Shooting From The Hip – Let ‘em Play … and Die


PEOPLE tend to stumble when estimating probabilities. If someone says ‘never’ yours truly usually registers this as a minuscule probability greater than zero, since ‘never’ cannot be compensated by a negative probability.

In sum, let’s not get too excited because improbable coincidences are precisely that, rare but very possible events. That is why it is not surprising when they finally happen, but what would be more surprising would be if they never happened. As human beings, we always take it for granted that we would not be attacked by a mob while strolling around in a crowded shopping mall or anywhere else. As for me, it’s about time we start calling a spade a spade and not a large spoon, because as it stands, many a local club campaigning in the country’s topflight football league is administered by a couple of blokes who find themselves totally outside their circle of competence. The untimely death of much-travelled likeable Civics hard-as-nails defender Lawrence Kaapama, better known as ‘Bobby’ in football circles, has opened up a drawn-out debate as to whether Namibian footballers are enjoying protection and security from their respective employers apart from the meager monthly remuneration over a period of ten months. This despite some players having been made to sign long-term employment contracts.

Kaapama is not the first local footballer to have been reunited with his ancestors while still at the pinnacle of an unfulfilled football career. The list of departed young football stars is considerable and includes Orlando Pirates dribbling wizard Patrick Jagger, the Civics pair of Lucas ‘Shoes’ Orr and Richard Ventura, Black Africa and Brave Warriors skillful centre-back Michael Claasen, Pekaraa Kaaheke and many more. These gifted athletes have dedicated their lives to the beautiful game of football unconditionally over the years, but unlike in other employment environments where some sporting instances have the foresight to take out life cover for their valuable employees in case of death or inability, in most of our clubs this is sadly not the case. This is tantamount to operating totally outside their circle of competence!

Many local footballers are left to rot beneath their well-decorated tombstones, while their dependents restlessly ponder where their next meal is going to come from. It is about time that football authorities introduce measures that would compel all clubs to take better care of their playing personnel such as taking out life and disability cover for them since we all know that injury is an ever present probability that can deprive a player of his livelihood in the blink of an eye.

Yours truly has known Bobby since his days at the now defunct Hot Flames Football Club where he formed a deadly combination with Jamu Ngatjizeko, before the pair was snapped up by Okahandja based Liverpool Football Club. Bobby was one of very few dead-ball specialists in the game, notably during his stint in the red, white and blue colours of Katutura glamour football club African Stars. In all honesty, young Bobby was the backbone of the Reds fragile rearguard and formed the spine of an otherwise very average Stars outfit and doubtlessly laid the foundation for the team’s current success. May his soul rest in eternal peace.

Story by Carlos Kambaekwa


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