Namibian football is a great deal indebted to Otjiwarongo outfit Life Fighters Football Club, aka ‘Kahirona’ in terms of developing genuine raw talent.
The purple and white strip outfit has in the past produced a significant number of great footballers that went on to cut their teeth with some of the leading clubs in domestic football.
Those that spring to mind are Alphews “Jayzz” Mbakera, Pottie Mbarandongo, Alphons Tjikoriho Njembo, Kanomora “Number” Ngavetene, Adolf Tepa Muriua, Kaputji and Seadog Kuhanga, Immanuel Kamuserandu, George Kasuto, Rikua Kahorongo, Abe Katire, Five Kandingua and Nikita Hivei.
However, in the intervening years, this trend continued unabated with the unavoidable emergence of the club’s golden generation, spearheaded by ebony-skinned centre back, one Beau Kake.
The latter was your typical modern-day centre back in the mould of English giants Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk or better still, former Nottingham Forest/Sheffield Wednesday reliable defender England international, Des Walker.
Always cool as a cucumber, Beau possessed unbelievable ability to read the play well and was a cut above his peers in many aspects of the beautiful game. New Era Sport caught up with the humorous ‘Captain Fantastic’ as he relives his journey on the football fields.
OTJIWARONGO – Like dozens of his Life Fighters teammates the inspirational skipper was born in Otjiwarongo, christened Ruben “Beau” Kake, on the 8th of August 1963.
Growing up in harsh conditions with virtually no available recreational facilities – Beau was just like any other young boy in the neighbourhood, football crazy, and would kick a tennis ball at the slightest opportunity – be it on the way to school or from errands at the nearby grocery dealer.
And whilst his more celebrated teammates would revel in the sun of scoring goals, young Beau was tasked to supply killer passes to his clinical goal poachers with his trademark killer touches from the middle of the park.
Beau started playing competitive football with boyhood team Life Fighters FC second strings alongside other talented youngsters such as Nikita Hivei, Isaac Tjombonde and Kanaki “Bigman” Kahorongo, amongst others.
He joined hostel team Windhoek City, a predominantly Ovaherero-speaking students’ outfit when he moved to the city of bright lights (Windhoek) to further his studies at the revered Augustineum Secondary School, in 1980.
“School football was extremely competitive in those days and being a new recruit from outside the capital also made things quite difficult – obliging one to become twice as good as the local boys,” recalls Beau.
In the interim, the likable soft-spoken football-crazy midfielder joined a local team from Katutura Township, going by the name of Golden Arrows Football Club.
“We used to compete fiercely in stake games or mini tournaments against the likes of Cosmos, Swansea and some other teams made up of upcoming footballers from the neighbourhood.”
Beau rose to prominence when he was duly converted to a centre back by joint coaches Ephraim Katjatenja and Moses Mbai, as the team went on an aggressive massive transformation process with the old guard getting a bit long in the tooth.
Blessed with an unbelievable first touch, admirable close ball control, vision and great passing – his lack of speed and aggressiveness was hardly noticed as he was always jealously shielded and protected by the ever presence of his trusted centre back partner in crime, the robust toe-poking fullback, the late Sipho “Roadblock” Kauripeke.
His near faultless display in the heart of the Kahirona rearguard earned the respect and admiration of his teammates, as he was rewarded with the captain’s armband.
The brother almost single-handedly soldiered the Orwetoveni outfit to promotion to the country’s elite football league, the breakaway Namibia Super Soccer League (NSSL) spearheaded by astute politician, the late Danny Tjongarero, in 1987.
Such was his contribution and steady defending that league selectors could not resist listing his name on the team for the NSSL Invitational Eleven exhibition match against the visiting Morokka Swallows from Dube, Johannesburg, South Africa.
“That was just one of the highlights of my football career but the one that stands out is when we were promoted to the elite football league – that was a milestone because nobody thought that we could pull it through with such a young and relatively inexperienced bunch of young untested footballers.”
“It should also be noted that the gulf was very big between the elite league and the lower tier divisions. Football was very competitive and each team in the business had great footballers in their armoury.
“To be honest, I will never forget our memorable countless tough encounters with both northern rivals Robber Chanties from Khorixas and Golden Bees
“Lest I forget, who would ever forget that memorable night when we found ourselves three goals down against the rampaging ‘Kings of Night’ Young Ones at their favourite hunting ground, the SKW stadium.
“Our key striker Five Kandingua was in devastating form on that particular night tearing into their defence at will, single-handedly taking the bull by the horns – the match ended in an amazing 3-all stalemate.
“Truth be told, they (Golden Bees) essentially only had three decent footballers in their squad in the shape of Bantu Nangombe, Samani Kamerika and AndEhe Haimbondi but that troublesome trident could match any team in the league pound for pound on their day at any given time.”
Like many footballers of his generation, and having achieved almost everything there was to be accomplished - it was time for the likeable calculated centre back to go for pastures green.
Beau developed itchy feet only to resurface in the garden town Okahandja at modest Nau-Aib outfit Liverpool Football Club under the stewardship of former South African Professional Soccer League (PSL) Bush Bucks ball juggler Raphael Mlugusi Ngubane, aka “Professor”.
After a brief spell with the ambitious garden town outfit – Beau finally bowed out of the game after he was transferred to Windhoek.
Nevertheless, he joined forces with an elite crop of retired footballers that included the legendary Doc Hardley, Pieces Damaseb, Fighter Louis, Jackson “TB” Meroro and a few others to wind up their football careers at the now defunct Katutura outfit Hungry Lions.
And though the footies were a good mile into the twilight of their football careers, they managed to enjoy some success with the “Lions of Judah” – when they won a knockout cup tourney in Rehoboth, under the stewardship of late local football guru Benjamin Kaurikarera Uanivi. May his soul rest in eternal peace.
Quizzed to name the best footballer he has ever come across, Beau did not hesitate to name homeboy, BMC FC midfield kingpin Linton Aseb and his elder brother and teammate John “KK” Kake, as the most outstanding footballers of his generation.
2018-10-12 10:13:10 8 months ago