Death is the biggest enemy of mankind and does not discriminate whatsoever against her targeted casualties.
Just as the local football fraternity was recovering from the sad passing of former Home Defenders and African Stars Football Clubs lanky shot stopper Aphas Koviuana Katjivirue – death has viciously struck again like lightning.
Retired Life Fighters and African Stars FC bulky defender Siegfried Kauripeke, better known as “Sipho”, amongst his vast circle of friends, has taken a bow from the game of life after losing a long battle with high blood pressure.
This tragedy happened within a space of days as the pair’s departure was followed by that of local football referee, Rodney Samuel Rooinasie, who has also gone west – bringing the number of departed athletes to three.
In today’s special edition of your favourite weekly sports feature, Tales of the Legends, profiling retired athletes, footballers in particular – New Era Sports unpacks the football journey of the departed heroes.
Carlos “CK” Kambaekwa
Katutura glamour football club, African Stars, mourns the passing of two of their stalwarts in the shape of Aphas Koviuana Katjivirue (goalkeeper) and Siegfried “Sipho” Kauripeke (defender).
Whereas Aphas was an invaluable squad member of the very first generation at Stars – Sipho joined the Reds almost four decades later.
And while his lodging at the Reds’ nest was to be short-lived, the big framed centre back has certainly done enough within a short period to command and earn respect amongst his team mates and the club’s usually hard-to-please supporters.
The late Aphas started his football career as a goalkeeper with Home Defenders FC at Windhoek’s location under the stewardship of late astute politician, Tunguru Huaraka, before moving to African Stars.
Blessed with a safe pair of hands, bro Affy kept goal for the newly formed team playing alongside the likes of Obed Kamburona, George Kanima Hoveka, Judah Kazonganga, Skade Kandjiriomuini, Kapundi and Maihi Hei, Martin “Zika” Williams, aka “Okambua Kombandi” (Smithley Engelbrecht’s old man) Amos Tjombe and other talented young boys from the neighbourhood.
He was one of very few from the old guard who remained from Starlile’s first generation, ushering the new blood of highly gifted youngsters into the Reds tradition following the unavoidable dissolution of Defenders FC that saw a significant number of squad members taken up in Stars’ second team.
However, it was not long before the youngsters graduated to the first team, replacing the old guard, with the majority getting a bit long in the tooth.
Aphy formed the backbone of the face lifted outfit alongside old stalwarts Cleophas Siseva Sirirka, aka “Danger”, Thomas Hindjou, Oscar Norich-Tjahuha, Dr Siegfried Tjaatako Tjijorikisa, Joe Kariko and Justus Katume Handura.
The latter was the old man to his football-playing siblings Zeb Tjitemisa, Nicky and Amos Kajau, Merino Kandonga, Thabo Tsamaseb and Menongongo “Mengo” Tjazerua as well as grandsons Steven Tjenao and Erwin Handura (hockey).
On few occasions, Aphy would be installed as an auxiliary right-winger in the rare absence of regular flying winger Obed Kamburona.
Unlike many who turned their backs on the game upon retirement, Aphy remained a true Reds soldier and was always involved in the club’s administration. He would always avail his pick up (free of charge) for transporting the team whenever the need arose.
A kindhearted man, he attended the wedding rituals of Stars’ blue-eyed boy Oscar, “Silver Fox” Mengo, when the adorable slippery midfielder tied the knot to his childhood lass, Erica Tjihero in 1978.
Ode to bro Sipho, “the gentle giant”
Although the late Siegried represented both African Stars and Life Fighters on separate occasions in the country’s topflight football league with distinction, it was indeed at “Okahirona” where the huge framed defender made his mark.
And while his style and football touches did not inspire the confidence of many a neutral football fan, bro Sipho was a fearless competitor who never pulled out of tough battles.
His trademark toe-poking style of dispatching the spherical object from goal kicks always had the crowd in stitches.
Ironically, his style of play was reminiscent of the late Orlando Pirates robust fullback, Izaak “Whoops” Gariseb, and the notorious Cape Cross/Pirates (Dolam) argumentative versatile defender, German Ou Tsigeib Gariseb. A nonsense centre back, Sipho, often resembling a reckless amateur wrestler or better still, a seasoned actor in the popular King Kong films, would be best remembered for his trademark bone-crunching tackles and awkward manner in which he kicked the ball forward (toe-poking).
Nonetheless, there was another side to the departed gentle giant. Off the field, the big-frame defender could hardly harm a fly and endeared him into the hearts of his teammates, opposition and football fans. The author recalls many of our countless battles on the football field between Hungry Lions and Life Fighters, notably at the “House of Pain” the latter’s fortress, the Mokati stadium in Otjiwarongo.
Truth be told, it was extremely hard and difficult to manufacture a good result there, let alone a draw with bro Sipho’s imposing Tarzan look alike scary frame in close proximity.
But that’s where the rivalry ended because after the game, bro Sipho would always be the first one to shake your hand with his customary shy smile while making damn sure that you are properly shielded from any potential danger. That was bro Sipho for you!!.
A great man of substance always finds time to chat while availing his unconditional hospitality – bro Sipho, “Kaende Nawa” until our paths cross again in heaven. May your soul rest in eternal peace, in one piece.