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The football coach who wanted to be a pastor

2020-07-17  Paheja Siririka

The football coach who wanted to be a pastor
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Paheja Siririka

What you might not know about him is he loves music more than football. We are talking about a man and son of the soil who has been at the forefront of sports in Namibia for four decades.
Ricardo Giovanni Mannetti (45), aka Bucksy said his siblings are to be blamed for this as they exposed him to music at the age of 10, listening to jazz music. “I was introduced to Jazz music at the age of 10. Imagine a 10-year-old listening to Bob James and Jonathan Butler,” recalled Mannetti.
He said: “So if it wasn’t for football, I would either be a pastor or a radio Dj. I grew up in church and admired Pastor Joseph of River of Life. He made me look at Christianity differently. And I would be a radio Dj for the obvious love of music. I would rather go to my favourite artist’s music show than to watch my favourite football team.”
Mannetti was an athlete for seven years, the other 33 years in football as a player and later as a coach. The athlete turn footballer and coach is married to Brumelda Mannetti with three daughters and unfortunately lost a son.

Football career
With every venture we get into, somehow, there is always a little if not a lot of influence from outside and with Mannetti, it’s no different. “Brian Isaacs made me fall in love with the game and one thing I can tell you is that he just made it look so cool and I wanted to be a cool kid...not forgetting the attention you get from the opposite gender,” he burst out with laugher.
Mannetti is known to be the first youngest footballer in the history of the Namibian sport to play at the highest level at the age of 15 years old.

Mental health in sport
One thing Mannetti has been busy advocating for as a coach is the importance of mental health and his stance is still the same. He said if there is anyone out there who wishes to follow in his footsteps, it requires a lot of mental stability.
“If you are not mentally strong then don’t even try football. Maybe social football will be a better idea. Let’s also be in tune with the fact that winning and success starts in your mind. That’s where most battles are won. Not forgetting a crocodile skin. This profession requires you to have a very thick skin,” hinted Mannetti.

The army and general in his life
If he could form his football team with his immediate family (wife, children, Cassidy and Taylo), the wife will always be the general. “My wife, the general will wear jersey number 10, everything goes through her, that’s the boss lady and she dictates the tempo. 
Now you know who the real boss at home is. Cassidy will be the wingback, wearing number three because he can be aggressive and has endurance. Never say die attitude,” he highlighted.
The coach’s favourite as this player will die for the team and the coach is Taylo Mannetti. “She will be centre forward number nine, she will be the poster girl of the team. She will be like “just pass me the ball and I will do the rest”. Caneesha will be in the middle, number eight because she is a combination of her siblings and therefore will balance the midfield perfectly. Latika is our number one, our goalkeeper. She is very safe and cautious. Not a big risk taker so she will be the safe hands of the team,” added Mannetti.
He said the last-born Layla will wear jersey number five. “She will be like Sergio Ramos, always in trouble because of her aggression, she will cost us as she will get red cards left right and centre,” he laughed uncontrollably.

One day in Ricardo’s boots
An ordinary day in Mannetti life entails daddy and husband duties mixed with eating out and brainstorming sessions, which are mostly about football and business. When bored and something which seems customary to many is driving around or watching movies.
“I would get in my car with my favourite songs and hit the road, it gives me peace of mind. The open road with deep house music or I would watch my favourite series on Netflix, The Vikings or Narcos,” shared Mannetti.

Support system
Having a strong support system is very crucial nowadays and the Mannettis have shown that blood is way thicker than water. 
Whenever one attends football matches, especially locally, the whole family would always be seen in the crowd.
Whenever Cassidy, the half of Paradox is having a music show or showcasing fashion collection under his line //Concept, you will for sure see the Mannetti family in full force. The model in the family Taylo Mannetti has graced numerous stages, showcasing clothes of different designers or being a promo girl for some products, again the family is always present.
“People in Passion Jobs need a lot of support and I for one is a good example of it. Support of my family brought me this far and it’s my responsibility to do the same to the next generation. 
Those industries (fashion and music) are not easy and therefore they need all the support they can get,” said Mannetti when asked what being involved means to him and how he divides the time to attend to all their support needs.
Entertainment Now! contacted Brian Isaacs to find out how much he knew of Mannetti and over the phone, the joy having to speak about Mannetti was reflective of the appreciation the sportsman had for his mentor. 
 “I have known Ricardo since he was a young boy because we were neighbours. I remember him as a young, disciplined, talented and well-mannered sprinter who had an admiration for me. He was a top athlete and I was fascinated to see him grow and develop into a footballer and coach and sportsman he turned out to be,” said Isaacs. He added: “It was a joy to work with him and when he went to play for Santos F.C, it was a cherry on the cake and I knew I have achieved wonderful things with him.”

2020-07-17  Paheja Siririka

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