Donald Tjikune was a very clinical striker for both Liverpool and Black Africa. A product of the football-crazy St Joseph’s High School at Dobra, he enjoyed unparalleled success with the Okahandja-based Liverpool, with whom he also ventured into the African Cup Winners’ Cup competition by virtue of winning the domestic NFA Cup in 1992.
History reveals that the team from the garden town dumped Tati African Football Independent Club (Tafic FC) and their preliminary round opponents from Botswana on a 2-1 aggregate, before crushing 6-1 Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) giants Daring Club Motema Pembe in the first round.
Tjikune was Liverpool’s goalscorer during the 1-1 home draw against Tafic in Windhoek, before they went on to beat them by a solitary goal in the away leg at Francistown, in Botswana.
Many people may not know that the speedy winger from Karibib was also a very decent school athlete, who specialised in the 100 m and 200 m sprints, while also being a strong 400 m runner.
Tjikune could have been lost to football, because he was also a very good boxer, and dreamt of becoming a professional boxer.
“Boxing was my greatest love growing up . . . Unlike today where there are lots of opportunities for professional boxers, there was almost nothing to fight for back in the days. I am a bit of an introvert, and a sport like boxing fitted me perfectly, because it’s only you and your opponent in the ring,” he says.
Football is clearly in his genes as his father, Mannetjie Tjikune, played for the now-defunct Walvis Bay outfit Red Fire, while his uncle Ziggy Tjikune also played football, and Tjikune and his late brother, Sylvester Ndjambali, played together at Black Africa.
Tjikune describes himself as a thorough team player, who didn’t hesitate to confront whoever was upsetting a teammate of his.
“I was someone who would stand up for my teammates – whether it was against the coach or the team manager. That’s one of the reasons I was not popular with my coaches, but they selected me on merit,” he says.
It was during his days at Ella du Plessis Secondary School that Tjikune started playing football more seriously.
“I joined Black Africa after a fallout with Liverpool after our ill-fated return from the DRC. I was still at school and had to rely on financial support from the club’s supporters to even have transport money to go visit my parents at Karibib.
“I just felt bad, because the Liverpool management didn’t appreciate my stay there. I asked for my father’s advice, who was a Black Africa supporter, and he convinced me to join BA. It was also an easy decision, because my uncle Bob Kandetu was the team manager at BA,” he says.
Tjikune, who lives at Walvis Bay, is a proud marketing degree holder from the former Polytechnic of Namibia (now known as the Namibian University of Science and Technology), and he is currently the National Housing Enterprise’s manager for the Erongo region.
He started working at the NHE as a junior housing officer in July 1993, but now runs the enterprise’s regional headquarters with 13 staff members.
He says the NHE is faced with many challenges at the moment, because other institutions have entered the fray.
“When the NHE was established we were the only ones providing housing for the low-income groups. However, the dream of low-income housing has come to a sad halt after other players, like the municipalities, August 26, and the Osona housing project came into existence.
“We are now forced to borrow money from the banks, meaning we have to pay back on a bigger interest rate in a short period of time. Even the government doesn’t subsidise us any more,” he says.
He says this is why housing prices have escalated.
“I secured employment with the NHE because of my association with Black Africa, and I had to work harder than anyone to prove I was competent enough. I started off selling houses, and got tired of staying at other people’s houses.
“What started as a job of circumstances, has become my career of choice – hence my decision to study marketing.”
Tjikune is currently studying towards a bachelor’s degree in business administration through the Southern Business School.
He is divorced and has 12 children – six girls and six boys.
Some of his children already stand on their own feet, and Tjikune says they frequently call each other, but he makes time to visit his younger children or to take them to the family farm at Otjimbingwe.
He still dreams of becoming a farmer, he says.
“I want to have a manageable small number of cattle to produce quality meat I could sell to Meatco. I want to get into the business of buying, breeding and selling meat, and make good money to live my dream,” he says.
Tjikune’s advice to young players is to stay focused and disciplined at school, and to have their own identity on the football pitch.
“Work hard to achieve your goals, perform at your level best, and keep away from negative influences. Your education must come first, and remember that practise makes perfect.”