Former African Stars defender, Chris Katjiukua, has joined Black Leopards in the ABSA Premiership after he was deemed excess baggage by Highlands Park coach, Owen Da Gama.
Katjiukua played his first competitive match for his new paymasters last Sunday in the Telkom Knockout Cup against Kaizer Chiefs.
Chiefs won the match 4-2 on penalties after it had ended 1-apiece after 120 minutes.
The Namibian defender told the Windhoek Observer this week that he joined Leopards in order to resuscitate his football career that was blighted by injuries.
He said a strong showing in Leopards’ colours might also convince Brave Warriors coach, Ricardo Mannetti, to recall him back into the national team fold.
He has 34 caps for the Brave Warriors.
Katjiukua said he received a call from Leopards coach, Joel Masutha, after he got wind that he was not part of Da Gama’s plans for this season.
Katjiukua played 24 games last season for Highlands Park in the National First Division (NFD) and managed to score three goals.
“I have no regrets for leaving Highlands Park. I joined Leopards in order to add value. I am just happy to be playing again,” Katjiukua said.
Katjiukua started his professional career at Golden Arrows also in the ABSA Premiership after leaving Stars in 2014.
He joined Highlands Park last year from Arrows and helped the team gain promotion to the ABSA Premiership this season.
Katjiukua signed a three-year deal with Leopards who are sitting in 12th position in the ABSA Premiership table out of 16 teams in the league.
The 30-year-old central defender’s move to Leopards could give a headache to Mannetti who dropped the player in 2016 before the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers match against Niger.
Katjiukua was given special leave to attend to an urgent family matter, but failed to report back to camp which angered Mannetti and signaled the end of the player’s relationship with the Brave Warriors squad.
Katjiukua said he will try and force himself back into the national team set-up despite strong competition from Denzil Haoseb, Riaan !Hananub, Tiberius Lombard, Charles Hambira, Ananias Gebhardt, Larry Horaeb and Vitapi Ngaruka.
“Every player’s dream is to play for his country. I think I still have what it takes to represent my country at the highest level and that is why I came to Leopards to play football,” he said.