GIBEON - In the heart of the Hardap region, a remarkable sports revolution is taking place as Gibeon’s spirited youth turn to football, not only as a means to stay away from alcohol abuse and crime but also as a beacon of hope in the face of limited job opportunities.
A few weeks ago, New Era Sport witnessed a sight that captured the essence of determination and passion as groups of enthusiastic youths jogged their way to the football field in Gibeon. With unwavering dedication, they have come together to form the Daweb Star Football Club, a team with dreams of participating in various football events within the region.
However, their path to sporting glory faces a formidable challenge: a lack of proper sports facilities, kits, and football balls. Yet, their commitment to the beautiful game remains resolute.
Meet Gregorius Kooper, a 22-year-old whose life’s journey has been anything but easy. Having experienced work for only three months in his entire life, Kooper now finds solace in football, as he believes it offers him an escape from life’s hardships.
“I only worked when the village council decided to rehabilitate the road and tar it. The money was good, and I wish I could get employed again,” he explained.
Then there is Ignatius Brinkman, a 21-year-old who has faced adversity head-on. Raised by his grandmother, Ignatius decided to embrace football after completing grade 11 last year, putting his further studies on hold due to financial constraints.
“I got 23 points and was admitted to Triumphant College in January, but my grandmother doesn’t have money, so I decided to stay home and keep myself busy with football,” he shared with determination in his voice.
Despite their struggles, the spirited young boys of Gibeon have not lost hope.
Willem Pieters, a member of the club, sees sports as a catalyst for change and calls upon the village council to support their aspirations.
“If they cannot create more jobs, at least they must back our club with sports kits so we can showcase our talents on the national stage,” he passionately urged.
As these young talents continue to pursue their dreams on the field, they
appeal to the public, sports enthusiasts, and those who believe in the power of unity to lend a helping hand.
They said the gift of football kits and balls would not only support their passion but also ignite a spark of hope as they remain optimistic about brighter career prospects in the future.
Amidst the challenges of unemployment, football has become more than just a game for Gibeon’s youth; as they said, it symbolises unity, camaraderie, purpose, and the pursuit of dreams.
“With the village’s council support, our journey on the field could be one that inspires not only Gibeon but the entire nation, showing the world our indomitable spirit,” said Pieters.
In their pursuit of football excellence, the determined youth of Gibeon have set their sights on securing positions in first-division clubs like Date Eleven and other second-division clubs in their region and beyond.
While big club opportunities have not yet materialised, their ambition and dedication remain undeterred. According to their coach, Matheus Araeb, despite the lack of significant community support, the team finds solace in the cheers of some residents during their games.
He expressed gratitude for this encouragement, saying they are glad that some residents cheer them on when they have games in Gibeon.
However, the team is not without its challenges.
These include a proper field for training and playing games, financial constraints, scarcity of sports kits, training equipment, transport, and sponsorship.
These challenges have become worrying hurdles on their path to success. Nevertheless, their unwavering spirit and passion for the sport fuel their determination to overcome these obstacles.
Araeb elaborated on the team’s vision, which goes beyond winning matches. “We are a rehabilitation centre team that takes boys from the streets and schools, transforming them into football players through the word of God. Our responsibility is not only to train but also to instil discipline and pave the way for a better future in sports for these young talents,” he said passionately.
He added that the team’s aspiration to build a bigger and better squad showcases their commitment to nurturing talent and providing an opportunity for local youth to flourish in the world of football.