Brian Brendell was born on 7th of September 1980, at Rehoboth in the Hardap Region. As a young boy growing up in the dusty streets of the vastly populated mountainous southern town – Brian was hooked to the oval ball game (rugby).
Rugby being the traditional pastime in Rehoboth amongst the fun loving Baster community, the oval ball game would always enjoy preference over the beautiful game of football and young Brian was no exception to this tradition.
A late starter in the true sense of the word, Brian started playing football at the fairly advanced age of 17. Nonetheless, the multi talent athlete went on to excel way beyond expectations in football.
The athletically built hard running midfielder was without a shadow of doubt the catalyst in the Brave Warriors’ astonishing performance during their second appearance at the continental showpiece, the prestigious 2008 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Ghana.
New Era Sports caught up with the hard galloping free scoring midfielder as he relives his football journey, which was sadly abruptly abbreviated by a niggling knee injury while still at the pinnacle of his flourishing football career.
Carlos “CK” Kambaekwa
WINDHOEK – The busy town of Rehoboth has in the past produced phenomenal multi-talented athletes in both the rugby and football disciplines.
Those who comes to mind are; Desmond Snyders, John ‘Hare’ Carew, Floris Diergaardt, Raymond and Henrico Botes, Brian Greaves, Pudding Philander, Ronaldo Pedro, Alan De Koe, Jood Opperman, Heinrich ‘Sop-Sop’ De Waal, Attie Erasmus and many others.
A sizable chunk of the above mentioned athletes went onto excel in both rugby and football and it’s no wonder that retired Brave Warriors’ box-to-box midfielder Brian Brendell, would follow suit in the intervening years.
A late starter in the true sense of the word, Brian began his spotless sporting career playing rugby for the MK Gertze Secondary School in his native Rehoboth and was a noted scrumhalf.
In no time, Brian joined local football club Friends, campaigning in the national division one league and was to play an instrumental role in the team’s promotion to the country’s flagship football league, the Namibia Premiership (NPL) in only his debut season in competitive football in the 2001/2002 season.
His immense talent did not go unnoticed as talent scouts came knocking on the door for his signature. The much adored tireless midfielder could not resist the challenge and jumped ship to join forces with the revamped Khomasdal outfit Civics Football Club under the shrewd stewardship of the football crazy Austrian Helmuth Schaernowsky.
At the time, Civics have just won the coveted Namibia Premier League (NPL) title and with an eye on continental participation – the Civilians were in dire need of re-enforcing their playing personnel.
Brian’s teammate, burly Zimbabwean lethal goal poacher Wilbert Masembe also joined the Mighty Civilians – much to the chagrin of Friends’ faithful.
With Scharnowsly’s deep pockets calling the shots, the Civilians managed to assemble the cream de la cream of local footballers and the maroon as white strip outfit won their second league title hands down – making it a double by returning the compliment with victory in the NFA Cup, the equivalent of the English FA Cup.
Brian was to play a prominent role as the Civilians saw off Angolan side Premeiro De Agosto in the CAF Champions League preliminaries before bowing out Asec Mimosa in the decisive qualifier for the group stage.
Although the Mighty Civilians failed to negotiate their way past the preliminary rounds, Brian has done enough to attract attention from the national selectors.
He made his international debut for the national senior football team, the Brave Warriors’ 2-all draw against Botswana in the annual Regional COSAFA Cup at Windhoek’s Independence stadium in 2006.
Newly appointed Brave Warriors coach, the late Ben Bamfuschile, spearheaded Namibia’s march to their second appearance at Africa’s football showpiece, the biannual CAF Africa Cup of Nations.
The astute and technically sound Zambian, built his young team around the tireless “Rehoboth boytjie” and Brian repaid the faith installed in him by dishing out near faultless performances for the resurgent Warriors.
Sadly, Bamfuchile succumbed to illness and passed away before the team departed for the West African country, but Brian rewarded his call up with exceptional performances at Africa’s football showpiece.
The free scoring slippery midfielder scored a consolation goal in the Warriors’ opening match against old time campaigners Morocco.
Namibia lost 5-1 and were unfortunate to concede a late goal from former Chelsea midfielder Michael Essien in their second match against hosts nation Ghana at the packed to rafters Accra National Stadium in Accra.
Brian capped a great performance in the tourney when he registered his name on the score sheet again, netting the equaliser with a cheeky back heeled goal against Guinea in Sekudi, in their final match that saw both team eliminated from the tournament as the Guineans played without their suspended talisman Pascal Feindinou.
Though the Warriors failed to negotiate their way past the group stage, the gutsy Namibians earned praises for their courageous performance and drew applauds from the local crowd after stretching the star-studded Black Stars to the limit in their 2nd group match in the Ghanaian commercial capital, Accra.
Brian’s 29 caps for the Brave Warriors made him one of the most sought after products in domestic football and it came as no surprise when Pionierspark outfit Ramblers dangled a juicy carrot in his face, enticing him to cross the floor.
“Since I’ve won almost everything there was to be won in the domestic league, I needed a new challenge – hence my decision to join Ramblers,” reveals Brian.
However, his romance with the Tunschell Street Boys did not last long as he made a U-turn, retreating to the Civilians’ nest after just one season in the blue and white strip of Rammies.
The old adage that “home is always home”, Brian could not go against tradition. He sent shockwaves amongst the Civilians’ followers when he left the club to join ambitious hometown team Flamingoes as the ‘Oanob Birds’ embarked on a serious mission to gain promotion to the elite league.
His presence and command in the team’s engine room spearheaded the Rehobothers to promotion to the Premiership, but once again, he developed itchy feet only to resurface at former club Civics for his third spell with the Mighty Civilians.
Unfortunately, work commitments, worsened by a niggling knee injury obliged him to call it quits – bringing an end to an otherwise blossoming football career.
“I had no other choice but to retire prematurely from the game but I still cherish some great moments on the football field – notably my countless confrontations with Black Africa’ s hard tackling defender Hartman Toromba.
“Football was great and has taught me a lot about self-discipline and respect towards your teammates and opponents. One thing I must admit is that we would on many occasions find the going tough against Blue Waters at their fortress, Kuisebmond stadium.”