Luckey Kakuva, powering Santos to unprecedented heights

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The Namibia Football Association (NFA) Windhoek Lager Cup final between coastal giants Blue Waters and youthful Tsumeb outfit Chief Santos in 1991 remains arguably the most exciting final witnessed in our neck of the woods ever since time immemorial.

After 90 minutes of thrilling non-stop action, the two teams were deadlocked at three-all with a combined tally of six goals.

Both sets of players certainly came to the show in front of an enthusiastic fired-up crowd at Windhoek’s Independence Stadium on a cold Saturday afternoon.

Santos looked dead and buried until young gangling striker, Gerros ‘The Bomber’ Uri-Khob, bravely took the game by the scruff of the neck with his trademark breathtaking canon-like shots from long range.

However, the intensity of the exciting clash of the titans was manufactured in the middle of the park where a young light-skinned midfielder, going by the name of Luckey Kakuva, turned the tables, taking responsibility on his tiny shoulders.

Wearing the captain’s armband, the calculated playmaker was not only confined to shouting instructions to his team-mates, the Santos No. 7 effortlessly dictated the pace of the game with ease.

etter still, his deadly accurate long ball passing game had the opponents at sixes and sevens – much to the delight of the appreciative crowd. New Era Sport tracked down the retired silky midfielder to relate his football journey.

 

Carlos ‘CK’ Kambaekwa

Windhoek-Born Lesley Kakuva, on the 21st of September 1971, Luckey relocated to the copper town of Tsumeb while hardly out of his nappies.

The adorable mild-mannered light- skinned boy started playing street football in the dusty streets of Nomtsoub, Tsumeb’ largest residential area, at an early age.

He was one of very few footballers who earned their stripes at all age group levels for the South West Africa (SWA) youth teams during the height of apartheid and was already a noted athlete by the time he enrolled at Oshikoto Secondary School.

Such was his influence and leadership qualities that he was installed as captain of the school football team. Aged seventeen and hardly out of his pair of shorts, Luckey managed to carve himself a starting berth in the star-studded Chief Santos line-up.

He made his debut against exciting Khomasdal outfit Young Ones, aka ‘Kings of the Night’ in Windhoek and ended on the winning side as the visitors defeated their much-fancied hosts 2-1.

In 1991, his splendid performance for Santos did not escape the eye of national selectors as he was picked for the very first Under 20 football side representing a truly democratic Namibia against Lesotho, away in Maseru. Chief Santos have always been a major force to be reckoned with in domestic football since its formation as Etosha Lions back in the day.

Up to this day Santos still boast their own unique style of attractive football with a traditional three-pronged strike force.

The club will be best remembered from the late sixties when then team manager Herbert Conradie shipped in former Orlando Pirates legend Percy “Chippa” Moloi from South Africa to take the team through the ropes.

It was indeed Chippa who proposed the name change from Etosha Lions to Chief Santos, and as they say, the rest is history. Santos produced phenomenal athletes in the mould of Engelhard Gariseb, Benson Khotiseb, Frans “Archie” Ochurub and in later years Celle Augumeb, Steps Nickel, Kapapi Ochurub, Bandike Ochurub, Mannetjie Neidel, Barnabas Ouseb, Pele Damaseb, Crooks Casper, Hannes Louw, Max “Zoda” Johnson, Jan Xamiseb, Don Kavindjima and a few others.

The copper town lads reached the final of the coveted Mainstay Cup but sadly lost to the Joseph Martin-inspired Ramblers (4-0) at the Katutura stadium field in 1985.

Needless to say that the third generation, spearheaded by young Luckey, was without an iota of doubt the finest squad assembled by the Nomtsoub-based orange and green strip outfit.

With the old guard getting a bit long in the tooth, it was inevitable for the squad to undergo a major shake-up with the calculated Luckey entrusted to take over the baton from versatile ageing midfield genius Absalom “Shakes” Khomob.

The youngster acquitted himself majestically under trying circumstances in a fairly young and relatively inexperienced squad with only Puli Subeb, Ben Awaseb, Jan Xamiseb and dreadlocked goalie Marcellus “Orde” Witbeen the only visible survivors from the old guard.

“What really carried us through was the high level of discipline and commitment within the squad. The squad was laden with a good bunch of committed and highly gifted young footballers who were eager to win things,” recalls Luckey.

Santos reached the newly introduced second edition NFA Windhoek Lager Cup shortly after Namibia’s independence in 1991, dispatching old foes Blue Waters in arguably the most exciting knockout cup final in history.

The match produced eight goals as the teams were tied 4-all after regulation time at the packed to rafters Independence Stadium in Windhoek, obliging a replay.

Santos emerged victorious in the dreaded penalty shootout after the match ended in another stalemate (1-1) with young Luckey installed as skipper, delivering a five-star display in the middle of the park and coming out tops in the battle of the titans against the legendary Koko Muatunga.

In between, Luckey would steer Santos to victory in the NPL season opening MTC knockout cup in Walvis Bay. This was followed by the coveted Premiership title in 1993 as Santos dethroned Ramblers as the undisputed champions of domestic football.

Regrettably when Santos won back-to-back NFA Cup titles in 1997 and 1998 respectively, Luckey had relocated to the city of bright lights (Windhoek) because of work commitments.
His resurfaced at Katutura giants Orlando Pirates, but unfortunately his arrival at the Buccaneers coincided with the Ghosts’ loss of form with the majority of the playing personnel having reached the twilight of their football careers.

Arguably the best versatile midfielder of his generation, the likeable midfield kingpin made his long awaited debut for the Brave Warriors against Malawi and also played in the historic 1-all stalemate against Zambia away in Lusaka.

A complete athlete, Luckey was richly blessed with great vision – he was a great passer of the ball, possessed endurance second to none and could pop in with a crucial odd goal now and then notably when the situation demanded.

After an unsuccessful stint with the struggling Ghosts, Luckey made a surprise return to boyhood team (Santos) where he won the NFA Tafel Lager Cup against hosts Life Fighters in a live televised match at Otjiwarongo in 2000.

In the intervening years, Luckey joined forces with Olympia outfit SKW in 2006 until his retirement from competitive football though he kept featuring for Imawida Old Boys.

Unlike many of his peers who disappeared from the football scene upon retirement, the former Santos mercurial midfielder took up coaching. He has coached SKW and Orlando Pirates, whilst working with youngsters at the SKW Football Academy.

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