• August 13th, 2020

Up close with the ‘Zambezi Bream’ Agenda ‘Magents’ Matongo

Despite a strongly held demographic prejudice, the village town of Katima Mulilo in the far north east region has in the past produced a significant number of great athletes though some of them went unnoticed.
Those that spring to mind are; Boston Muyambango Likando, Kayo Munyaza, Oscar Mulonda, Given Numwa and lately, the highly rated Namibian international Ryan Simasiku Nyambe. Sadly only a handful made it into the country’s elite football league with great aplomb. Apart from the quartet led by the GOAT Likando, Munyaza, Numwa and Nyambe, the only other genuinely recognized footballer from that neck of the woods is none other than lanky forward Agenda Matongo, also known as “Kookwater”. We caught up with the retired speedy winger as he relives his amazing football journey that saw him leaving seasoned robust defenders for dead, showing them a clean pair of heels with blistering speed.

Unlike many of his peers, Agenda started out as a goalkeeper at very young age for a school team in his native Katima Mulilo, because of his excellent reflexes.  
It was not long before he joined a local club going by the name of Space Age FC as a defender, notwithstanding his frail frame. 

He soon cemented himself as a steady centre back thanks to his amazing speed, decent height and good timing. After few outstanding performances, he got elevated to the senior team as the youngest squad member in the starting eleven.
Magents’ extra ordinary long legs always came in handy as he easily disposed big framed strikers off the ball by just stretching his legs..... hooking the ball into safety, though bodily contact was a no go contest as he would be tossed around like someone blowing ash off their hand palms.

Bro “Magents” became the centre of attraction with other top clubs making advances including local giants Roccano Rangers FC, where the trident of his paternal uncles whom he lived with were staunch supporters.
As it turned out, it was the youthful Green Eagles outfit loaded with his best buddies that snatched him from Space Age. It was while at the Eagles that he rose to prominence and became a household name in regional football. 
“We were such a bunch of great friends because we started playing street football together from as early as the ages of 10,” relates Magents with a twinkle in his eyes.

When selectors fished around to select the regional team for tourneys in Windhoek, the squad always comprised the majority of Eagles’ players. 
“We had such a good team that we became invincible winning almost every silverware that was there to be won on offer in the Zambezi Region. Our main strength was teamwork and work ethics, introduced by our new head coach Willem Cloete”. 

The latter had played football at the highest level in Windhoek, and joined forces with the club after he was transferred to Katima alongside few other guys who also came on board.  
Cloete introduced different training methods and new tactics of playing, which improved the squad significantly to the extend they became the most difficult team to beat in the region.
In 1993, Magents relocated to the city of bright lights {Windhoek} where he joined the college football team in his first year. 

He was duly selected for the TISAN team that included the likes of exciting young footballers such as Lolo Goraseb, Chacklas Engelbrecht, Ricardo Mannetti, Mabos Ortman and Norman Ramakhutla.
It was during his time at college where “Magents” caught the eyes of premier league teams scouts with Civics, African Stars, Black Africa and Ramblers all vying for his signature.

“One had to choose carefully because those teams were very much anchored on tribal and regional attachment. Someone from outside a certain tribe had to be extra-ordinarily good to break into the first eleven.
“Coming from the then Caprivi region where not much about it was known apart from stories of gunfire between Plan Combatants and the South African Army, one had to choose very carefully to avoid being a serial bench warmer.
“Given this and a bit of advice from fellow students, I resolved to join Ramblers which was a well balanced multi-racial team with a good mixture of whites, coloureds and blacks from across all tribes. All I needed was to turn up for the party, and oh boy, I surely did oblige.”  

“It was a bit scary coming to training the first day meeting the imposing towering Tollie van Wyk, who was skipper of the Brave Warriors. Other big name players were; Donkey Madjiedt, Joseph Martin, Nikita Hivei and Lucky Richter amongst a galaxy of stars.”
Though he was already converted to a centre forward at college, Ramblers coach Robby Grainger, switched him to the right wing position where he excelled.
“It was not a problem because everything I touched turned into gold. I slotted into the right wing with George Kanambunga on the opposite wing.

Magents announced his arrival at the Tunschell Street Boys with a breathtaking performance against African Stars. “We were defending a corner and the clearance fell perfectly on my feet while I was stationed on the halfway line.” 
With two defenders closing him down, Magents out-sprinted the pair and went onto score a beauty of a goal. However, much to the surprise of many, referee Boy-Boy Ndjadila ruled the goal out for offside. “It still boggles my mind how he arrived at that decision.” 

After that particular match, the fairly unknown lanky winger caught the attention of the media that led to the Die Republikein veteran sport reporter Boet Mathews giving him the nickname “Kookwater” (Boiling Water). 
His next game was against cross town rivals Civics where the rivalry between these two teams was very tense because of the big number of Khomasdal players turning out for Ramblers.  
Magents gathered the ball from the right wing in the dying minutes and zigzagged on an amazing solo run to score the only goal of the match.

After that particular match, he was summoned to the club house where he met some NFA officials and national team coaches as well as Ramblers officials. The gathering was centred around his unavoidable inclusion in the under 23 national team.   
“That was the last I heard from anyone about the discussion. In hindsight, I think the tribal politics in football had a major influence in terms of national team selection because it was crystal clear that one had to play for certain teams to walk into the national team.”

After two and a half seasons with Ramblers, the lanky forward jumped the sinking ship after the club was relegated from the elite league in 1996, three years after being crowned Namibian champions, only for him to resurface at Tigers.
His debut match was a place on the substitutes bench in the NFA Cup final, which “Ingwe” won 1-0 against Black Africa. He was part of the touring entourage that travelled to Swaziland to represent Namibia in the Caf Club Cup preliminary round. 

“Our coach Aupapa Shipanga constantly left me on the bench and that contributed to me losing confidence and match fitness. I eventually quit Tigers but still wanted to play football at the highest level. 
“I teamed up with my brother and former Eagles’ teammate, the late Kayo Munyaza who was playing for Civics at the time. We organised a couple of our homeboys and formed our own team, baptised Zambezi United FC.  
“We started in the 2nd division and did well and even got promoted to the first division but at that point I opted to revive my academic aspirations after a knock down due to placing too much focus on football. I packed my bags and headed down south...with Cape Town being the ultimate destination. 

“Upon my arrival at the then Peninsula Technikon, (Cape Peninsula University of Technology), I found out that they were competing in the South African Football Association league’s (2nd tier and Premier league divisions of Cape Town, respectively).”
The first team played in the Premier Division of the Northern Suburbs League. Magents ended up as the team’s leading goal scorer.   

The Namibian was rewarded with a call up amongst over 250 footballers from different universities and colleges in the Western Cape Province to represent the province at the South African Student Sports Union (SASSU) University tourney in Pietersburg, (Polokwane) in the Limpopo Province. 
The boy from the Zambezi region was among 18 potential candidates that made the cut. “The trials process was rigorous because of the talent South Africa possessed and making the final 18 was certainly a sweet and fulfilling feeling.” 
Upon completion of his studies, “Magents” rejoined Zambezi United in his native land and became player/coach, but sadly broke his ankle in one of the practice sessions. The injury took him out of competitive football for good leaving him with no choice but to plough back the little he knew about the game by becoming a pundit on the NBC TV. 

Carlos Kambaekwa
2020-04-17 11:14:07 | 3 months ago


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