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Home / Haufiku: From global upbringing to becoming Namibia’s trailblazing player agent

Haufiku: From global upbringing to becoming Namibia’s trailblazing player agent

2023-09-28  Maurice Kambukwe

Haufiku: From global upbringing to becoming Namibia’s trailblazing player agent


Tell us about your early life

My early years were a mix of Germany, Namibia and Belgium. I spent my formative years in Namibia, attending Pioneers Park Primary School until the third grade. But at eight, my family moved to Belgium, where I spent a significant part of my childhood. Those 12 years in Belgium were where my love for sports truly ignited.

After completing high school at St. John’s International School in Waterloo, Belgium, I felt the urge to take a GAP year. During that year, I worked tirelessly in a restaurant, scrubbing dishes and saving every penny. It was a year of learning to be self-sufficient – from driving and saving money to cooking and doing laundry. I even managed to travel to iconic places like New York, New Jersey, Boston and Canada.

Post-GAP year, I pursued a degree in Sports Management at Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. The world of sports had me hooked, prompting a move to Finland, where I completed my Bachelor’s in Sports and Leisure Management at Kajaani University of Applied Science. During my time in Finland, an enriching year in Aberdeen, Scotland, specialising in Sports Science, broadened my horizons. However, pursuing a Master’s was a financial challenge. To make my dream a reality, I worked as a cleaner in Finland, saving up close to €10 000. This, coupled with my father’s support, allowed me to pursue an MBA in Sports Organisation Management at Real Madrid Graduate School, Universidad Europea.

Studying at Real Madrid was nothing short of a dream. Learning under Luka Modric’s football agent, and having classes at Santiago Bernabéu Stadium and Real Madrid’s Valdebebas training ground was surreal. 

I’m proud to be the first and only Namibian student to have had this incredible opportunity. It’s been an extraordinary journey, and I’m excited about what lies ahead.


Did you have a personal connection to football?

Yes; absolutely. Football has been a constant and significant part of my life, especially considering the frequent relocations I have experienced. Having moved a lot, a total of seven different countries with a solid 20 years in Europe, football and basketball were the two constants that provided stability and familiarity.

Sports, particularly football, played a pivotal role in my life, as they became a medium through which I could seamlessly integrate into new environments, connect with people and adapt to diverse cultures. Amidst the changes and new beginnings, my love for the game remained a steadfast companion, making every transition smoother and enriching my journey in unimaginable ways. It’s amazing how a simple ball can create a sense of home and belonging – no matter where you are in the world.


Did you play the sport yourself at any level?

Football was my initial passion, and I played the sport only until the age of 16. However, at that point, I transitioned to basketball and truly found my stride. I dedicated myself to basketball, and my commitment paid off as I progressed to a semi-professional level in Finland. I had the privilege of playing for Kajaani Honka in Division 2, which was an incredible experience that further fuelled my love for sports and the sense of camaraderie that comes with being part of a team.


What inspired you to become a football player agent?

The inspiration behind my journey into football player agency was rooted in a stark observation. Throughout my life, I have witnessed many African footballers achieve financial success at a remarkably young age, often earning millions by their late teens. However, a disheartening pattern emerged as they faced financial challenges and were left with little to nothing once they retired in their early thirties or mid-thirties.

This disturbing reality fuelled a passion within me to advocate for change. I wanted to address the issue of exploitation and work towards ensuring a brighter future for our African professional athletes. My aim was to assist them in securing contracts that were fair and advantageous for the athletes themselves. Beyond just their playing careers, I wanted to help them thrive both on and off the pitch, promoting a sustainable and prosperous life beyond the game. This ambition drove me to become a football player agent, with the goal of making a meaningful difference in the lives of these athletes.


Could you share the story of how you got started in this profession?

A lifelong love of sports and an unwavering desire to have a significant impact on the field have shaped my journey into the world of athlete representation. While I knew I wanted to be involved in the sports industry, the precise path was initially unclear. During my academic years, I dedicated my summer holidays to working in various sports-related capacities. 

I returned to Namibia regularly throughout my university career, immersing myself in internships and work experiences at organisations like the Namibian Sports Commission, as well as the Ministry of Sports, Youth and National Services. I also honed my coaching skills by working with the Namibian Basketball Federation, leading the U/16 National Basketball Team, and coaching at Deutsche Höhere Privatschule Windhoek. 

Further expanding my horizons, I had the incredible opportunity to work at the World Football Summit in Madrid, Spain, gaining insights into the international sports landscape. Through these experiences, I explored different facets of the sports industry, gaining invaluable knowledge and hands-on exposure. Athlete representation emerged as a natural fit due to my passion for the welfare and success of athletes. It was a way for me to channel my enthusiasm into a role where I could truly make a difference.


What has been your most significant deal as a player agent?

Our most notable successes have been in the realm of rugby. One of our standout achievements was facilitating the journey of rugby player Peter Diergaardt to the Czech Republic on two separate occasions, as well as arranging a venture for him in Poland. Currently, we are actively involved in another exciting opportunity for Diergaardt, although specific details cannot be disclosed at this time.

In the domain of football, we’ve made significant contributions to the career of a Namibian footballer abroad. However, the intricate details of these transfers must remain confidential, respecting the privacy and integrity of the transactions involved. Each deal is the culmination of extensive negotiations, strategies and collaborations, all geared towards securing the best possible outcome for the players we represent.


On the flip side, could you discuss a smaller or lesser-known sale you’ve made and why it is still important in your career?

While we’ve had a hand in larger and more prominent deals, some smaller or lesser-known transfers in football have also played a crucial role in our careers. These transfers involved four local moves – and although I can’t delve into specific details, they were immensely significant. Every transaction, irrespective of its scale, is vital to our profession. These transfers allowed us to establish and strengthen relationships within the local football community, showcasing our dedication to supporting talent at various levels. The lesser-known sales are often stepping stones, providing valuable experience, building trust and affirming our commitment to aiding players in their careers. These transactions have helped us learn and grow, shaping our approach and strategy in the competitive world of player representation.


What are some of the most significant challenges you face as a player agent in Namibia?

One of the primary challenges we encounter as player agents in Namibia is the dearth of video footage, statistical data and top-notch facilities. It’s a hurdle when trying to market our local players to international clubs without substantial visual evidence or performance metrics. The lack of access to these resources makes it difficult to showcase the talent and potential of our players effectively.

Furthermore, sourcing funding to facilitate trials abroad is a persistent challenge. While we give our all with our current resources, financial limitations often impede our efforts to send players for trials, hindering their opportunities to pursue professional paths. We continuously strive to leverage our work salaries for the cause, but I earnestly call upon corporate Namibia to join hands with us. Their support is pivotal in enabling us to send our players abroad, granting them the chance to evolve into professional athletes and represent Namibia proudly on the international stage.


Are there unique challenges specific to the football industry in Namibia, compared to other countries?

Yes, indeed. One of the distinct challenges faced in the football industry in Namibia is the lack of a serious sports culture. Despite having an abundance of raw talent per capita, sports are not prioritised adequately within the nation. This creates a significant disparity when competing internationally.

Namibian athletes often juggle full-time work or academic commitments alongside limited practice time, typically around 2 hours a day. In contrast, athletes in other countries have the opportunity to dedicate 8-10 hours a day to training and development. This imbalance poses a unique challenge for Namibian footballers, who must strive to compete at an international level, despite these limitations. Bridging this gap in commitment and resources is a critical hurdle we constantly strive to overcome in our pursuit of nurturing talent and success within Namibia’s football landscape.


What qualifications, skills or licences are necessary for someone to become a player agent in Namibia?

To succeed as a player agent in Namibia, a deep understanding of the local sports landscape is paramount. I highly recommend pursuing educational pathways, aligned with this goal. Essential qualifications include studying sports law or obtaining a degree in sports management from esteemed institutions like the Namibia University of Science and Technology. Additionally, a diploma in sports management from reputable institutions, such as Aims School of Sports, can also provide a solid foundation.,

Complementing formal education and honing crucial skills is vital. Strong negotiation, communication and networking abilities are essential.  A keen eye for talent, an understanding of contract negotiations, and the ability to navigate the intricate world of sports are key skills. Moreover, staying updated with evolving sports regulations and market trends is critical for success in the competitive field of player representation.

Regarding licences, it is imperative to stay informed about any licencing requirements set forth by relevant sports governing bodies in Namibia. Adhering to legal and regulatory frameworks is fundamental for a successful career as a player agent.

To be continued next week…

2023-09-28  Maurice Kambukwe

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