| Albert Castanha
will always be remembered as Kenya’s premier all-rounder sportsman.
This well organised, precise and committed champion
is one of the many Goans who must be credited for
being at the forefront of that Olympic Gold-rush
that has entrenched Kenya as a track & field powerhouse.
inborn talents as a top sprinter and in other sports
events were noticed in his early teens. Without
much fanfare, Albert won national caps with his
country. He excelled at its favourite sport,
football and in track & field events whilst Kenya
was still in its infancy on the world’s sporting
stage. He marvelled in cricket, was a cunning
badminton opponent, a classy hockey player and an
outstanding football goalkeeper. As a stylish
sportsman, Albert was yet to find his match in
Kenya. His easy style of running coupled with
his athletic physique was always a pleasure to observe.
at the Goan High School in Mombasa, Albert was the
Coast Region’s Athletic Champion in 1956 and qualified
for Olympic selection on his 21st Birthday later
that year. He was the winner of the Victor Ludorum
trophy twice and in 1960 he was voted Sportsman of
the Year by the Goan Institute, Mombasa.
Albert Castanha was the first Goan to introduce
the community to the rest of East Africa in
athletics as well as being the first Goan to
be honoured to wear the national colours in
both athletics and football. A dazzling goalkeeper,
he captained the former “Liverpool Football Club”
at the Coast, later known as “Mwenge”. He was
nick-named “The Cat” by his team mates for his
uncanny saves and also popularly known as “Legs
Castanha” for of his amazing agility.
It didn’t stop there for Albert: he took to
playing hockey in the inside-left position.
He was a devoted team player at the Mombasa
Institute and frequently represented the Coast
Province. He attended International Hockey Coach
Clinics around the world returning to coach various
men and women hockey teams. He was also
designated as “Provincial Coach” in the 80’s.
It was his pleasure to meet and receive awards
from The Late President, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta;
Sheikh Abeid Karume, President of Zanzibar and
His Highness, The Aga Khan amongst many other
This tall and good looking gentleman was a perfect
friend to all, compassionate and considerate.
He had a unique personality with a quiet sense
of humour. Albert was also an immaculate dresser
with an unpretentious charisma and without doubt,
a ladies’ man. His favourite words were “please”
and “thank you”. He appreciated everyone for who
they were and in return won admiration and
recognition wherever he went. To Albert, his
most important principle was discipline. He
lived his life to the full in excellence and
Albert gave himself to his family first, whom he
was very proud of. He gave more than 100% in
all that he did, fulfilling a role that went
beyond his functional duties; He set new records
in everything he did; even whilst working for Esso
Petroleum, Albert received a Safety Award for
working one million man-hours without a disabling
injury: a testimony to his athletic prowess. His
last ten years of employment was as the Cash Desk
Manager at the popular Golden Key Casino in Nyali,
His recent selection as Africa's “Goan Athlete of the
Century” was a very well deserving accolade to honour
his contribution to East African sports.
In a world lacking with individuals to look up to,
Albert Castanha was a true hero and an exception
role model. Loved by all who knew him and missed
by many whose hearts he touched, his demeanour
will always be enshrined in our hearts.