Mbappé has big dreams

28 August 2019 | Sports

A 13-year-old boy from Mpora village in Kavango West dreams of playing for the Namibian national football team.

Haushona Thomas, who is a grade 7 learner at Mpora Combined School, told Ewi lyaNooli that he will do everything he can to become a professional footballer.

Thomas's friends call him 'Mbappé' because they think his playing style resembles that of French footballer Kylian Mbappé, who is known for his speed, dribbling and goal-scoring skills.

“My friends and my coach call me Mbappé because I apparently remind them of the French footballer when I am on the field,” he said.

Prior to the interview this reporter watched Thomas participating in trials for an under-20 team to represent Ncamagoro constituency at the Kavango West Region Governor's Cup tournament scheduled for December.

The barefoot boy looked unstoppable and his opponents seemed to be chasing his shadow.

However, what prompted this reporter to engage Thomas was his reaction when coach, Lyvere Voito, substituted him in the dying minutes of the game.

An unhappy Thomas was about to cry when he had to watch the game from the bench.

When asked why he was so unhappy, Thomas said he wanted to score a goal or create a chance as his team was trailing by two goals to one.

“I am not tired and I wanted to score so that the game could end as a draw or we could win. I hate it when my team is behind with goals,” Thomas said.

Asked about his future plans, he said: “My dream is to play for the Brave Warriors, but my ultimate dream is to play for Barcelona.”

When asked what he thought of Thomas's ambition, coach Voito described Thomas as a phenomenal player who could achieve whatever he wished for.

“I believe that he can make his dreams come true because he is one of the most phenomenal players we have in this community. He is young and he can make it. Life is about dreaming and working hard to achieve it,” Voito said.

But he said a lack of opportunities and support for community football in Namibia could stand in the way of youngsters like Thomas realising their dreams.

He says young players in the rural areas play barefoot, and when they participate in regional tournaments they do not perform well enough for selection because they have to wear unfamiliar, borrowed shoes.

“As you could see, Thomas was great on the pitch and that is how he plays when he is barefooted. Give him soccer boots and you will see something else. He is not used to playing with shoes, which affects him negatively,” Voito said.

Voito called on politicians, business people and individuals in the various communities to invest in sport.

KENYA KAMBOWE

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