Born in Rehoboth as the second eldest son ‘Fortune’ as Gareth Eichab is called by his peers, chose football over athletics and became one of the most consistent coaches for the 2018/2019 season, guiding Tura Magic to a third place finish in the Namibia Premier League on his debut season behind winners Black Africa and second placed African Stars and got nominated in the coach of the year category and having guided the Khomas Region to a third place finish in the ‘The Namibian Newspaper Cup. Fortune took time out to talk to Thru Pass (TP) about his football journey.
TP: Tell us about yourself, who are you and have you ever played football?
Fortune: I was born in Rehoboth and I am the second eldest child. I am a reclusive person who likes my privacy but very down to earth. One of my pastimes is singing which comes with being a Lutheran. I moved to Windhoek at a very young age and my love for football started when I was at Moses Van der Byl Primary School, but due to the fact that I was a good athlete, I decided to concentrate on my athletic career. I was running 1500m and 3000m. After I completed at Jan Jonker Afrikaner, I joined Windhoek Rovers Club and I also played Second Division in Khomas League. I quit football due to the fact that I got work in a supermarket and there was no time for me to play at all.
TP: How did you become a soccer coach, where did it all start?
Fortune: Since I missed out on playing football because of work and my love for athletics, I decided to start a football club to help youngsters play better football than me. The club’s name was Scorpion United and we were affiliated to the Khomas Youth League. I realized that I could help the boys play football better than me.
TP: Who motivated you to become a coach, who mentored you?
Fortune: I used to follow the coaching careers of former Orlando Pirates and Brave Warriors coach the late Seth Boois and coach Brian Isaacks as well as former Bafana Bafana coach Clive Barker. Those guys inspired me to take football seriously.
TP: What does working as a soccer coach mean to you on a personal level?
Fortune: Coaching is something unique. It means a lot to me because I am helping others become better players and for them to take football seriously, to come out of their comfort zones and make a living out of football. Also working with young upcoming players is a very good feeling.
TP: On a typical soccer training day, what are your responsibilities?
Fortune: On youth level, one does everything, but at senior level, more focus is on team tactics and general play of the team. How you want your team to play for that specific game. However, tactics differ from game to game depending on the opponents and competition you are involved in.
TP: As far as sport is concerned, what do you feel about negative motivation?
Fortune: Negative motivation is not good at all, but through negative environments and negative vibes, you need to be positive to survive as a sports person. One must not be influenced by negativity, but rather take it as a building block to go far in life.
TP: As a coach, how much of a mentor do you think you are?
Fortune: As a young and upcoming coach, I think I am moving in the right path of being a mentor for youngsters by guiding them on and off the pitch to be responsible citizens. Also, one needs to give fair and constructive criticism instead of looking beyond the mistakes players make to shape them to become strong and better persons.
TP: What skills do you possess that make you a perfect soccer coach to work with?
Fortune: I am a goal driven person. The will to try and do better to improve on the previous campaigns push me to try and reach new heights. Another aspect is playing different brand of football based on what that moment requires, but I like attacking football as a coach.
TP: What is your biggest achievement as a soccer coach so far?
Fortune: Being nominated among the three best coaches in the country’s flagship league and finishing third in my NPL debut season with Tura Magic are by far the best highlights.
TP: How would you describe your first season in the NPL, being thrown in the deep end after the head coach left?
Fortune: I was very fortunate and I must thank Tura Magic management for entrusting me with that big responsibility to be the captain of the ship. It was a good learning experience for me, the players were fabulous and the technical team was great. We stood by each and for the progress of the team, we all pull in one direction, which made it easy for me.
TP: Are you planning on coaching the Brave Warriors one day?
Fortune: It is every Namibian coach’s dream, but for now it does not even cross my mind. The plan is to establish myself as a very good coach first because this road is rough and very difficult.
TP: If you could change anything in our football, what would it be?
Fortune: Funding of lower leagues and youth leagues. It is the foundation from where the national teams benefit. A good foundation laid will one day reap its benefits on the world football stage.
TP: Do you think upcoming young coaches like you should be given a chance to coach the junior national teams more often?
Fortune: Not really but senior coaches must be involved in youth setups.
TP: Who are the best players you have ever coached?
Fortune: Johannes Petrus, Erasmus Ikeinge, Larry Horaeb, Charles Hambira and Junias Theophilus, those boys are great.
TP: Where do you see yourself in the next 10 years?
Fortune: I want to win something as a coach and hopefully help youngsters to become better footballers and citizens of this country.
TP: Thanks for making time to talk to us.
Fortune: It was a pleasure talking to you and thanks.