Namibian veteran goalkeeper Maximillian ‘Slimkat’ Mbaeva recently donated goalkeeper gloves, training gear and other valuable equipment to the Imanuel Sparks Gottlieb Goalkeepers School of Excellence.
The academy which has hosted multiple coaching clinics for young and aspiring goalkeepers across the country is managed and run by retired veteran goalkeeper Imanuel ‘Sparks’ Gottlieb.
Gottlieb, now retired and focusing on grooming the next crop of top goalies for the country through his academy, is widely acclaimed for his goalkeeping heroics for the country’s national teams before independence during the mid and early 80s and also after independence before hanging up his gloves in 1996.
Through his school of excellence, Gottlieb continues to groom aspiring goalkeepers from all backgrounds and provide opportunities by hosting coaching clinics across the country.
Himself being a product of Gottlieb, Mbaeva took notice of the remarkable work being done by the academy and decided to assist with the furtherance of the academy’s programmes by donating goalkeeper gloves, training gear and other essential equipment needed by the school of excellence.
“I’m proud to be giving back to the academy and to someone who helped groom me into the goalkeeper that I’m today. We have been in touch and he has shared his vision for the academy and that’s why I decided to come on board and assist. This is a man who groomed me and a man I highly appreciate, hence my donation to his initiative. I know what help and work did to my career, that’s why it is important to me to also help him so he can further groom other goalies like myself,” said the 32-year-old Mbaeva, who currently plies his trade in South Africa’s DStv Premiership club, Golden Arrows.
Mbaeva, who made his debut for the Brave Warriors in 2008 and played for African Stars in the local top tier league before leaving for South Africa in 2014 to join Arrows, is currently in the country on holiday.
After retiring, Gottlieb earned numerous coaching badges and qualifications from the Namibia Football Association (NFA) and other international organisations, and immediately started ploughing back his knowledge as goalkeeper coach. ottlieb served as goalkeeper coach for Katutura giants African Stars FC for almost 10 years and also had stints with coastal sides Eleven Arrows, Blue Waters and Civics as well as briefly with South African outfits Black Leopards and Maritzburg United. In the 2000s, he also served as goalkeeper coach for the Brave Warriors.
Some prominent local goalkeepers that went through Gottlieb’s mentorship are Mbaeva, Athiel Mbaha, Ephraim Tjihonge, Abisai Shiningayamwe, Ronnie Kanalelo and Lloyd Kazapua; to mention a few. -firstname.lastname@example.org