Geingob pays homage to ‘true patriot’ Robbie… tribute match suggested

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Otniel Hembapu

Windhoek-President Hage Geingob has joined thousands of bereaved Namibians in paying tribute to the country’s number one sports mascot Robson ‘Robbie’ Savage, who died on Thursday at the age of 50.

Robbie passed on in the wee hours of Thursday morning in the Katutura State Hospital, where he was receiving treatment for various illnesses following a mild stroke he suffered a few weeks ago.

The Namibian head of state issued a statement on Friday in which he paid a touching tribute to the much-loved departed sports mascot, describing him as a true patriot and national icon.

“I would like to join all members of the Namibian sports fraternity and Namibians from all walks of life in paying tribute to a national icon, an evergreen and jovial personality, the one and only Robson ‘Robbie’ Savage, who sadly passed away in the early hours of July 20, 2017.”

He added: “I believe it is always best to do something for people while they are alive since it enables them to experience the joy of being valued and appreciated. I am glad that I have done much for Robbie while he was alive, picking him up and taking him under my wings. My fondest memories of Robbie were during the African Cup of Nations of 1998, hosted in Burkina Faso. I took Robbie along to the tournament in the government plane and after I had informed him that he would be everywhere I went, he took on the role of my ‘Special Assistant’…”

“Robbie took my words so seriously that in one lighthearted incident he walked in and sat next to me during a tête-à-tête I was holding with the prime minister of Burkina Faso. I simply told my Burkinabe counterpart not to mind him. Later on after Robbie had settled in his hotel room, he asked the other group members in Afrikaans, ‘Wanneer gaan ons dorp toe?’ He had not realized the hotel was right in the center of town. You see, Windhoek is a cosmopolitan city,” reminisced Geingob as he fondly reflected on the life and times of Robbie.

With the passing of Robbie, Geingob said Namibian football has not only lost a mascot but also an ardent, loyal and patriotic supporter of the people’s game – but not only the beautiful game, the entire Namibian sports sector has lost a true patriot.

“It is surprising to hear that many compatriots are suggesting he gets a state funeral. I think that the best send-off Robbie can receive will be a football match in his honour, where all Namibians can fill the stadium to capacity, to give this son of the soil and number one sports mascot a fitting farewell. To his true family, they have lost a son, brother and an uncle. Human words fail to truly express the pain of mourning. Therefore, in times such as these, we turn to the words of our Creator. Isaiah 57:1-2, which reads as follows: ‘The righteous perish, and no one takes it to heart; the devout are taken away, and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil. Those who walk uprightly enter into peace; they find rest as they lie in death.’ Robbie walked uprightly for Namibian sport and the Namibian nation as a whole. May he find rest as he lies in death, and may his soul rest in eternal peace.”

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