Down memory lane with Reds’ dribbling wizard .....R.I.P Alexander Kai-Kai Vekarapi 1948 – 2004
African Stars and Black Beauty Chiefs (BBC) football clubs’ attacking midfielder-cum-business-mogul, the late Alexander Vekarapi, better known as “Kai-Kai” amongst his circle of friends was a highly gifted ball carrier during his younger days at the Augustineum High School.
The Okahandja-born lad started his flourishing football career with hometown outfit Black Beauty Chiefs (BBC). He struck a telepathic partnership with the equally dangerous hard-galloping old-fashioned center forward, the late Festus Tjouho “Big Shoe” Kauaaka, Ignatius Ngarukue Kaitjirokere and Oscar “Axarob” Ngaringombe. May their combined souls rest in eternal peace.
The strongly built bow-legged boy from the garden town also cut his teeth with Katutura glamour football club African Stars, spearheading the Reds’ third generation. Some of his teammates in the resurgent Reds’ lineup included fellow students from Augustineum, namely Bertholdt Tjiundje, Usiel Tjijenda and Ephraim Hei.
He was tasked to fill the big boots vacated by the club’s blue-eyed boy George Kanima Hoveka and inherited the sacred number 10 jersey from the dribbling wizard following the latter’s premature retirement from the game through a career-ending knee injury.
As it turned out, Bro Alex found himself lined up alongside a five-man frontline marshalled by veteran captain Obed Kamburona, Theo Ndisiro, Raonga “Rhoo” Kaumbangere and Bob Kauapirura.
Bro Alex would often exchange places in the starting lineup with the equally skillful bulky midfielder Willem “Scage” Kandjiriomuini.
Ironically, his successor would be none other than his homeboy and former teammate at exciting Nau-Aib outfit BBC, the one and only Oscar “Silver Fox” Mengo.
In later years, he returned to his hometown to continue his romance with his beloved BBC playing alongside the equally dangerous Gerhard Louis in the middle of the park under the mentorship of former Reds’ teammate, the late Floyd Kamaarijanda Maharero.
In today’s edition of your favourite weekly sport feature Tales of the Legends, profiling our national sport heroes and heroines, New Era Sport relives the untold football journey of the late Alexander Vekarapi.
OKAHANDJA – Departed Black Beauty Chiefs (BBC) and African Stars’ highly skillful midfielder Alex Vekarapi will be best remembered as an integral part of Starlile’s resurgent third generation.
He went on to form the spine of Stars alongside “Captain Fantastic” Obed Kamburona, Amos Tjombe, Theo Ndisiro, Rhoo Kaumbangere in a five-man strike force.
Back in the day, football teams played with a formation of five players upfront, two half backs, a pair of defenders, one fullback and a goalkeeper completing the starting lineup with one or two reserve players, in most cases none.
However, replacing Hoveka was no mean feat but luckily, the two footballers bore a lot of similarities – they were both left footed, blessed with amazing dribbling skills whilst their shooting ability was second to none.
In the meantime, bro Alex would switch alliance playing for home side BBC on selected weekends where he endured countless tough battles with Magic Tigers’ bone-crunching defender //Khai-Aob Gariseb (Richard Gariseb’s old man).
In 1973, BBC went the entire season unbeaten, dispatching local rivals Spoilers, Battle Boys and Magic Tigers with relative ease in many of their encounters including the prestigious annual Municipality Cup.
Such was the Nau-Aib’s outfit’s incredible dominance that visiting teams from Windhoek such as Pirates (Dolam), Flames and many others would find themselves on the receiving end of the black and white strip outfit’s devastating form.
Unlike many former footballers who succumbed to the ills of life, not even knowing where their next meal is going to come from upon retiring from competitive football, upon completing his schooling at the revered Augustineum High School in Windhoek, bro Alex found himself a decent job at local grocery retailer Woermann Brock where he was to be reunited with Reds’ teammate Theo Ndisiro.
After gradually learning the ropes on how to run a successful business, the calculated midfield maestro retreated to his native town (Okahandja).
He teamed up with his business-minded elder brother Katjikaku. The pair opened a successful grocery retailer in the township. In fact, Bro Alex proved a good head for business as he also ventured into commercial livestock farming. He also slaved as a schoolteacher at the local Aurora Primary School.
Sadly, bro Alex succumbed to ill-health after losing a long battle with diabetes. He might be gone to be reunited with his ancestors but his legacy will remained entrenched in the memories of those who have been lucky enough to watch him entertain crowds with his twinkle toes and ferocious long range pile drivers.
Interestingly, the athletically built midfielder defied an old tradition in the garden town where many schoolteachers joined forces with Nau-Aib outfit Spoilers Football Club. His colleagues Seth Manga and Theobaldt Tukuru Katuezesirauina, were both valuable squad members of the blue and white strip outfit.
2019-09-13 09:20:59 9 days ago