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In conversation with the ‘Paballelo Express’ Andile Kalipa

2023-08-25  Carlos Kambaekwa

In conversation with the ‘Paballelo Express’ Andile Kalipa

Born Andile Kalipa on the 10th of September 1964 in Upington, South Africa, young Kalipa comes from a much-respected, well-to-do family. Elder brothers Jeff and Lucky Kalipa are both prominent figures in social circles in their adopted land, Namibia.

Famously paddling on the nickname of ‘Andy’, shortened from Andile, the tallish defender started chasing leather at a very young age, barely out of his pair of shorts, 13 to be precise.

He started playing competitive football for his boyhood team Paballelo Chiefs in his hometown of Upington. Some of his celebrated teammates were Mthebe, Brown, Shoes Tsholoba, Basie Boostander, Wagga Feni and former Young Beauties, Blue Waters and Pirates much-travelled, tough-tackling defender Salathiel ‘Stimela’ Ndjao.

After a few eye-catching displays for the black and white strip outfit, ‘Andy’ was persuaded, or rather, sweet-talked by his elder brothers to come out of his comfort zone and join them in their adopted country, South West Africa (SWA-Namibia), in 1988.

Upon his arrival in Windhoek, the well-built defender had a lot of suitors, but opted to join Katutura giants Orlando Pirates and be reunited with former Paballelo Chiefs’ teammates Ndjao, and homeboys Mani and Mthebe.

His arrival at the Buccaneers saw him paired on opposing ends with club stalwart, the equally hard-galloping fullback Frans ‘Speedtrap’ Kazimbu. Pirates found the perfect successor to Kazimbu, as the newcomer hit the ground running.

Admittedly, both players shared lots of similarities in their playing styles, including being strongly-built, speedy, and good in close man-marking. Andy was just the perfect fit. The boy from Upties made the number two jersey his own, putting in excellent performances week in and week out for his new team. He became an instant hit, cementing his status as the vocal supporters’ favourite.

The new kid on the block effortlessly dislodged Maleagi Shikongo from the fullback position, which had previously been occupied by club stalwart Ananias ‘Bigman’ Nanuseb. His jaw-dropping blistering pace along the white chalk and overlapping style to deliver dangerous crosses into the penalty box caught the attention and admiration of the neutral fan, much to the delight of the usually hard-to-please Pirates supporters.

Off the pitch, the always immaculately dressed outie from Upties was a hit amongst beautiful lasses who could not keep their eyes off their newly-found idol. His unbelievable, resolute defending and well-executed deliveries from the white chalk propelled the Buccaneers to several cup successes, including the coveted Novel Ford Cup.

Filling the big boots of club stalwart Nanuseb was not going to be an easy walk in the park, but the tallish boy from Upties certainly lived up to the occasion.

A phenomenal ball carrier, the energetic Bro Andy brought a new dimension to the Pirates style of play, never being afraid to launch attacks from the back, much to the delight of the Ghosts. He was your typical modern-day football fullback in the mould of Brazilian multiple FIFA World Cup winner Marcos Evangelista de Morais, famously known as Cafu.

His impressive resume at Pirates includes the coveted NSSL title in only his third season with the Katutura giants, gold medals in the Mainstay Cup, Metropolitan Challenge, and Novel Ford, in addition to a silver medal in the inaugural edition of the NFA Cup as well as a few runner-up spots in high-profile knockout cup competitions.

Not only was Andy the first decent defender from Upties ever to grace the hard and dry football pitches of South West Africa (SWA-Namibia), he was a valuable squad member for the Buccaneers and a befitting role model in every respect, far different from the often uncool image of many of his compatriots residing in their adopted Land of the Brave.

Andile tasted a bit of international football when the fired-up Buccaneers held the visiting Angolan giants Pedro Atletico de Luanda to a goalless (0-0) stalemate in an electrifying exhibition match at the packed-to-the rafters Katutura stadium in 1989, prior to Namibia’s much-anticipated independence.

The fast, galloping, overlapping fullback managed to carve himself a job as a noted court interpreter at the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court, a portfolio held in high esteem during the apartheid era and racial segregation.

Bro Andy was indeed the main ‘Langana’ in the neighbourhood as a result of his newly-acquired status as a football star, regularly featuring for one of the most successful football teams in the history of Namibian football.

Admittedly, a combination of niggling knee injuries eventually curtailed his progress, thus bringing a premature halt to an otherwise promising football career. Nevertheless, Andy will always be remembered for his footballing prowess by the fans he gifted so much pleasure with his breath-taking darting runs down the white chalk during his somewhat abbreviated lodging at the Ghosts.

2023-08-25  Carlos Kambaekwa

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