We will play our socks off for Robbie – Mannetti… Brave Warriors face Zimbabwe on Sunday

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WINDHOEK, 20 JANUARY 2013 - African Stars supporter and famous football fan, Robbie Savage, organising footballs for his team at the Sam Nujoma Stadium shortly before their match against Orlando Pirates. (Photo by: Timoteus Andreas) NAMPA

Otniel Hembapu

Windhoek-Despite the odds stacked against them heading into Sunday’s 2018 CHAN second leg qualifier against Zimbabwe, Brave Warriors mentor Ricardo Mannetti has promised that the squad will do everything within their power to beat Zimbabwe – as that will be the only befitting send-off for the late Robbie Savage.

Namibia’s number one football super fan, Robbie passed on in the wee hours of yesterday morning in the Katutura State Hospital, where he was receiving treatment for various illnesses following a mild stroke he suffered a few weeks ago.

Aged 50 at the time of his death, Robbie will best be remembered as an unwavering and humble servant of Namibian football, who dedicated his entire life to canvassing support for the Brave Warriors and the sports fraternity at large.

Robbie, who was also a well known rugby and athletics mascot in the mid and late 80’s, stole the hearts of many Namibians with his arousing free spirit and his “win at all cost” attitude, the exact same mindset and attitude he spent his entire life trying to instill into Namibians, especially when it came to his beloved Brave Warriors.

Since the inception of Namibia’s democracy Robbie took a heavenly oath to serve and protect the sovereignty of the Brave Warriors. In fact, the Brave Warriors were Robbie and Robbie was the Brave Warriors – or whatever chronology that suits you.

Born and bred in Windhoek’s suburb of Khomasdal, Robbie who is said to be survived by three older sisters, and also had a brother Mannetjie who passed on, was not only a renowned Brave Warriors mascot but also the chief supporter of his beloved African Stars FC since the early 90’s, plus others such SKW, Civics, Tigers and Ramblers over the years.

Robbie was not your ordinary mascot, his patriotism and love for his country was unmatched. It was the same patriotism that earned him the affection of President Hage Geingob, whom he travelled with to the 1998 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) in Burkina Faso.

There, Robbie led an avalanche of Brave Warriors supporters, patriotically and proudly waving the Namibian flag in foreign Ouagadougou.

Over the years, Robbie featured on the list of all national team regional and international expeditions.

Speaking to New Era Sport late yesterday ahead of the Brave Warriors’ departure to Harare, coach Mannetti expressed his sadness over the passing of Robbie as he graciously remembered the stocky mascot’s indomitable spirit, tremendous courage and impish smile, which could light up their hearts even after a heavy defeat.

Describing him as an inspiration, Mannetti said Sunday’s match will not only be about making up the numbers but they will strive for a win at all costs as that “is the only outcome Robbie would have wanted from us”.

Namibia and Zimbabwe will meet on Sunday at the Harare Sports Stadium for their second round second leg match, with the eventual winner progressing to the third and final round where either Lesotho or Comoros await on the road to Kenya 2018.

Robbie has over the years won a few accolades that include Best Supporter of the Year award with African Stars first in 1992, followed by others over the years. Between 2000 and 2007, Robbie won a raft of Supporter of the Season accolades at various sports awards ceremonies.

Just last year, Robbie was honoured as the country’s Best Supporter at the MTC/NPL awards, walking away with N$10,000 and a brand new cellphone. His funeral is scheduled for next weekend, July 29.

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