Saturday 15 May 2021
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behind every successful man…

“ I met him at his girlfriends birthday party” laughs Brumelda Manetti, married to the much loved Brave Warriors coach Ricardo.  After dating for 15 years and 3 kids later, the couple finally tied the knot a year and two months ago.
Life at times takes us on the scenic route, the “not so straight forward route” and this describes the journey of these soulmates. Their story includes heartache, sacrifice, understanding and much cause for celebration.
But lets  sstart at the beginning – Brumelda and Ricardo met at his ex-girlfriend’s birthday party in Windhoek but no sparks flew at the time. It only happened a year later and this time, in Cape Town. At the time, Ricardo was playing soccer with Ajax Cape Town and Brumie (as her friends call her ) was studying to become a medical doctor. A bit home sick, Brumelda set aside her dislike for soccer players because “in Namibia we are so far apart from each other but once you find each other abroad, its like this person is Namibian so you hang out”.
Fifteen years later Ricardo and Brumelda eventually got married. In what could be described as a major feat, they achieved this without ever breaking up during the fifteen years. Describing herself as a free spirit, Brumelda shares that she had no intention to get married until she was thirty. “ I wanted to travel the world and also I was very disciplined so I first wanted to do everything that I could before I would get married. “
So what is it like being married to Ricardo Mannetti ?, we ask ? Laughingly she responds “Oh it’s a rollercoster, because the Ricardo that the public knows is not my Ricardo Mannetti. The public sees him as one dimensional but at home Ricardo is just a family man.  He honestly is my best friend, always been.” Decsribed as a very good father, Ricardo does everything with his 3 daughters aged 21, 6 and 2.
But as with all of us, this couple also experienced their fair share of pain. And this was when their baby boy passed on after living for only a month. “It was a horrible time, I think up to now I’ve dealt better with it then he has. He can’t even talk about it because the boy was a splitting image of his dad,  a little mini Ricardo Mannetti. He was born prematurely and was in hospital for 22 days. If we had this conversation in front of Ricardo, he will just walk out. Its been 5 years now ”
Changing the topic to happier themes, The Lounge asks about Ricardo’s travel schedule and how the family copes without him. Brumelda, who describes herself as a Damara woman who does things properly admits  that its not so easy. Herself employed in a demanding job responsible for a fully fledged theatre, Brumelda shares that she simply goes onto auto-pilot. From getting kids off to school in the morning, looking after ailing parents, to cooking at night, chores and shopping, “I simply get it done”.  In December last year, when loved ones enjoyed Christmas parties and quality family time, the Mannetti ladies had to do it alone as Ricardo was preparing for CHAN ( African Nations Championship ) in December and spent most of January away with the Brave Warriors in Morocco. But he more than makes up for it upon his return, according to Brumelda.
A deeply spiritual couple, Ricardo prepares for games by prayer and fasting. He understands that everything is really in God’s hands. When the team performs below expectation, Ricardo turns to music with his headphones on. The family knows to leave him alone until he is fine.
As we conclude the interview, Brumelda confides that she is eternally proud of her husband and claims to be his biggest fan.
A man of substance, God fearing, a man who places family above everything else – “that is my husband Ricardo Manetti.” Beaming with optimism, Brumelda concludes that the future is bright, notwithstanding the fact that Ricardo’s contract finishes in 2019. “ We will always manage somehow, I am excited and always say “ who would have said”.

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