Today the village of Hochfeld is well known for its successful cattle breeders, including one of the most feared police stations. However, in time history will reveal that this sleeping giant (Hochfeld) has indeed produced a decent number of talented athletes.
Three of those athletes went onto make a name for themselves in the City of Lights as they graced its football pitches with distinction. Who would ever forget the unbelievable football gimmicks of the late former African Stars midfielder, one Mbauka Hengari and lately, Johannes “Boetiekie” Seibeb, aka Malgas.
However, one particular athlete who showed his mettle and stood head and shoulders above the rest is another former African Stars midfielder, Justus Uahatjiri Kuvee, better known as Kaika among his circle of friends. Kaika or Iku as his childhood friends preferred to call him was a complete footballer, who always instilled fear into his opponents with his tireless display of aggressive football and never-say-die attitude on the football field.
In today’s edition of our Inside the Aged feature, we will bring you an insight of Kaika, the tough tackling bulky midfielder is considered by many football pundits as the greatest holding midfielder this country has ever produced before and after independence.
WINDHOEK - There is always something special for every Namibian football supporter in our weekly feature, “Inside the Aged”. Namibian football has a long and illustrious history, but these tales of the legends are neither a work of reference, nor are they a collection of biographies – it’s a gloriously random mixture of those things and much more besides.
The late Uahatjiri Kaika Kuzee is one of very few talented footballers, who dedicated their life to the beautiful game of football. He was a product of the all-conquering Rhenisch Heroro School in the old location. Any footballer lucky enough to have rubbed shoulders with the late Tigers and Blue Waters dribbling wizard, one Johannes “Kapuii” Angula, must have possessed some extra- ordinary skill, football wise. Born in the remote village of Hochfeld on the 18th of August 1952, Kaika came to Windhoek at the tender age of six to start his primary school education at the Rhenisch Herero School in the old location in 1959.
As a young boy growing up in the dusty streets of the old location in the late 1950’s – the football crazy Kaika would play football at any given time on his way to school, during breaks and after school. He started his football career with a local club going by the name of Fire Stars under the leadership of former African Stars team manager Stanley Kozonguizi. Here, he played alongside the likes of Dr Kaire Mbuende, Otto “Move” Kahiuoua, Mike Murangi, Tier Hoveka, Kamaeja Kahorere, Dawid Kavaka, Lesley Kozonguizi, Tuaondjakuje Hoveka and many other talented youngsters in the neigbourhood of the Ombanderu section.
He played a pivotal role in the star-studded Herero Rhenisch School Football team’s historic triumph over the equally dangerous Rhenisch Nama School in the final of the inaugural Central Native Schools Football Tourney at the Katutura Municipal Stadium in 1967. Rhenisch Herero School won 3-1 with goals from Kaparoro Kandjii (2) and Kapuii Angula (1).
At 16, the strongly built Kaika was barely out of his shorts when on one freezing Saturday afternoon at the old Katutura stadium – African Stars found themselves with a man short. Young Kaika was unexpectedly thrown in at the deep end and his late inclusion, though by default, in the Reds starting lineup would open the doors for other talented youngsters and change the face of the Katutura glamour football club for good.
Kaika played a blinder in the heart of the ageing Reds’ engine room. His near faultless performance convinced the majority of the underachieving personnel in the squad to call it a day, since most of them were getting a little bit long in the tooth anyway.
His arrival at Stars paved the way for the likes of Bush Menjengua, Smody Kamaheke, Kirrie Tjituaiza, Ben Keuejao, Seb Tjitemisa, Kaumbani Tjongarero, Babes Kangombe, Cheese Kavikairiua, Ace Tjirera and many other highly talented youngsters who invaded the Reds nest, and as the saying goes - the rest is history.
With only Amos Tjombe and Mike Pack left from the old guard, Stars became a formidable force to reckon with and started to challenge the dominance of established teams such as Tigers, Black Africa, Orlando Pirates, Jungle Boys, Thistles and Pirates. It was not long before his teammates voted him to skipper the much-improved and rejuvenated Stars side to prominence.
Although the team improved immensely following the injection of young blood, there was still something missing in the team’s rhythm with no proven playmaker in their armoury. The sharp thinking Kaika tiptoed to his boyhood buddy Oscar “Silver Fox” Mengo, who was at the time pulling the strings in the midfield for Katutura rivals Flames FC and managed against all odds to convince the tricky Fox to jump ship and join Stars in a move that further fuelled tension between the two kindred clubs.
Mengo’s arrival at Stars made the club the team to beat in domestic football as they brought to an end the dominance of Tigers, Orlando Pirates, Blue Waters, Black Africa, Eleven Arrows and many other top teams in the annals of domestic football.
The new generation at the Reds with Kaika as captain, announced their arrival in domestic football when they effortlessly clinched the historic Daves Furnishers Cup at the packed to rafters Katutura Stadium in 1974 – coming from two goals behind to beat favourites Black Africa 3-2 in an exciting final. It was the first time in the history of local football that a knockout tournament carried prize monies of N$1 000 for the overall winners.
In the meantime, the football crazy Kaika would feature sporadically as a guest player for Khomasdal side Atlanta Chiefs alongside Stars teammates Mengo and Ben Kauejao – touring Port Elizabeth, Cape Town and Johannesburg in neigbouring South Africa with the multi-cultural Khomasdal outfit under the tutorship of football guru Bobby Sissing. He played an instrumental role in the all-conquering South West Africa Non- European Football Association team that won the biannual Impala Cup in Johannesburg in 1974.
The strongly built midfield anchor was also a valuable member of the South West Africa Invitational side that played against their white counterparts in the historic exhibition match at a sold out Suidwes Stadium in Windhoek in 1975.
What was meant to be a marvelous exhibition match ended in a 3-all stalemate as a result of dubious refereeing where the supposedly ‘superior whites’ equalized via a controversial thrice-taken spot kick. Despite the setback of being denied a well deserved win – that particular match eventually led to the inevitable introduction of multi-racial football in apartheid South West Africa in 1977.
Kaika led African Stars to a double in the inaugural season of multi-racial football as the Reds swept their opponents aside to claim both the prestigious National League title and the much-sought-after Mainstay Cup in one go at the expense of Ramblers on both occasions. His unquestioned commitment and dedication towards his beloved African Stars always denied him the opportunity to represent a fully-fledged South West Africa team at the annual South African Provincial Currie Cup tournament as he would deliberately skip trials in order to turn out for Stars since all the clubs were made to carry on with their domestic obligations in the absence of their regular players.
Kaika has doubtlessly been the most successful captain in the history of African Stars, but the likeable midfielder sent shockwaves among the Stars diehards when he called it quits, while still at the pinnacle of his flourishing football career at the fairly young age of 28 at the beginning of the 1980 campaign.
The much adored midfielder resolved to turn his back on football after he found employment with the South West Africa Railways, while he also wanted to concentrate on his new found pastime in the farming business at the Otjombinde Reserve where he peacefully lived until death struck on that fateful day - 22 February 1999.
Many believe Kaika could have easily followed in the footsteps of some of his celebrated teammates to play professional football in neigbouring South Africa were it not for his uncompromising stance and undying commitment towards his beloved African Stars. We salute this departed and unsung hero – may his soul rest in eternal peace!