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Edited by Eddie Fernandes,
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A Tribute to the late Albert Castanha

Born: 7th October 1935
Died: 17th November 2007

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.

His 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.

Educated 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 dignitaries.

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 integrity.

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, Mombasa.

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.


and funded by donations from the UK Goan Community.