Simon: A passionate educator, mentor

Simon: A passionate educator, mentor

Johannes Ongayiike Simon is a highly-ambitious, adaptable and compassionate teacher with over 10-years of teaching and coaching experience.

With a bachelor’s honours degree in mathematics and science as well as a master’s degree in mathematics education from the University of Namibia (Unam), he joined St. Joseph’s High School (Döbra) in 2012. 

Known for his energetic personality, Simon would often exercise regularly to keep himself fit and in shape, bringing that same vigour to his teaching and coaching. 

“Sometimes I would run alone. Other times, I would jog with the schoolboys at the football field – and some other times, up the mountain with a group of close friends. 

I eventually started having informal training sessions with a group of boys at the school about three to four times a week, including weekends. I started organising mini-tournaments, and there was always great competition,” Simon said.

The school management saw the great potential and commitment in his sports work, and decided to officially appoint him as the school football team coach. 

“Eventually, what started to keep in shape turned into something I enjoyed a lot. 

I am always engaged in continuous learning to broaden my knowledge and experience. I am confident and enthusiastic about working with children, especially through coaching. I consider myself as someone who loves sports, and seeing young children grow in sports has always been a joy for me,” he said.

During his tenure as a coach at the school, Döbra excelled in almost all sports codes, including volleyball and netball. 

“I am proud to say that we are one of the few schools in the HopSol League that have been there since its introduction. 

One of the notable achievements was when we were crowned HopSol champions in 2017 in all three age groups (U/15, U/17 and U/19). 

“Last year, we had two teams (U15 and U17) that were registered in the HopSol League, and I would say that we did much better last year than we are doing this season. Both our last year’s teams progressed from the group stages to the next round. 

“This year, we only registered for the U/15 boys’ team, and we aren’t really where we are supposed to be on the log. If I’m not mistaken, we are yet to win a game this year and should be at the bottom of the table, a position we have never been in since the introduction of the league,” he said.

In addition, the school has so far produced quality players who are currently playing for Namibia Premier League clubs. 

One notable player who stands out is Uetuuru Kambato, who recently participated in the Africa Cup of Nations tournament.

However, despite having produced players who now compete at club level, one of the challenges Simon pointed out is that they are a school team competing with clubs. 

He feels clubs will always have an advantage of acquiring players from different schools or sometimes even from other clubs, while schools mainly just depend on the players enrolled at their respective schools. 

“These clubs sometimes are coached by coaches with qualifications, and have plenty of resources in comparison to schools that are coached by teachers, and have limited resources. One can argue that there is a transfer window in-between – but trust me, it’s more difficult for a school to acquire new players than it is for the clubs,” said Simon. 

He feels the league is surely taking the boys off the streets, and preventing them from being involved in things such as alcohol and drug abuse. 

“The boys love the game. They just want to play. The league is important as far as the development of the minds of young players is concerned. 

We see lots of players in the league and national team – the likes of Kambato and Ronaldo Kamatuka – just to mention a few. All these are HopSol products, and they’re really doing well in the field of play. The inclusion of these boys in the NPL and national team serves as a motivation to the young ones to do better as well,” he said.

He further urged the boys to use the chance presented to them to showcase their skills and talents. 

“Who knows, perhaps one day you’ll find yourself playing for the national team, and even abroad. The time is now. Use it while you can. May the best team win the competition.”