History reveals that Rehoboth born former Brave Warriors and Ramblers Football Club lethal goal poacher Henrico Botes, also known as “Henna” amongst his vast circle of friends is the most decorated athlete to have come out from that neck of the woods. The much-travelled deadly lanky forward enjoyed a stellar lodging in the stinking rich South African Professional Soccer League (PSL) spanning over a decade. He joined leading PSL outfit Moroka Swallows from Pionierspark outfit Ramblers FC in 2003 and went on to represent his native land with great aplomb. “Henna” was lured to the city of gold (Johannesburg) by multiple title-winning mentor Gavin Hunt to join forces with Soweto giants Swallows where he was to be reunited with homeboys Mohammed “Slice” Ouseb and George Hummel in the Dube Birds’ maroon and white strip. Although he played a significant role in the Brave Warriors successful campaign for the 2008 Afcon finals in Ghana, “Henna” missed the finals through injury. Nonetheless, he managed to amass 21 caps for his country scoring a somewhat unexplained low tally of four (4) international goals in the process, certainly not a figure matching his usual lethal goal scoring record at club level. At the fairly advanced age of 35, “Henna” announced his retirement from international football to concentrate solely on club football in 2015, having made his international debut in 2001.
Carlos “CK” Kambaekwa
REHOBOTH - From humble beginnings in the remote town of Rehoboth, locked approximately 90 kilometres south of Namibia’s commercial capital Windhoek, young 'Henna' was subjected to tradition as a learner of the revered rugby-mad Dr Lemmer High School in his native Rehoboth.
While many of his school mates at school preferred to roll in the mud with the oval ball game (rugby) Henna would have none of that... his first love was always going to be the beautiful game of football though he was a noted fly-half-cum-scrumhalf with the school’s rugby first team.
He started playing competitive football with unfashionable local side Hellenic and would also double up as a salted fly-half for local side Reho Falcon between 1996 and 1999. “I used to score piles of goals for Hellenic FC notably in the lucrative Bush Knockout Tournaments,” reveals 'Henna'.
It was during one of those “bush tourneys” that Henna was spotted by Young Ones FC head coach Dove Fransman. “We were playing against the visiting Young Ones who had my elder brother Raymond and cousin Riaan van Wyk in their lineup.
“I was damn hot in that particular tourney rattling the opposition net at will and must have impressed coach Dove, who persuaded me to join forces with Young Ones. I did not hesitate because they were my favourite team at the time. It was indeed a dream come true playing alongside my brother (Raymond) and cousin (Riaan van Wyk) at the highest level.
However, his unmatched goal-scoring prowess was spotted by Ramblers’ scouts who dangled a juicy carrot in his baby-face. He welcomed the opportunity of a new challenge and became an immediate hit with the usually hard to please Rammies faithful, rattling the opposition’s net with the precision of a seasoned butcher.
'Henna' was to play a pivotal role when the revamped Tunschell Street Boys surprised friend and foe to claim the much sought after prestigious Namibia Football Association (NFA) Cup, the equivalent of the popular English FA Cup. He was deservedly voted the best player of the season and subsequently Players’ Player of the Season.
Ramblers defeated Black Africa 5-4 on penalties after a 2-all stalemate at a well-attended Independence Stadium to claim the coveted trophy for the first time in democratic Namibia.
And when then Swallows head coach Gavin Hunt, came to Windhoek unannounced to run an eye over a certain Brave Warriors target against the visiting Botswana, the former Hellenic FC defender was obliged to change his mind after Henna’s impressive performance. 'Henna' was signed straight away and as they say, the rest is history.
However, Huntie, the man who brought him the Dube Birds nest vacated his posts, 'Henna' also followed suit and jumped ship to join Silver Stars/Platinum Stars where he formed a telepathic partnership with the equally dangerous beanpole striker Eleazer Rodgers in the Rustenburg outfit’s firing line.
It was not long before he was reunited with former boss Gavin Hunt at Bidvest University, finishing second in the PSL title race in only his debut season with the “Clever Boys” but left the club after two fruitful seasons only to resurface at former club Platinum Stars before joining University of Pretoria (AmaTuks) in South Africa’s second-tier league in the 2017/2018 season.
'Henna' boasts a double of high profile titles with Stars the MTN Top 8 and Telekom knockout Cup in 2013 in addition to two runner up spots in the PSL with both Swallows and Wits.
Despite an injury plunged marathon football career, 'Henna' will go down in history as one of Namibia’s finest exports, having enjoyed successful stints in the competitive PSL, winning several men of the match accolades and was Platinum Stars’ all-time top goal scorer rattling the opposition’s net on no fewer than 50 times during his 13-year stint in the PSL.
He has since been installed as junior head coach of amateur club Coerver FC in Johannesburg. And unlike many of his peers who have fallen on bad times upon retirement from competitive football, 'Henna' is reported to have made some wise investments and currently lives happily in his adopted city Johannesburg with his family.
He still harbours ambitions to become a member of the Brave Warriors’ technical team at some point in his life adding that he dearly loves his country and would not mind ploughing back the experience gained throughout years of playing at the top level against world-class opponents and mentored by top-notch coaches.
“It has been an incredible journey with the young boys and I will always be available to lend a helping hand should my services be required, especially those aspiring to become professional footballers.
“I can always advise them on the hardships of living in a foreign country dealing with different cultures and lifestyles,” charged 'Henna' in his last official interview upon his retirement from international football way back in 2015.
The now-retired cool as a cucumber lethal forward enjoys legendary status in his birthplace Rehoboth and is nationally worshipped as a true son of the soil who has given everything for his country under trying circumstances, playing under tremendous unbearable pain notwithstanding an illustrious football career sadly hum strung by persistent career-threatening injuries.
'Henna' will go down in history as one of the most complete coloured/baster footballers Namibia has ever unearthed alongside Brian Greaves, Allan van Harte, Fritzie Poulster, Pele Blaschke, Lance Willemse, Ritchie Steenkamp, Brian Isaacs, Bucksy Manettie, Dolphie Campell, Makes Du Plessis, Tollie van Wyk, Zorro Willemse, Willem Cloete and Donkey Madjiedt amongst others.
Ironically, 'Henna' never received any call ups for the junior national teams despite his proven goal-scoring resume. “The national selectors never really bothered to look for talent outside the confines of the capital but that’s now water under the bridge because I eventually managed to achieve my ultimate goal of playing professional football,” concludes 'Henna' tongue in cheek.
2020-04-09 12:07:34 | 7 months ago