• July 23rd, 2019
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‘The rock of Gibraltar’ - Harold Kawinga Kaunozondunge

Retired Civics Football Club lanky ball-playing centre back, one Harold Kavinga Kaunozondunge, defied tradition when he joined forces with Khomasdal outfit Civics at the expense of boyhood team African Stars. His late grandfather, the immaculately dressed astute businessman, uncle Claudius Katajee Kaunozondunge, played for Young Standard Football Club during his younger days back in the day at Windhoek’s old location. Ironically, the club would merge with Juvenile to pave the way for the unavoidable birth of Katutura glamour football club African Stars in 1952, and as they say, the rest is history. In today’s edition of your favourite belated weekly feature, Tales of the Legends, New Era Sport talks to the tallish centre back as he relives his football journey from the dusty streets of Katutura to the lawn fields in Paballelo, Upington, South Africa. Carlos “CK” Kambaewka Windhoek-Back in the day, it was the ultimate dream of each and every young aspiring footballer holed up in the vastly populated Herero section of Namibia’s largest residential area, Katutura, to don the red, white and blue stripped colours of Katutura glamour football club African Stars when they reached a mature age. Former Civics tough tackling center back Harold Kawinga Kaunozondunge was no exception to this tradition and grew up dreaming of one day turning out for his boyhood team. However, as fate would dictate, this was not be as he ended up playing his football for unfashionable Khomasdal outfit Civics Football Club as noted midfielder during his infant years flirting with the spherical object. Born in the city of lights (Windhoek) in the old location just three years before the forced removal from Windhoek’s old location in 1968 – Kawinga started chasing leather with young boys in the neigbourhood playing street football with his buddies in the dusty streets of Katutura. As a youngster, Kawinga was exposed to multi-cultural involvement, having attended several primary schools starting from Bertholdt Himumuine Primary up to St Andrew’s in Khomasdal via St Joseph’s (Dobra). He was a founding member of the youthful Red Devils Football Club, playing alongside the Kazondunge brothers Abel and Kaarari, Frankie Fredericks, Tiwi Kaundje, Totii “Maezu” Hanava, and some talented young footballers from the hood. “I can still recall the late Paramount Chief of the Ovahereros Dr Kuaima Riruako sponsored our playing gear. “In fact, our desire was to play for African Stars’ second strings with the ultimate view of graduating to the first team but this proved extremely difficult as the likes of Tjeripo ‘Pro’ Rijatua, Heilig Ndjtiavi and other older boys kept us at arm’s length from making inroads into the team.” With time passing by, the boys grew in stature and it was time to find secured homes to advance their aspirations, and while Fredericks joined forces with Black Africa, Kaundje ended up at Hungry Lions before jumping ship to resurface at Tigers – Kawinga who was at the time a pupil at Ella Du Plessis Hgh School joined youthful Khomsdal outfit Civics. “I had no difficulties tying in with the boys because a significant chunk of the team’s playing personnel were my teammates from the school team.” The tallish, skinny football-mad Kawinga went on to represent the Civilians with distinction after he was converted from midfielder to centre back, partnering club captain Ruben “Ou Pre” Prinz in the heart of the maroon and white stripped outfit’s tight defence. The team was campaigning in the newly formed popular Central Namibia Football Association (CNFA) under the stewardship of the hippy look-alike football guru uncle Bobby Sissing, under the auspices of the militant South African Council of Sport (SACOS) whose motto was “no sport in an abnormal society”. The league was so popular that it attracted large crowds to their matches at the renovated Khomsadal stadium as the teams would engage in monthly knockout tournaments – much to the delight of the appreciative crowd. Apart from Civics, the likes of Swansea, Sorento Bucks, Cosmsos, Benfica, Luton and many other football clubs from Katutura, Khomasdal (Windhoek) and Rehoboth competed fiercely in the exciting league. Kawinga would go on to represent his native land in the highly competitive annual South African Soccer Federation National Inter Provincial B-Section zonal tournaments on several occasions. “The federation had very competitive provincial teams, as we played in fiercely contested tournaments in towns such as Pitermaritzburg, Cape Town and here at home. “It was great fun and a learning curve for us playing against some of the top footballers from South Africa, because Coloureds were employing a different type of football with more emphasis on technique, ball possession, retention, shooting from range and amazing passing, while attacking space.” And by the time Namibia gained her democracy in 1990 – all football leagues in the country were dismantled and thrown in one pot to make way for a unified national football league, which led to the unavoidable birth of the country’s elite football league, the Namibia Premier League (NPL). As it turned out, Civics collaborated with bitter rivals Arsenal to enter one strong team representing Khomasdal, under the name of Civics. CNFA were given two places in the elite football league but Arsenal waived its rights to newly formed Liverpool – hence the highly disputed presence of Okahandja-based Liverpool in Namibia’s topflight football league. Kawinga was to form the spine of the new-look Civilians line-up alongside the legendary Brian Isaacs, Bassie English, Henoch “Ivory” Uirab, Tiger Goagoseb, Deon Brookes, Willa van Wyk, Papi Isaacs and Karel Mouton, as the Civilians made an impact in topflight football with their carpet game. “The competition in the newly league was extremely tough but we somehow managed to weather the storm because the teams from the Namibia Soccer Super League (NSSL) were very strong and competitive with phenomenal players in their armoury.” He got his taste of international football when he was selected for the Brave Warriors side, making his debut against the visiting Guinea in an Afcon match, which ended in a 1-all stalemate at a packed to rafters Independence Stadium in Windhoek. “I was initially just a squad member but was eventually thrown into the lion’s den when regular centre back and inspirational captain Bimbo Tjihero was suspended.” In the interim, Kawinga and some of his teammates and other talented footballers from Khomasdal with close links to “Uptyze”, would team up touring Upington, South Africa on a regular basis to participate in the popular Easter Weekend knockout tournaments against local teams from that neck of the woods. “We could not enter as Civics, that’s why we played under the disguised name ‘The Drink Team’ but it was fun playing in a different environment as we really enjoyed ourselves.” The football playing tallish centre back cites former Nampol and Orlando Pirates tricky center forward Ewakdt Hoeseb as the player who gave him nightmares during his flourishing football career with the mighty Civilians. “To be honest, bro Ewaldt was one hell of a striker, who was blessed with amazing talent and could dribble at amazing speed, shoot from range, excellent header of the ball and was above all, a fantastic finisher.” In his own words, Kawinga enjoyed playing against Khomsdal rivals Young Ones Football Club and also cherishes his battles with Katutura giants African Stars and Orlando Pirates while singling out former African Stars mercurial midfielder Oscar “Silver Fox” Mengo as the greatest footballer he has ever come across during his playing days.
New Era Reporter
2017-11-27 10:13:34 1 years ago

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