Namibian football’s wunderkind, Ennio Hamutenya, recently made history by becoming one of the country’s youngest players to sign a professional contract with a European club.
Ennio, a younger brother to Miguel Hamutenya, who plays for Hönefoss BK in the Norwegian first division, recently signed his first professional contract with Valletta Football Club in the Maltese Premier League.
Malta – officially the Republic of Malta – is a southern European island country comprising an archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea.
Although the duration of his new contract with the club is not yet known, the 18-year-old Ennio is said to have impressed the club’s technical staff with his exceptional skills and ability to deal calmly with pressure in his defensive midfielder role. With the Malta move, Ennio becomes one of the very few Namibian footballers to pen a professional contract with a European club, following in the footsteps of Collin Benjamin, Razundara Tjikuzu, Mohamed Ouseb, Quinton Jacobs and Eliphas Shivute; to mention a few. The Maltese Premier League was ranked 44th out of 53 members by UEFA in their coefficient calculation for UEFA club competitions, which again saw the league rise three places in 2011/12 and as a result, they gained a slot in UEFA club competitions.
Just last year, Ennio was invited to train with Italian side AC Milan’s feeder team, Primavera, for about three weeks, but despite having successfully completed the trials, Milan could not sign due to Namibia’s poor ranking on the FIFA world rankings.
Expressing his excitement, Ennio yesterday took to social media to thank his family, friends and fans for their unwavering support.
“First of all let me thank all my friends and family for supporting me. Of late, I have been so busy chasing my dream, as from the day I started walking football was my only passion. I dedicated my everything to making sure my dreams become a reality, but it wasn’t easy though.
“Valletta FC is a club with a great history in terms of Champions League and Europa League competitions. That’s why I say I’m truly blessed, happy and humbled to announce the signing of my first professional contract.
“I hope to be an example to many… The most important thing is to do what you love with a smile on your face. Nothing should stop you from achieving your goals and becoming successful. Proudly Namibian and proud to help put my country on the map. This is just the beginning for me,” the ecstatic youngster wrote.