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Tribute to Hage Geingob, Namibia's First Footballer

The late Head of State left lasting memories across the Namibian sports community.
Limba Mupetami
Namibia’s sports fraternity bids adieu to Dr Hage Geingob’s infectious grin, his amiable wave, and his spirited dance moves.

The nation’s venerable Head of State, aged 82, passed away early yesterday morning at Lady Pohamba Hospital, where he had been receiving medical attention.

Geingob wasn’t merely a statesman, but also an ardent supporter of football, throwing his weight behind both the Brave Warriors of Namibia and Liverpool. His fervour for sports extended further to athletics, rugby and cricket, with his insights often shared through his X account.

His odyssey into sports commenced in his youth, representing Augustineum College in Okahandja before joining the ranks of Tsumbe’s Etosha Lions, known today as Chief Santos.

Dubbed “Danger Point” during his playing days, Geingob once humorously remarked on the imposing nature of his presence on the field, jesting about football boots fashioned from iron studs and how every player quaked at his tackles.

Despite his segue into politics due to the constraints of the apartheid era, his love for sports never diminished. He remained an avid supporter, gracing high-profile games and assuming roles such as patron of the Namibia Football Association and of the Rugby Union, as well as the Dr Hage Geingob Cup.

Geingob’s demise has deeply grieved football and sports enthusiasts worldwide. Fond recollections of encounters with him abound, with numerous sports federations and enthusiasts inundating their timelines with messages.

The current minister of sport, Agnes Tjongarero said they are in a sad situation, but that God will carry the nation through.

“It is difficult to lose a person of his calibre, especially when it comes to sports issues. You would always find him wherever there is sports activities.

“He always asked how we should improve sports. He wanted football to be professionalised. He sent that message to the Brave Warriors to encourage them while they were in Ivory Coast at the Africa Cup of Nations, yet he was very ill. It just shows us how he loved sports, he was in and out a sports person,” lamented Tjongarero.

Cricket Namibia expressed gratitude for Geingob’s unwavering commitment and belief that sports can unify and inspire.

“This was evident in his dedicated support to Cricket Namibia and the entire sports community in our nation. We remember and honour his legacy as a leader who understood the profound impact of sports on the well-being and unity of our people,” read a statement.

A statement from the Namibia Rugby Union read: “Geingob was an integral part of rugby in Namibia; we hosted the Dr. Hage Geingob Cup in 2022 in honour of His Excellency. Namibia Rugby has lost its patron, and we will continue to honour the memory of our president.”

LASTING MEMORIES

Former Brave Warriors coach Ricardo Mannetti echoes sentiments of loss, highlighting Geingob’s unparalleled dedication to attending matches and his playful yet encouraging demeanour, even in moments of friendly banter.

“He will leave a big void which will be difficult to fill when it comes to his involvement in football and other sports. He would go the extra mile to ensure that he attended matches.

“My most fond memory we shared was in 2015, a night before the Cosafa Cup final, when he called and politely threatened me that if I don’t win the title he would not grant me access back into the country. That will always stay with me.

“We had a good laugh after we won the trophy; he told me that I’m indeed a winner and a man of my word. Every time we met he would remind me of that.”

Football pundit Isack Hamata recalled the President’s unwavering support for the local game.

“My fondest memory of the president was during a football indaba that was held at the then Safari Hotel during the mid-1990s, when he was still prime minister.

“I was wearing a T-shirt with Zambian football icon Kalusha Bwalya on it. He interrupted our discussion during tea break and scolded me for not wearing something with a Namibian football personality on it.

“My response was that there was nothing about Namibian football icons that one could wear. There and then he ordered soccer bosses at the time to make sure that we created opportunities to celebrate our own football legends.

“The second encounter was when he was president-elect of the Republic. As he entered a particular restaurant, I and others that were in the restaurant stood up to make way for him. To my surprise, he called out my name, ‘Hamata come. Where are you running to? How is soccer going?’ I did not know he knew who I was.

“His love for sport, particularly football, is what I will fondly remember of him. His ability to straddle between social classes and age groups and still be the same Hage Geingob, devoid of all pomposity and aloofness. He could jive when it was time to jive and he was serious when he needed to be serious. A man of all seasons.

“I take away two thoughts from him – sine qua non and primus interpares,” shared Hamata.

BOXING FAN

Namibian boxing promoter Nestor Tobias reflects on Geingob’s selflessness and compassion, emphasizing his genuine concern for the well-being of others, even amidst the demands of his office.

“The president was a man of compassion and generosity, always ensuring that those around him were taken care of. Even when he was busy with the many duties of his office, he made time to reach out to me when I was in Johannesburg for boxing, checking in on my accommodation and food situation.

“He also regularly invited my boxers to State House, providing them with the support and encouragement they needed to succeed. It is truly a great loss for Namibia, Africa, and the entire world,’’ shared Tobias.

As Namibia mourns the loss of a remarkable leader and sports enthusiast, Geingob’s legacy lives on, remembered fondly by all whose lives he touched with his passion, generosity and unwavering support.

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Namibian Sun 2024-06-25

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Katima Mulilo: 9° | 26° Rundu: 11° | 26° Eenhana: 13° | 28° Oshakati: 12° | 28° Ruacana: 11° | 28° Tsumeb: 12° | 24° Otjiwarongo: 8° | 22° Omaruru: 11° | 24° Windhoek: 7° | 19° Gobabis: 7° | 20° Henties Bay: 16° | 32° Wind speed: 37km/h, Wind direction: E, Low tide: 11:35, High tide: 05:37, Low Tide: 00:11, High tide: 18:10 Swakopmund: 19° | 25° Wind speed: 40km/h, Wind direction: S, Low tide: 11:33, High tide: 05:35, Low Tide: 00:09, High tide: 18:08 Walvis Bay: 21° | 31° Wind speed: 36km/h, Wind direction: SE, Low tide: 11:33, High tide: 05:34, Low Tide: 00:09, High tide: 18:07 Rehoboth: 6° | 21° Mariental: 9° | 22° Keetmanshoop: 11° | 22° Aranos: 8° | 22° Lüderitz: 21° | 32° Ariamsvlei: 11° | 24° Oranjemund: 13° | 29° Luanda: 21° | 23° Gaborone: 10° | 22° Lubumbashi: 9° | 25° Mbabane: 10° | 18° Maseru: 4° | 17° Antananarivo: 11° | 20° Lilongwe: 14° | 24° Maputo: 16° | 24° Windhoek: 7° | 19° Cape Town: 12° | 18° Durban: 16° | 22° Johannesburg: 9° | 17° Dar es Salaam: 21° | 30° Lusaka: 12° | 23° Harare: 11° | 18° Currency: GBP to NAD 22.98 | EUR to NAD 19.42 | CNY to NAD 2.5 | USD to NAD 18.16 | DZD to NAD 0.13 | AOA to NAD 0.02 | BWP to NAD 1.3 | EGP to NAD 0.37 | KES to NAD 0.14 | NGN to NAD 0.01 | ZMW to NAD 0.7 | ZWL to NAD 0.04 | BRL to NAD 3.33 | RUB to NAD 0.21 | INR to NAD 0.22 | USD to DZD 134.05 | USD to AOA 853.63 | USD to BWP 13.53 | USD to EGP 48.33 | USD to KES 127.98 | USD to NGN 1479.51 | USD to ZAR 18.17 | USD to ZMW 25.65 | USD to ZWL 321 | Stock Exchange: JSE All Share Index Same 0 | Namibian Stock Exchange (NSX) Overall Index 1785.89 Up +0.14% | Casablanca Stock Exchange (CSE) MASI 13125.47 Down -0.12% | Egyptian Exchange (EGX) 30 Index 26902.4 Down -0.59% | Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) DCI 9281.23 Same 0 | NSX: MTC 7.75 SAME | Anirep 8.99 SAME | Capricorn Investment group 17.34 SAME | FirstRand Namibia Ltd 49 DOWN 0.50% | Letshego Holdings (Namibia) Ltd 4.1 UP 2.50% | Namibia Asset Management Ltd 0.7 SAME | Namibia Breweries Ltd 31.49 UP 0.03% | Nictus Holdings - Nam 2.22 SAME | Oryx Properties Ltd 12.1 UP 1.70% | Paratus Namibia Holdings 11.99 SAME | SBN Holdings 8.45 SAME | Trustco Group Holdings Ltd 0.48 SAME | B2Gold Corporation 47.34 DOWN 1.50% | Local Index closed 677.62 UP 0.12% | Overall Index closed 1534.6 DOWN 0.05% | Osino Resources Corp 19.47 DOWN 2.41% | Commodities: Gold US$ 2 324.32/OZ DOWN -0.0028 | Copper US$ 4.39/lb DOWN -0.0069 | Zinc US$ 2 874.40/T UP 0.73% | Brent Crude Oil US$ 85.78/BBP DOWN -0.0028 | Platinum US$ 985.71/OZ DOWN -0.0106 Sport results: Weather: Katima Mulilo: 9° | 26° Rundu: 11° | 26° Eenhana: 13° | 28° Oshakati: 12° | 28° Ruacana: 11° | 28° Tsumeb: 12° | 24° Otjiwarongo: 8° | 22° Omaruru: 11° | 24° Windhoek: 7° | 19° Gobabis: 7° | 20° Henties Bay: 16° | 32° Wind speed: 37km/h, Wind direction: E, Low tide: 11:35, High tide: 05:37, Low Tide: 00:11, High tide: 18:10 Swakopmund: 19° | 25° Wind speed: 40km/h, Wind direction: S, Low tide: 11:33, High tide: 05:35, Low Tide: 00:09, High tide: 18:08 Walvis Bay: 21° | 31° Wind speed: 36km/h, Wind direction: SE, Low tide: 11:33, High tide: 05:34, Low Tide: 00:09, High tide: 18:07 Rehoboth: 6° | 21° Mariental: 9° | 22° Keetmanshoop: 11° | 22° Aranos: 8° | 22° Lüderitz: 21° | 32° Ariamsvlei: 11° | 24° Oranjemund: 13° | 29° Luanda: 21° | 23° Gaborone: 10° | 22° Lubumbashi: 9° | 25° Mbabane: 10° | 18° Maseru: 4° | 17° Antananarivo: 11° | 20° Lilongwe: 14° | 24° Maputo: 16° | 24° Windhoek: 7° | 19° Cape Town: 12° | 18° Durban: 16° | 22° Johannesburg: 9° | 17° Dar es Salaam: 21° | 30° Lusaka: 12° | 23° Harare: 11° | 18° Economic Indicators: Currency: GBP to NAD 22.98 | EUR to NAD 19.42 | CNY to NAD 2.5 | USD to NAD 18.16 | DZD to NAD 0.13 | AOA to NAD 0.02 | BWP to NAD 1.3 | EGP to NAD 0.37 | KES to NAD 0.14 | NGN to NAD 0.01 | ZMW to NAD 0.7 | ZWL to NAD 0.04 | BRL to NAD 3.33 | RUB to NAD 0.21 | INR to NAD 0.22 | USD to DZD 134.05 | USD to AOA 853.63 | USD to BWP 13.53 | USD to EGP 48.33 | USD to KES 127.98 | USD to NGN 1479.51 | USD to ZAR 18.17 | USD to ZMW 25.65 | USD to ZWL 321 | Stock Exchange: JSE All Share Index Same 0 | Namibian Stock Exchange (NSX) Overall Index 1785.89 Up +0.14% | Casablanca Stock Exchange (CSE) MASI 13125.47 Down -0.12% | Egyptian Exchange (EGX) 30 Index 26902.4 Down -0.59% | Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) DCI 9281.23 Same 0 | NSX: MTC 7.75 SAME | Anirep 8.99 SAME | Capricorn Investment group 17.34 SAME | FirstRand Namibia Ltd 49 DOWN 0.50% | Letshego Holdings (Namibia) Ltd 4.1 UP 2.50% | Namibia Asset Management Ltd 0.7 SAME | Namibia Breweries Ltd 31.49 UP 0.03% | Nictus Holdings - Nam 2.22 SAME | Oryx Properties Ltd 12.1 UP 1.70% | Paratus Namibia Holdings 11.99 SAME | SBN Holdings 8.45 SAME | Trustco Group Holdings Ltd 0.48 SAME | B2Gold Corporation 47.34 DOWN 1.50% | Local Index closed 677.62 UP 0.12% | Overall Index closed 1534.6 DOWN 0.05% | Osino Resources Corp 19.47 DOWN 2.41% | Commodities: Gold US$ 2 324.32/OZ DOWN -0.0028 | Copper US$ 4.39/lb DOWN -0.0069 | Zinc US$ 2 874.40/T UP 0.73% | Brent Crude Oil US$ 85.78/BBP DOWN -0.0028 | Platinum US$ 985.71/OZ DOWN -0.0106