Perseverance and dedication key to success - Benjamin …narrates long and winding road to stardom
SWAKOPMUND – He has been there, seen it all and conquered the football pitches in one of the world’s finest football leagues (Budesliga).
Former Brave Warriors and Civics Football Club versatile footballer Collin “Collymore” Benjamin, had the crowd in absolute awe the hearts of those in attendance as he relived his thorny football journey on foreign soil.
Arguably Namibia’s finest sporting export, Benjamin was the motivational speaker at the Namibia Sports Commission (NSC) annual Sports Awards Giving Ceremony at the packed to rafters Dome Hall in Swakopmund, on Saturday evening.
A one-club man, Benjamin spent nine solid years with Budesliga giants Hamburg FC but in his own words it was not all bed of roses.
“Truth be told, I have sacrificed my academic aspirations during my second year at varsity because my mind was on football. I was determined to become a professional footballer but it took guts and lots of sacrifices to realise my boyhood dream,” said Benjamin to a loud applause.
Playing abroad in Europe, Benjamin had to negotiate his way past a significant number of obstacles such as the freezing weather, language barriers, adjusting to foreign cultures whilst he was also obliged to prove his worth on the playing field.
“I had to save money from earnings derived from Brave Warriors appearance fees and win bonuses to pay for my return ticket to Germany after Jakes Amaning introduced me to a football agent in Germany,” he related.
Benjamin had to endure stick from his teammates in the Warriors camp whenever the team converged for international assignments, as he would be constantly subjected to unending taunts.
“Most of the guys in the team were playing in the PSL in South Africa and would loudly brag about their next opponents, teasing me with questions such as “and you bro, which team are playing against in the lower ranks of German football?”
Despite his naughty teammates making fun of him, the cool and calculated free scoring midfielder kept his firmly feet on the ground and was not to be demoralised by the jibs from his ignorant teammates.
“It was quiet tough breaking into the team’s starting eleven if you were a foreigner, notably from the African continent, your own teammates would supply you with waist length hospital passes during training sessions to test your character.
“Surprisingly, when I entered the team’s dressing room the first time, my own teammates would greet me half-heartedly with a cold hand whilst not even looking at me, well, that’s the brutal reality of professional football.”
Nonetheless, the Namibian preserved and finally made the grade in one of Europe’s much sought after football leagues, and as they say the rest is history.
Up to this day, Benjamin is the only Namibian footballer to have played in the prestigious European Champions League (UEFA) - rubbing shoulders with French World Cup winner and Arsenal legend Thierry
2018-11-01 09:28:11 9 months ago