Veteran sports journalist Carlos Kambaekua has recently announced the finalisation of his book ‘The Untold History of Namibian Football’, which narrates the world’s most-watched sport inside the borders of the Land of the Brave.
Spurred on to document local football history by President Hage Geingob, Kambaekua said the book intends to teach and inform football lovers of the origins of the game in Namibia. It provides insight on football from the time it was first played here by German settler colonialists in the early 1910s; how Apartheid South African colonisers denied blacks/bantus an opportunity to compete internationally; as well as present day attempts to professionalise the sport, which he said “remains a hot debate”.
“Truth be told, it never crossed my mind to chronicle the history of Namibian football. The Namibian head of state, Dr Hage Geingob, played an instrumental role in the project. He somehow took a liking to my style of writing and narrative of the history of domestic football, and always encouraged me to write a book,” he told New Era Sport.
With his vast knowledge of the game, having been directly involved in the sport as a player, referee and administrator, Kambaekua later traded his football boots for the mighty pen, becoming one of Namibia’s best sports journalists and in the process scooping several awards in both electronic and print media, including the highest accolade in Namibian sport, the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Namibia Sports Commission.
Kambaekua, who is a former sports editor of the New Era newspaper, continues to contribute to these pages weekly through his ‘Tales of the Legends’ features, which reports on the history of Namibian sports personalities, past and present.
Not one to mince his words through his ‘Shooting from the Hip’ column which occasionally features in this publication, ‘CK’, as he is affectionately known by his sports colleagues, said the process of writing the book was “not a walk in the park”.
“It took years of interacting with former players and my personal experience as a former premier league footballer also contributed greatly in gathering valuable information/tales. It was certainly not a walk in the park, because collecting visual material, accompanied by matching captions was a big challenge.”
Asked why he took on the mammoth task, Kambaekua said there was a need to write Namibia’s history of the game for future generations.
“I spent long hours in our national archives, searching for any valuable information about sport and music, but there’s nothing recorded about these two most-prized commodities among many black Namibians,” said Kambaekua, who is an expert guitarist and staunch lover of ‘Golden Oldies’ music.
“I know about a few books that were written by Seth Boois, but this book is totally different as it touches on all corners of our demographic outlay, different chapters such as records/titles, the impact of schools football, unheralded heroes, tribal tournaments, the good, the bad and ugly of football.”
Further quizzed about the connection between music and football, he said “the two cannot be divorced”.
“Football and music were the only available pastime for blacks during the height of Apartheid in South West Africa (now Namibia).”
In his foreword to ‘The Untold History of Namibian Football’, journalist Isack Hamata commended Kambaekua for documenting the country’s football history using his wealth of experience accumulated over four or five decades of being involved in Namibian football.
“I hope this book inspires others to also document their lives and times in Namibian football,” he noted.
It carries endorsements by notable Namibians such as sprint ace and former footballer Frank Fredericks, former NFA president John Muinjo, advocate Bience Gawanas.
The 147-page book will be launched and available on local shelves at the end of this month.