In the modern day, rugby has taken over as the most followed sporting discipline amongst sports crazy inhabitants of Rehoboth.
This is mainly because the town boasts two formidable teams, who are campaigning fiercely in the country’s top-flight rugby league, in the shape of Rehoboth Rugby Club and bitter rivals Reho Falcon, whereas the beautiful game has taken an enforced backseat, with teams from that neck of the woods hardly making a lasting impression on the few occasions they managed to invade the scene.
This scenario has obliged many footballers to shift their allegiance to the oval-shaped ball, but Bra Des would have none of that and chose to serve in both disciplines, and with distinction.
Born in Rehoboth in 1980, Bra Des is one of very few athletes who defied the odds stacked against them by excelling in different sporting codes and to be considered amongst the very best.
“I actually started playing football at a very young age while I was still at the JTL Beukes Primary School in Rehoboth and only started to play rugby when I went to further my studies at Rehoboth High School.
“We managed to assemble a very competitive team, laden with talented youngsters that included Ivan Makina, Jerome ‘Bones’ Smith, Meraai Swartbooi, Brian Brendell, Hans Witbooi and Etienne Beukes, amongst others.”
In the meantime, he joined Rehoboth Rugby Club, then campaigning in the Central lower division.
Unlike many of his peers, who struggled to make the transition from the spherical object to the oval bal, Bra Des settled in quickly and although his preferred position was fullback, he was equally at home in both the centre and wing positions.
His exploits on the rugby field convinced national selectors to include him in the national Under-18 rugby 15 that campaigned in the annual Academy Week Development Tournament in Durban, South Africa.
“It was indeed a good learning curve for us as youngsters. I played in all the group games and must confess, I played some good rugby during that period,” boasts Bra Des.
Back home, the versatile and superfit athlete made a welcome return to the football field as he almost single-handedly steered Friends to promotion to the country’s elite football league, the MTC Premiership in the 2002/2003 football season.
“It was quite tough, because we clinched promotion in our last match away from home in Aranos, but for some strange reason, we enjoyed a good run in our debut season”.
The good thing is that the management did not rest on its laurels, as they recruited quality players in the mould of the late big frame Zimbabwean striker Wilbert Masembe and few others. The league’s new boys finished in a modest 6th place on the log standings in their first season – certainly no mean feat.
In the meantime Bra Des would become a valuable squad member of the exciting Hardap Invitational Football Eleven, campaigning in the popular annual NFA Namibian Newspaper Youth Cup, where he prominently featured for three solid consecutive seasons.
Subsequently, Bra Des also duly selected to represent his native land in the Under-21 Youth Rugby Tournament in neighbouring Zimbabwe, where Namibia emerged victorious.
He was also in the national Under-21 Sevens Rugby side that competed in the South African Provincial Sevens tourney in Free-state, South Africa in 2007. In between his busy schedule, Bra Des showed commitment towards his association with the Rehoboth Rugby Club and was duly appointed club captain.
His next stop was Australia, where he was to to represent Namibia at the prestigious IRB World Cup finals in 2007, but as fate would dictate, Bra Des suffered a fractured collarbone in the build-up, just three days before Namibia was to begin its second assault at the global showpiece.
He was eventually sent home to make space for his replacement, and as they say, the rest is history.
Upon his quicker than expected recovery, Bra Des played a pivotal role in his local team’s sudden rise to stardom, that saw the Rehobothers reach the final of the elite league five times in succession, only to be consoled with “the nearly team” tag.
Nonetheless, perseverance finally prevailed when Rehoboth laid their hands on the elusive trophy at the expense of pre-favourites United in the 2012 edition, defeating the old-time campaigners hands down under the shrewd stewardship of former national team player, Jood Opperman.
The following year Bra Des was caught between the devil and the deep blue sea and had to choose between football and rugby. With a heavy heart, he chose to chase after the oval ball, where he continued for one more season before he hung up his togs in the 2013 season, to concentrate his energy on the tourism industry.