Ex-hotshot Mukoya mentors soldiers
Sport - Football | 2021-07-30
by Conrad Angula
FORMER prolific scorer Augustinus Axaro Mukoya ranks among the country's top strikers who took the Namibian Premier League by storm from the late 90s until the early 2000s.
The former Cuca Tops goal ace was born and bred at Rundu, in the Kavango West region.
He started playing organised football at age 15.
"It was while I was at school that I started understanding the dynamics of football. I was exposed to better coaching, and we were taught stuff like positional discipline and the importance of team structure," Mukoya says.
In the mid 80s he toured to Tsumeb with Rundu Primary School to play against the likes of Mohammed 'Slice' Ouseb of Nomtsoub Primary School and Ondundu Primary School, unknowing that he and Ouseb would be deadly teammates one day.
The speedy striker joined up with the highly acclaimed Ouseb at Chief Santos, but he first gave Santos acrobatic goal-tender Marcellus 'The Cat' Witbeen a torrid time during the final of a tournament between Cuca Tops and Santos at Tsumeb in 1996.
The former striker, who was also comfortable playing on the wings because of his electrifying pace, says he was a very strong runner who excelled in 100 m and 200 m sprints.
"I come from a sporting family. I only carried over my family's legacy by excelling at sprinting while I was at school, but I chose soccer above athletics - a decision I don't regret till today," Mukoya says.
It was during the under-20 national team trials at Grootfontein in 1995 that he caught the eyes of national team coaches Rusten 'Sukhile' Mogane and Peter 'Corporal' Ueberjahn, who later invited him to the senior national team trials in Windhoek.
He says scoring goals was natural for him and that he was consistently the top scorer of both Cuca Tops and Santos.
One of his proudest moments was when his goals propelled Tops back into the premier league in 1995, he says.
Mukoya enjoyed tremendous success with the Copper Town Boys of Tsumeb, which included league and cup successes throughout his stay from 1997 to 2005.
"I want people to always remember me for what I have done and achieved with Santos. We won something almost every year I have been with them. The people of Tsumeb, particularly Santos supporters, appreciate my contributions to the team," he says.
The NFA Cup final against Life Fighters at Otjiwarongo will go down as his best match for Santos, he says.
"That particular game also earned me a recall to the national team. The following year we were crowned the 2002/2003 league champions, and I finished as the top scorer of my team, while I lost the top goalscorer of the league award to Armando 'The Bull' Pedro of Blue Waters, who scored three more goals," he says.
ON COACHING WARRIORS
Mukoya, who obtained a CAF coach B licence in 2015, is currently the coach of the Namibian Defence Force's Eleven Warriors, who are campaigning in the north-eastern national first division.
"I have been doing this for just over a decade now, and I am absolutely fine with working with the soldiers. The team is based inside the Grootfontein army base, and I go to the base like any other person who is employed there to work from outside. The work is very challenging, but I have the full support of the army commanders, so that makes my task much easier."
Mukoya lives with his girlfriend, Yolanda Richter, who is the mother of two of his four children.
He says he is happy with the way his life has panned out.
"This is more or less the way I imagined my life after my football-playing days - having a stable family foundation, and being a qualified coach, who is paid for doing what he loves.
"I am pretty happy with what I have achieved as a player. I have learnt that everything has its time in life, and you must make the most of the opportunities presented to you," he says.
Mukoya, got his nickname 'Axaro' (Damara for 'small boy') from his former teammate at Cuca, Tops Gosbert 'Heel Extension' Sikerete, because he was the youngest player in the team.
He attributes his goalscoring form to the unique shooting technique he has developed.
His advice to young players is that they must take their careers seriously, "because there are a lot of opportunities nowadays".
"Look what discipline, dedication and hard work has done for our own Deon Hotto and Peter Shalulile, who took the Premier Soccer League by storm in South Africa," he says, adding that alcohol and drugs do not belong in sport.