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Meet the football playing TV News Editor Andreas Severius ‘Seven’ Frai

2022-06-10  Carlos Kambaekwa

Meet the football playing TV News Editor Andreas Severius ‘Seven’ Frai

Back in the day, before Namibia attained her much-anticipated independence from apartheid South Africa in 1990, there was an exciting, youthful football team going by the name of Cuca Tops which defined the destiny of domestic football.  

The flashy boys from the great Kavango River were in a class of their own, and were certainly not short of arrogance, mesmerising their more fancied opponents with a completely new brand of carpet football never witnessed before in that neck of the woods. 

Interestingly and unbeknown to many, Cuca Tops was in actual fact the brainchild of a few enthusiastic Angolan and Congolese refugees who teamed up with locals at the town of Rundu to form a football team, just to while away their precious time. 

Incumbent Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) television news editor Andreas Severius Frai spearheaded the second generation of Cuca Tops, with a great measure of aplomb. 

The free-scoring, overlapping fullback played a pivotal role in the team’s promotion to the country’s topflight football league, the breakaway National Super Soccer League (NSSL) in 1986. 

New Era Sport caught up with the now-retired stocky defender as he goes full throttle in narrating his untold football journey in detail.


Big-framed Congolese refugee Zenga Dodo was amongst those who masterminded the unavoidable birth of the black and white strip Rundu outfit, with the assistance of fellow refugees.

Diminutive silky playmaker Zenga Malunga, winger Amerigo de Almeida, defensive midfielder Elias Castanova, Teta Landa, Mora and Simau, and few highly- gifted footballers shepherded by Robert Mupiri, Linus Neumbo, Martin Ruba, Johannes Malanda Kandundu, Kaputji Kuhanga, Ouru Booysen, former long jump national champion Martin Seraun and many others all joined hands to form ‘Makisikisi’, as Cuca Tops was affectionately known amongst its large army of ardent followers.

Like many youngsters his age, Frai was football-crazy and would play the game at the slightest provocation in the dusty streets of Katutura location in his native Rundu. The boys used small-sized makeshift tennis balls from discarded female stockings to quench their seemingly limitless football aspirations.  

Aged eight and barely out of his pair of shorts, young Frai was shifted to the Kaisosi settlement on the outskirts of Rundu to assume his primary school duties at Sarusungu Junior Primary, where he met and befriended the now- retired director of sport, Edelberth Sivhute Katamba. 

The pair became inseparable buddies and their paths crossed again at the revered Rundu Senior Secondary School, finding themselves in the good company of fellow football-crazy youngsters Ludwig ‘Mabelo’ Thikusho, Patrick Haingura and Leonard Kandjimi. 

In only his second year at high school, Frai broke into the school’s U/17 side, and was subsequently promoted to the senior team after fashioning some telling performances. As if this was not enough, he was bestowed with the distinct honour of wearing the sacred captain’s armband. 

It was not long before the wide-awake Mupiri and Egbert ‘Mooi Bal’ Masenzu Sikerete tip-toed to the school’s hostel in silence to dangle a juicy carrot in Frai’s face to find refuge with Cuca Tops’ second strings. 

However, the hard-tackling defender only rose to prominence when he masterminded the school’s senior team to victory in the hotly-contested annual Secondary Schools Cup. 

“Eish...that competition was very tough, and was always dominated by the Okakarara, Petrus Ganeb (Uis) and Augustineum secondary schools for many years. But we were well-oiled on that particular weekend, and gave it our all. Rundu defeated the star-studded Okakarara in the final to bring the trophy home,” recalls Frai with a twinkle in his eyes.

His impressive displays did not go unnoticed, as he was deservedly elevated to the Cuca Tops first team where he rubbed shoulders with established stars like the great Pau Kandere, Nico Mangundu, Joseph Damaseb, Hage Khulu Geingob, calculated centre-back Nelson Kavetjiua Muundjua and Willem Pieters. 

More players from the interior areas also came on board in search of personal glory, and with the ‘Black Panther’ (Pau Kandere) leading the pack, ably assisted by the hard- galloping sharp-shooter Geingob and the late Mangundu pulling the strings in the middle of the park, Cuca Tops were unstoppable. 

The team became serial winners of the Kavango Football Association topflight league, clinching the coveted league title on six consecutive occasions until they begun to run out of decent opponents, before they joined the more competitive Northern Stream division one league. The league comprised teams from Rundu, Grootfontein, Tsumeb, Otavi, Oshakati and Ondangwa, in that sequence.    

Frai’s most memorable moment from an otherwise illustrious football career came about when he successfully skippered the ambitious Rundu outfit’s inevitable promotion to the national elite league (NSSL) in 1986, at the expense of Khorixas outfit Robber Chanties, two years after being crowned champions of the annual Easter Cup Tournament in Tsumeb.    

As it turned out, the youthful outfit started making serious inroads in the annals of domestic football, fashioning handsome wins against top opponents that saw the new kid on the block topping the log standings for the better half of the season in their debut season. 

Some of their victims were Chelsea (5-1), cross-town rivals Rundu Chiefs (4-2), Benfica (1-0), Blue Waters (4-1), Orlando Pirates (5-1), and the undisputed Kings at Night (Young Ones) (4-2). Sadly, Cuca Tops’ fairytale run came to an abrupt end when the team was relegated in 1990. 

“We found ourselves very lean in the department of formidable playing personnel because some of the club’s stalwarts decided to turn their attention to politics, seeking to adequately position themselves in the new dispensation upon the dawn of democracy”. 

Frai is thankful to his Angolan mentor and former teammate Jao de Moura, who identified his immersed talent at a very young age. He could also not shower enough praises on Cuca Tops’ longest-serving president, Robert Mupiri. 

“Cuca Tops, and to a larger extent football in the Kavango region, owes a great deal of gratitude to Mupiri. He used his own resources to fund the team, and purchased a 16-seater mini bus for the team from his own pocket”. 

And although the team’s management squashed his potentially lucrative move abroad to Portugal, Frai still holds his mentors in high esteem. 

“Our Angolan coach Coelho wanted to facilitate a move to a leading Portuguese football academy. However, management under the watch of secretary general John Mutorwa, would have none of it. 

Nonetheless, Frai can still find solace that the lifetime missed opportunity was compensated with temporary joy when he was duly selected to represent his motherland with the South West Africa (SWA) Provincial Invitational side against the visiting South African Correctional Services team, under the guidance of head coach Oscar Mengo. The locals won 2-1.  

In the intervening years, the vibrant pair of Tjekero Tweya and Ambassador Simon Maruta were roped into the management team. “Our success was the culmination of adequate training, proper preparation, strict discipline, and above all, respect for the badge. During our time, any form of alcohol was taboo for all athletes”. 

He still has fond memories of the hotly-contested local derby between Cuca Tops and bitter rivals Rundu Chiefs. 

“Those derbies were modelled on the popular Soweto derby featuring Chiefs and Pirates, and to spice it up, both teams wear the same colours as their South African counterparts. Invariably, the theme song was the South African hit song Via Orlando by Condry Ziqubu. I wish one could turn back the clock and relive the good old days.” 

Famously going by the nickname ‘Seven’ because he always wore jersey number 7 despite marshalling the rear-guard, Frai always weighed in with vital match-winning goals. The retired no-nonsense defender is nowadays at the helm of the NBC TV newsroom.  

2022-06-10  Carlos Kambaekwa

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