When legendary Queen rock band front man and astute songwriter, the late Freddie Mercury, penned the hit song, ‘Another one bites the dust’, he must have had footballers in mind, notably from the shores of his birth continent (Africa) given the alarming rate at which Namibian footballers are going west. The long-haired velvet-voiced multitalented muso was born in Zanzibar, east Africa, while his parents were holidaying in the tiny island, in the mild Indian Ocean.
Namibians are still reeling from shock following the death of another footballer – the devastating sudden departure of former Green Eagles, Civics and Oshakati City football clubs and the national team’s rock steady burly versatile midfield kingpin Alfred Akayombokwa (Kayo) Munyaza, The latter peacefully took a bow from the game of life at his parents’ home in Katima Mulilo in the Zambezi region and was laid to rest at Bukalo village on Tuesday, under the biblical hymn: “In peace I will lie down and sleep for you alone, Lord make me dwell in safety.” May his soul rest in peace.
WINDHOEK – English second tier outfit Blackburn Rovers’ strongly built fullback Ryann Simasiku Nyambe might be the most recognizable athlete from the Zambezi region but there are indeed many great footballers that emerged from that neck of the woods.
Formerly known as the Caprivi Strip, the Zambezi region has in the past produced big name footballers spearheaded by the legendary Boston Muyambango Likando, Agenda “Magents” Matongo, Oscar Mulonda, Jack Mabuku, Given Numwa, John Muyekeni, Munavei Mapenzi and Kayo Munyaza, to mention a few
The latter enjoyed a stellar spell with youthful Khomasdal outfit Civics when he relocated to the city of bright lights (Windhoek) after he left his boyhood team Green Eagles in Katima Mulilo in search of greener pastures.
A no-nonsense strongly built attacking midfielder, Kayo announced his arrival in domestic football as a raw 15-year-old playing for the Zambezi regional team during the now defunct popular annual Coca Cola Youth Cup at the Kuisebmond stadium in Walvis Bay.
Having started his football career at Green Eagles in his native Katima Mulilo – Kayo rose to prominence as the heart and soul of the Katima Mulilo exciting outfit that dominated football in the region during the 90’s.
Amongst his well-known teammates were former Ramblers and Tigers FC flying winger Agenda Matongo, who describes his homeboy as a phenomenal athlete.
“Eish… very sad to have lost Kayo to death at such a young age… he was a true gentleman off the field but monster on the pitch. Kayo was the driving force behind our team with a big engine and hated losing,” reveals Matongo during an emotional interview with New Era Sport.
Dozens of condolences poured in with many describing the late Akayombokwa as a kindhearted great man of substance. “Rest in peace general, we will always miss and remember you as a football legend of our time,” reads one of the many touching messages of condolence.
Interestingly, Kayo’s unavoidable arrival at the Civilians coincided with the club’s transformation under the stewardship of Austrian national Helmuth Scharnowsky.
The tireless attacking midfielder joined the youthful Civilians under the watchful eye of young coach Woody Jacobs and immediately won the hearts of the club’s usually hard-to-please faithful.
The rock steady hard tackling “Bukalo Eagle” cemented his place in the Civilians engine room alongside veteran midfielder Golla van Staden, Donny Isaacs and Jeffrey Roman.
Also known as “Tacuchi” amongst his circle of friends, Kayo won almost every available silverware there was to be won in domestic club football including the much sought-after Premiership title in the 2004/2005 season.
He also enjoyed short successful stints with relegated NPL outfit Oshakati City and the Polytechnic of Namibia football team.
The adorable “Bukalo Eagle” almost hit the big jackpot when he travelled with the ambitious Civilians for their traditional pre-season European tour to Germany. His good looks, complemented by his muscular frame floored a gorgeous ‘Jerry’ bird who fell head over heels in love with the boy from Katima,
The whirlwind romance offered Kayo a golden opportunity to stay put in Germany and pursue a professional football career in that country without having to shed an ounce of sweat, but homesickness got the better of him and he eventually returned home.
His solid performance with the much improved smooth flowing Civilians then caught the eye of national selectors.
Kayo was duly rewarded with a call-up to the Brave Warriors squad – becoming the third footballer from the Zambezi region to represent the senior national football team, following in the footsteps of Given Numwa and John Muyekeni, proudly tailed by Ryan Nyambe, Munavei Mapenzi and Jack Mabuku in the intervening years.
And condolences continued to pour in for the likeable “Bukalo Eagle” with former teammates and admirers describing the departed footballer as a true gentleman of the game.
‘I will never forget the day he unselfishly surrendered his gold medal to a junior player (an unused substitute) after Green Eagles FC claimed the Sanlam Cup. That was a genuine humanitarian gesture that drew emotional admiration from many in the football family.”
“He was a warrior and true soldier, we came a long way, he was my hero, inspiration and role model. With big Kayo beside me, I was never scared of any challenges on the field as he would always shout ‘come on Morris, take him out my brother.’ I learned a lot from my brother and for whatever happened, only God knows, and the only one to answer, May your soul rest in peace Ameni,” twitted former teammate Robby Munimongwa.
“This is a sad reality, he was one of very few very humble and down to earth bloke, elder, friend and opponent I’ve ever come across in football circles, Hamba Kahle Mfowethu, rest in eternal peace Baba,” reads a message from Elma Nyambe Ntelamo.