The entire Otjiwarongo community and the nation at large are battling in utter shock, devastation and disbelief digesting the sad news about the untimely death of one of the most recognizable figures from that neck of the woods, Joseph Kuhanga, also going by his clan name Kaseehunde “Seadog”.
A gentle giant of substance in the real sense of the word, the much-adored easygoing socialite took a bow from the game of life while admitted at the Paramount Health Care Centre in Windhoek. He eventually lost a marathon battle against ill health.
A successful commercial farmer upon retirement from his long years slave at Trans-Namib, Seadog used to be a formidable tough tackling defender in his heyday for boyhood team Life Fighters FC, aka “Kahirona”. He also had brief stints with coastal giants Blue Waters, Red Fire, and overly ambitious Katutura OD outfit Flames Football Club.
The author got to know “Seadog” up close during the hotly contested popular Hosea Kutako Cup in his hometown Otjiwarongo, back in the day.
Regrettably, the tribally motivated annual knockout tourney was exclusively tailored for Ovaherero-speaking football teams in Apartheid South West Africa (SWA) in the early 70’s, much to the delight of the systematic divisive apartheid regime. “Kahirona” were the preferred hosts.
Seadog was a no-nonsense centre back for the purple and white strip “Kahirona” and stood head and shoulders above his peers. The afro-haired light-skinned beanpole second last man of defence was amongst a new generation of highly gifted young footballers, brought on board to bolster an ageing squad.
The new waves of youngsters were spearheaded by elder brother Kaputji Kuhanga (Mohammed Ouseb’s old man), Immanuel Kamuserandu, Lucky Kuhanga, Rikua Kahorongo, George Kongunja Kasuto, Abe Katire, Tepa Muriua, Rudi Tjazerua, Skelly Kavetuna, Kalokie Muriua and a few others.
Born in Otjiwarongo in 1953, upon completion of his primary schooling in his native town, the football-crazy lanky fullback went to further his educational aspirations at the unofficial “School of Excellence”, the revered St Joseph’s Secondary School (Dobra) located north-east of Namibia’s capital Windhoek.
In the meantime, his outstanding performance for “Kahirona” caught the eye of other top teams. Coastal giants Blue Waters, aka the Birds, wasted little time luring the lanky defender to their nest.
The seasiders dangled a juicy carrot in the face of the tallish fullback, enticing him with better job opportunities in the booming harbour town. Seadog was attracted to the industrialised coastal hub. He was followed by elder brother Kaputji and Immanuel Kamuserandu to join forces with the exciting Kuisebmond outfit.
He was in the starting line-up alongside his homeboys when the Birds went down against the fired-up African Stars in an ill-tempered hotly contested semifinal in the maiden edition of the short-lived annual Dave’s Furnishers Cup in 1974. However, with competition tough for starting berths, Seadog found himself sliding down the pecking order and vacated the Birds’ nest to find refuge with neighbours Red Fire FC, aka “Ozohande”. In 1976, Katutura glamour football club African Stars’ management tiptoed to the coastal town after darkness had set in.
The quartet of Asser Mbai, Levy Komomungondo, Kanomora “Number” Ngavetene and Oscar Mengo cornered the Birds’ pair of dangerous wingers Kaputji and Kamuserandu and managed to smooth-talk them into relocating to the city of bright lights (Windhoek).
The players were enticed to join “Starlile” under the false pretence that the club received a once-in-a-lifetime invitation to tour Germany for a couple of mouth-watering exhibition matches against top German teams from that neck of the woods.
The mere lure of hitting the skies across the Mediterranean Sea was just too much for the pair to resist the offer. Both packed their bags and left the harbour town in a huff, and as they say, the rest is history.
Needless to note that the promised Deutschland supposed excursion never materialised. Upon learning that his homeboys had left the harbour town in silence for greener pastures, Seadog followed suit and hit the railway tracks southwards to be reunited with his homeboys.
Regrettably, available statistics reveal that “Bro Seadog” only managed to fashion a few cameo appearances for “Starlile” against invitational teams in Rundu during a talent scout excursion.
The Reds got wind about a trio of hot football playing refugees in the shape of Amerigo de Almeida, Zeka Malenga (Angola) and Zenga Dodo (Zaire/DRC) in 1977.
However, with the unavoidable arrival of football playing centre back William Rwida, Seadog found himself frozen out as the Capetonian was the preferred candidate to partner club stalwart, the hard tackling Gabriel “Kierie” Tjituaiza, at the heart of the Reds’ rearguard.
Realistically, nephewed by internationally accepted football dynamics, Seadog’s abbreviated lodging with the Reds does not warrant the club’s legendary status, let alone be classified as a former Reds’ player.
Nonetheless, “Bro Seadog” was not short of suitors. He was snapped up by Stars’ bitter rivals ambitious OD outfit Flames FC and the bulky fullback quickly cemented himself as the pillar of strength in the gold and green strip’s previously shaky backline.
Unfortunately, the towering defender missed out on a taste of international football through work commitments after he was transferred to Mariental by local railway giants Trans-Namib. His new club, Flames undertook the infamous rebel tour to Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), playing a few exhibition matches against local teams in Salisbury (Bulawayo) in 1977.
Sadly, that would be the end of the well-crafted enticing project, spearheaded by football gurus Felix Kakuenje, Issy Kahungi and Darius Tjakaurua. Football authorities in Apartheid South West Africa (SWA/Namibia) were not exactly impressed and would have none of it.
Subsequently, “Vlamme-Vlamme Ndjateja Ozondavi” were summarily expelled from all football-related activities under the banner of the South West Africa Football Association (Swafa). Some of the players joined other clubs whilst others called it quits. That would also signal the end of Seadog’s further flirtation with the spherical object.
And even though Seadog hung up his jumbo size 12 togs prematurely, the brother remained a trusted follower of his adopted team “Starlile”. He became a fully fledged Reds’ diehard through selfless drive and enthusiasm wherever the team played. The gentle giant will be laid to rest in his native village Otumborombonga, in the Okakarara district, Otjozondjupa region tomorrow morning. May his soul rest easy.