The most dangerous virus currently in motion, the Covid-19 pandemic, is causing havoc amongst our people, erasing loved ones with devastating brutality. Our athletes are not immune and are falling prey to this “monster” called Covid-19. In today’s edition, New Era Sport pays fitting tributes to those who have been visited by the deadly virus, accelerating their premature departure from earth.
Lukas Oupapa Hipondoka aka ‘Etenda’ 1948-2021
He came, conquered and left a long-lasting legacy in the annals of Namibian sport. Ou Chommie, famously going by the nickname Etenda or ‘Ironman’, will go down in history as the first non-white Namibian to invade what was previously perceived to be a sacred pastime for affluent whites.
The strongly-built Walvis Bay-born socialite’s affection for speed propelled him to challenge Larneys at their own game in the dog-eat-dog industry of motor racing. Such was his popularity that he was the chosen one to perform a stunt during Namibia’s inaugural Independence Celebrations at the dawn of democracy in 1990.
A multi-talented athlete, Ou Chommie excelled in almost everything he laid his golden hands on, as he was a mean sprinter on the athletics track as well as steady fullback for both costal giants Blue Waters and Eleven Arrows. He also played competitive league rugby as a noted backliner. Apart from sport, Oupie was a damn good story- teller (comedian) and would occasionally appear on the popular Multichoice Kyknet television show, anchored by the late comedian Tolla van der Merwe, narrating funny tales in suiwer (pure) Afrikaans, much to the delight of fellow panellists.
Paul Elliot Hiskia aka Hampau 1947-2021
The author came to know Oom Paul, better known as Hampau, during his time as a cool-as-cucumber centreback for Tigers in the late 60’s. He was partnering the equally calculated Tiwes Mbako in the centre of Ingwe’s rearguard. When I started watching domestic football, Tigers were by a decent mile the most complete team in the business and had very little peers, if any.
The team played an exciting style of football, spearheaded by free-scoring left-footed forward Times Mwetuyela, Kapuii Hangula, Honnie Ochurub and Ferre Akwenye, aided by pocket-sized tricky attacking midfielder Ndakolo Haininga, with the great Nandos ‘The Cat’ Mbako stationed between the sticks. Oom Paul was a very intelligent centreback, always launching attacks from the back, and a damn good reader of the game. He was equally home in aerial battles. His imposing big frame stood him in good stead, scaring marauding strikers. Upon his retirement from playing competitive football, the bearded tallish defender was not entirely lost to the game, and took the mettle from his more celebrated brother, the late Simon Sisingi Hiskia.
The latter went into exile, but sadly never returned to his motherland. Oom Paul went into football administration and served on the South West Africa (SWA) Bantu Football Association executive. He played an instrumental role during the transformation of multi-racial football in Apartheid South West Africa (SWA) in 1977. He was the first non-white vice-president of SWAFA, subsequently succeeding long-serving president Chris Nel as SWAFA president.
He would go on to mastermind the breakaway Namibia Super Soccer League (NSSL) in 1985. Elliot also served in several high-profile sports portfolios in the following sequence, NNOC chairman and NFA president, whilst staying a true servant to his beloved Ingwe. He is accredited for recruiting top-class footies for Tigers from neighbouring war-torn countries like Angola and the DRC. May his gentle soul rest easy.
Nicanor Billy Tuahepa 1961-2021
A highly gifted midfielder par excellence, Billy was arguably one of the finest midfielders of his generation. Having started his flourishing football career football with lower-division Katutura outfit Hungry Lions in the mid-70’s, the bow-legged midfield maestro also enjoyed a successful stint with exciting Kuisebmond outfit Eleven Arrows before retreating to parent team, the Brave Lions of Judah. He played an instrumental role in steering the maroon & white strip outfit’s promotion to the Elite Central Football Association League (CFA) in 1983.
Blessed with amazing ball skills, the much-adored midfield kingpin was bestowed with the captain’s armband, and marshalled the Brave Lions of Judah with great aplomb. His near-faultless display week in and week out for the club did not go unnoticed as he was called up for the South African Inter-Provincial Impala Cup team that won the county’s second provincial glory in 1985. He also represented the star-studded NSSL Invitational Eleven against high-profile visiting teams from South Africa, being Ace Mates, Bush Bucks and The Birds.
His godsend arrival in top-flight football inevitably coincided with that of football greats Doc Hardley, Oscar Mengo, Norries Goraseb, Brian Greaves, Koko Muatunga, George Nawatiseb, Boet Matthews, Axab Gowaseb, Lucky Boostander and Shakes Khomob. Well, Billy’s name should be in that conversation, Period! In 1988, Billy jumped ship and joined cross township rivals Young Ones, winning the coveted Mainstay Cup in only his debut season with the exciting Kings at Night. After accepting an irresistibly lucrative job offer from TCL in Tsumeb, Billy joined leading Nomtsoub outfit Chief Santos, where he won a gold medal in the NFA Cup in 1994.
Marc Nel 1961-2021
The game of hockey has been robbed of an astute administrator in the shape of its phenomenal chairman, Marc Nel. Having played his club hockey for multi-racial Pionierspark outfit Ramblers, Marc represented his native land with distinction at provincial level, and will go down in history as one of the most loved and respected sport administrators the country has ever unearthed. Stepping into the big shoes of the highly competent Dr Laurie Jubber was certainly not going to be a walk in the park, but Marc stood firm and never wavered. He also coached the national senior men’s hockey team during the 2000 Afcon in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. Under his watch, the Namibian women’s hockey team qualified twice for the World Indoor Hockey World Cup held in Berlin, Germany and Liege, Belgium. Marc also ranked amongst the finest umpires in domestic hockey.
Andronikus Uparura Kavikairiua 1954-2021
A sad chapter has befallen the Kavikairiua, Mengo, Kapuuo and Rijatua families, just a few months after putting to rest their beloved son, former African Stars FC giant shot-stopper Moses ‘Cheese’ Kavikairua, as another tragedy has struck. Cheese’s younger brother Andronikus has sadly exited the game of life. The latter was a noted sprinter during his young days at both St Barnabas High Primary and the revered Augustineum Secondary School, and likewise chased the oval ball game (rugby) with a certain measure of greatness. He was also a valuable squad member of the Jaguars Rugby Club. The departed multi-talented athlete was the elder brother of former long-serving NFA executive member Pro Rijatua, and nephew/brother of the great Oscar Mengo.
Pius Kasera 1963-2021
One of the most recognizable figures in the notorious Gemengde location, Pius Kasera has been visited by the devastating Covid-19 pandemic. The football-crazy, easygoing Pius was a staunch Black Africa supporter, and dedicated his entire life to football. He was amongst the first group of Fifa-trained match referees when Namibia attained democracy in 1990.
Moses Tanib ‘Bastardo’ Straightwolf 1952 -2021
A product of Nau-Aib, largest residential area in the garden town Okahandja, where great men of substance are born and bred, the dreadlocked soft-spoken light-skinned lad was a marvel to watch on the football field. A one-club man, Tanib was founder member of exciting youthful outfit Battle Boys FC. He led the firing line alongside the fast as lightning Mike Mixub Noabeb and the late Times Goagoseb. Tanib’s untimely death follows short on the heels of fellow homeboys Alex Kapenaina, Frans Garigub and Harry Garus-oab.
Eleazer Kapi Ngatjiisiue 1958-2021
The hard-tackling, soft-spoken, tallish fullback descended in the city of bright lights to join forces with the Brave Lions of Judah, alongside fellow student Kallie Billhawer, from the Okakarara Vocational Training College in 1979. He formed a rock-solid partnership with the robust bone- crunching Godwin Muvangua, Usiel Kotjipati, Nduki Tjazerua, Rep Kanjaa and the ever-present but ageing Shakes Kandenge in the uncompromising fearless Lions’ rearguard.
Fanie Becker 1963-2021
Wanderers Sport Club has announced with sadness the death of dedicated club member Fanie Becker, who succumbed to the horrible Covid-19 pandemic. Fanie represented the club in the squash discipline, and is described as a long-serving, committed member of the Pionierspark outfit. He was the father of NTA tennis sensation Jaco Becker.
Ishmael Oaeb 1972-2021
He was one of the very few non-Tswana-speaking blokes turning out for exciting division two campaigners Eastern Jumpers, aka ‘Batswana ba Namibia’. Bro Issy was amongst the new crop of Jumpers’ 2nd generation, and always played his lungs out for the lemon & foam strip outfit until his premature retirement from the game.