• July 3rd, 2020

Lost & found, Timotheus ‘Times’ Ipinge, football’s forgotten man

… The Silent Assassin

If you were a footballer back in the day and boastfully went by the sacred name of “Times”- it was enough to draw closer attention and let butterflies run riot in the bellies of robust defenders, including the departed hard-as-nails Salathiel “Stimela” Ndjao.
Not only was all the ensuing hullabaloo about the name, but more essentially about his playing ability since that particular name was synonymous with a football legend, one Timotheus “Times” Mwetuyela.
The former South West Africa (SWA) Bantu Invitational Eleven and Tigers Football Club forward was a phenomenal athlete and easily ranks amongst the greatest footballers the country has even unearthed.
Coincidently, the pair of footballers are both products of the Copper Town (Tsumeb) and bore similar looks, and were both lethal goal poachers in their own right. Better still, they were both left-footed and represented their native land at different intervals beyond the borders, provincially and internationally, respectively. 
New Era Sport finally caught up with the well-travelled devastating net buster with the boyish looks as he relives his amazing football journey that also took him down to sea level for a successful but rather short-lived stint with one of the country’s most decorated football clubs, Blue Waters.

n Carlos ‘CK’ Kambaekwa    

TSUMEB – Any footballer who ever donned the blue and white strip of “Omeya” as Blue Waters Football Club is affectionately known amongst its ardent followers, is certainly worth his salt.
Not only did “Times” Ipinge represent the Kuisebmond outfit with honour and distinction, “Times” also won the hearts of the usually hard-to-please Birds’ followers.
Signed from relegated Nomtsoub outfit Benfica, “Times” arrived at the coastal town outfit amid much hype as he was roped in to partner the club’s ageing lethal goal poacher Armando “The Bull” Pedro, in the Birds’ firing line.
And Oh Boy!!! “Times” was blessed with amazing dribbling skills and could shoot from any range and was a menace to many shot stoppers who dreaded the mere thought of facing him. 
His unpredictable ferocious long-range pile drivers left many a goalkeeper with fractured fingers. He was the kind of striker that could guarantee his employers a decent return of at least 20 goals a season, nowadays a rare commodity in domestic football, certainly no mean feat.
“Times” started playing competitive football with boyhood team Benfica FC and was amongst a new breed of young footballers promoted to “Fika’s” first team to succeed the old guard, who were by then in the twilight of their football careers.
Blessed with a venomous left foot, “Times” was born in the Copper Town in 1980 and started his schooling at local school Opawa Primary School in Nomtsoub. Like many other boys his age, he would kick around in the popular street games.
He joined boyhood team Benfica at a very young age when the team were campaigning in the country’s second tier division before he “Omeya” came calling, dangling a juicy carrot in his baby face to relocate to the harbour town.
During his one season with “Omeya”, Times spearheaded the seasiders to runner-up spot in the Namibia Premiership. Whilst still basking in the sun, former club Benfica came calling after the Nomtsoub outfit had reclaimed their premiership status. 
Having started out as an attacking midfielder “Times” was the catalyst behind Benfica’s drive aspirations to cement their place in the Premiership, after being converted into a forward. He would rattle the opposition net at will and was doubtlessly the Nomtsoub outfit’s finest player, ultimately, the crowd’s blue-eyed boy.
“Times” represented Namibia at all youth levels before he was elevated to the senior side, the “Brave Warriors” in 2003 – making his international debut against Angola in 2003.
Sadly, the likeable net buster suffered a career-threatening injury in a horrific road accident when the vehicle in which he was travelling with his team Benfica was involved in an accident between Windhoek and Okahandja near Brakwater. The team were returning from a league match against Tigers in the capital. 
After a long layoff, “Times” eventually returned to action but was never going to be the same player again as he still endured persistent back pains from the car accident. 
“Times” briefly tried to resurrect his fading football career with Tigers FC but things did not work out as he wished and decided to retreat home – rejoining Benfica en route to unfashionable mid-table Premiership campaigners Oshakati City where he wound up his flawless but yet unfulfilled football career.
“It was very frustrating to find myself all of a sudden not playing football because after that terrible car accident, I was no longer the same player I used to be before and on top of that, I got a new job at Ohorongo Cement that took a lot of my time. I decided to call it quits in 2010.
“Nonetheless, I’ve no regrets with the sacrifices and time I invested in playing football – the game has made me much stronger mentally and physically, while I learned a lot of things about life in general, making friends from all walks of life,” says “Times”.
His former coach Bafana “Rastaman” Subeb describes his protégé as a phenomenal athlete, talented and very disciplined. 
“I coached him as a raw young boy but could see by then that he was a highly gifted footballer destined for the big stage. He was a natural goal scorer and clinical finisher, very composed in the penalty box with unbelievable calmness way belying his tender age and could strike the ball pretty well,” reveals Subeb. 
In the end, regardless of enduring a trophy-less promising football career by his own standards, unlike his predecessors, “Times“ would without a shadow of doubt go down in the club’s history as one of the finest, in the same bracket as club greats Licky Gideon, Draka Shetekela, Ushona siblings Daddy, Packs and Lovey, Richo Ouseb and Mahuna Iyambo.

Carlos Kambaekwa
2019-07-19 13:37:03 | 11 months ago

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