player as a fully-fledged recognised club legend, whose name will be proudly inked among the club greats in the filthy rich history of ‘Starlile’, despite his somewhat abbreviated lodging in the Reds stable. May his gentle soul rest in ancestral power. 

2024-04-05  Carlos Kambaekwa

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