By Staff Reporter
“Soccer only has three characteristics” enthuses Marcellino, the captain of a football team which competes in the bush league on the outskirts of Otjomuise. When The Patriot’s journalist asks him what he means he continues by saying” there is no other result. Either you win or you loose or you draw”.
Astounded by 11 year old wisdom honed on the dusty streets of Otjomuise, Marcellino’s team mate Timmy shouts in excitement “ you can bring even the Premier league, we are ready.
We can even play in a competition, even a 7-a-side”.
Meet the boys from football team, Playboyz United from ‘Sewende Laan’, Otjomuise. Founded by the visionary Marcellino who is also the captain, this team started playing football in a riverbed in their neighbourhood.
“It was last year when I started with the football team. I love football so I used to walk around my community looking for things to do.
There are lots of bushes in our area but there was a nice place which was more flat”, reveals Marcellino.
True to the natural leader that he is, Marcellino mobilised all the boys in his community and the cleaning and levelling project started.
“We came with the tools from our houses and started cleaning the riverbed. Some of our parents also helped to clean.”
After three days of psychical labour, everyone was summoned to bring 5 liters of water from their homes to water the “pitch”. On day four, it was all systems go for the boys from Playboyz United.
The team is made up of 14 boys aged between 8 and 14. With names as interesting as European football stars like Lionel, Ramos and Piquet; Namibian midfielder and retired captain of the Brave Warriors Stiga also has a namesake. And then there is also Benson ( Shilongo) and also Deon ( Hotto).
Playboyz has two vice-captains, just in case the first vice captain is absent, says Timmy who is the second vice captain.
Other team members include Kaza, Linton ( youngest team member at eight years old), Continuo, Cleophas, Elzano, Wana, Piquet, Pino, Ramos and Viyanda. In between looking after their football field, they manage to assist their families with household chores like washing dishes, cleaning the yard and they also fetch water.
In their community, communal taps are the norm and so are the toilets. “ We live a bit far from schools so we struggle with transport to school.”
They are pupils between grades two and eight at Acacia Primary School, Cimbebasia Primary and even at Jacob Marenga.
Most of the boys live with their grandmothers or only with their mothers and they pity their care-givers citing “economic hardship.”
Five of them live with grandparents, and another five live only with their mothers while only 2 of them live with both mother and father.
With limited connectivity to the grid, most homes in Sewende Laan have to make their own plan for heat and electricity.
Timmy laments the fact that they have neither solar or a generator like some of his peers have at home. Marcellino interrupts him “but we have daylight.”
And just like that the topic changes. “ I just went to get my report and I passed”, says Ramos. “Me too”, they all shout in unison.
As we conclude our interview, we ask about basic amenities. With what can only be described as the wisdom of Solomon, Linton seems puzzled as he says “we always hear the government doesn’t have money, but then you hear a million dollars disappeared. I think they just don’t want to give anything to poor people.”
Lionel concludes by saying “I appreciate the shelter. At least, we are better. “