In conversation with Warriors legend Eliphas Kambuta ‘Safile’ Shivute
Arguably one of very few local successful athletes of all time, former coastal giants Eleven Arrows, Scottish club Motherwell FC and Brave Warriors legendary versatile winger Eliphas Kambuta Shivute, aka “Safile”, remains level-headed and is currently a successful businessman in the northern part of the country.
Unlike many of his generational peers who have gone the wrong way upon expiry of their playing days, the bulky forward has shown that there is indeed a certain degree of decent life after football.
Having played professional football in different continents across the globe, including Asia and Europe, Shivute has put his earnings to good use and many aspiring young athletes, footballers in particular can take a leaf out of his book.
ONDANGWA – In hindsight, the Olukonda village born lad looks like somebody who can hardly harm a fly...but oh boy, Safile was a menace on the football field mesmerizing opposing defenders with amazing speed and brutal strength.
He grew up in Kuisebmond, Walvis-Bay and like many other boys in the neighbourhood, young Safile was football crazy and would kick a football at the slightest provocation.
He started chasing an inflated piece of leather with boyhood team Blue Waters’ second strings alongside fellow youngsters Phello Muatunga, Ronnie Kanalelo, Eliah Hipundjua, Tangeni Kambinda amongst others.
It was not long before he shifted his allegiance to bitter rivals Eleven Arrows Football Club in search of first team action alongside beanpole shot stopper Ronnie Kanalelo.
The pair were to form the backbone of the gold and maroon outfit and became household names as Arrows started to reclaim bragging rights in Kuisebmond. Their arrival in topflight football coincided with the demise of Namib Woestyn and the emergence of Explorer Eleven Football Clubs.
The strongly built midfielder-cum-winger announced his presence in domestic football with breathtaking performances week in and week out.
He was amongst a new generation of youngsters in the Arrows squad alongside Bobby Samaria, elder brother Julius “Sono” Shivute, Ronnie Kanalelo, Ngenny Emvula, Pule Tjombe and stylish South African import Sheya Mwelasi.
When Namibia finally gained her long awaited democracy three years later in 1990 - Safile was amongst the first crop of young gifted footballers selected to represent their native land regionally in the Cosafa Cup on home soil.
He made his debut for his native land away against Madagascar in 1992 and though the Brave Warriors lost by three unanswered goals (3-0), he was to establish himself as vital cog in the Warriors upsurge internationally.
Safile played an instrumental role in the Brave Warriors’ first ever qualifiers for the Afcon finals hosted by Burkina Faso in 1998 and was amongst the most outstanding performers in that particular tourney. He also masterminded Namibia’s back to back victories against big brother South Africa in the Cosafa Cup. Such was his influence in those two matches that he made the then reigning African champions look like beginners.
He went onto earn 49 caps for the Brave Warriors with eight goals to his name before a career ending knee injury abruptly abbreviated his otherwise flourishing football career.
In the meantime, Safile was deservedly voted sportsman of the year in 1997 and also won man of the match award for his Scottish club Motherwell in addition to a pair of runner up spots in the regional Cosafa Cup.
Safile underwent successful trials with German giants Borrussia Moenchengladbach, but could unfortunately not be registered because of age restrictions. He was 23.
Nonetheless, he got a second bite on the cherry when he was invited for trails by Schwarz Weiss under the guidance of head coach Joe Franken. Upon his arrival, the team were lingering dangerously in the relegation zone but his goal scoring prowess lifted the lower tier league side to safety.
He scored a remarkable tally of 13 goals in his short spell - obliging scouts from Alemannia Aochen to dangle a juicy carrot in his face. It was not long before Scottish giants Motherwell came knocking on his door for his signature, and as they say, the rest is history.
After a successful three year spell with Motherwell, Safile received a tempting offer from China where he spent four seasons with top Chinese outfit Dallian Wanda between 1999 and 2001. He also enjoyed a short stint with Shenzhen Pingon Kejan on loan in 2001 before moving to Europe to sign for Serbian club FC Cuckoricki Stankom.
Safile will be best remembered for his astonishing diving header in his league debut for Motherwell, in a 2-all draw against Glasgow Rangers in the Scottish Premier League at Ibrox and of course, his well taken brace against Ivory Coast in Ouagadougou.
In Ouagadougou, the Namibian amateurs came from 3 goals down to draw level, only to lose the tie 3-4 in the end. And who would ever forget the sunny day when he singlehandedly tormented Malawi at Windhoek’s Independence stadium.
Unlike many of his peers who have sadly gone astray upon retirement from competitive football struggling financially, not even knowing where their next meal is going to come from, the gentle giant has made some wise investments and is currently a noted businessman in the construction sector, especially at the northern town of Ondangwa.
The Motherwell website says “Safile remains a fondly recalled figure for those who witnessed him grace the claret and amber”. He was recently honoured (knighted) with the prestigious Sport Achiever accolade by the National Sport Commission (NSC) at the annual Sport Awards ceremony in Ondangwa, last October.
2020-03-20 12:51:28 | 17 days ago