Petrus Shitembi: the flair of Rundu
by Francis Chanda
Progressing through all junior levels and now playing in the senior national team in a space of four years, is what this young promising soccer player has achieved. Rundu Chiefs’ highly rated attacking midfielder Petrus Shitembi has, over the last few years, proved that he has the potential of becoming Namibia’s top soccer player after showing some good performances with his club and the national team.The 19-year old is regarded as the best player in the current Under 20 national team which has remained unbeaten at home for four years.
His achievements this year include winning the Metropolitan Youth Cup with the under 20 in South Africa early this year and the Youth Tournament held in Germany as well as progressing to the senior team.He was part of the under 20 team that reached the COSAFA Cup final but lost to South Africa last year. He also captained the under 20 team in the final of the FESA international tournament held in Angola in August this year. “Playing soccer has always been my passion, but I never thought I’ll get as far as playing for the national team,” he said.“I spent most of my childhood years in Rundu were my soccer career began during my high school days. I attended High school at Romanus Kamunoko, but I didn’t achieve much with my high school soccer team.
“I began to play regularly in the starting lineup for my club Rundu Chiefs at a young age of 16 years old and it was not long before I was discovered and called up to train with the Under 17 national team,” said the confident Rundu Chiefs midfielder during an interview with The Villager.He made his debut for the under 17 national team as a 16 year old during the Four Nations Tournament in Walvis Bay in 2008.Since then, he has progressed through all junior levels and played two games for the senior national team this year.“He has the potential to play for big teams in the NPL or even ply his trade outside Namibia and his technical ability and tactics are amazing,” said Jakes Amaning, who is the current Under 20 national team managers.
When asked what has been his most memorable moment as a national soccer team player, he said he has a lot because he has been playing for four years with the national team.“I’ve represented Namibia in international games at all junior levels and I’m now part of the senior team, which is amazing for a young player like me who is only 19 years old. My debut game for the senior national team against Malawi in an AFCON qualifier in March this year is one game I will never forget, I played well in that game and we won the game.’’“Captaining the Under 20 national team during the final match of the FESA International Tournament in Angola as well as winning the youth tournament which was held in Germany this year have also been outstanding moments for me,” he said.
Shitembi is not only a good soccer player, but he is also a second year student at the University of Namibia studying towards his BA degree in Library Science.”I’ve realised that most soccer players give up their education and focus more on their soccer careers but I think one needs to plan for their future because I will not play soccer when am 50 years old.“It’s not easy playing professional soccer and studying. You need to be really committed and hard working. There are times when I feel like giving up my soccer career and concentrate on my education, but my passion for the sport and my achievements as a soccer player motivates me to continue playing even if soccer doesn’t pay much in Namibia,” he said. Jakes Amaning, the Under 20 national team manager said he is very impressed with what Shitembi has achieved.“He has proved to every youth out there that it is possible to study and actively take part in sports at a national level,” he said.
He is the most promising player in the development team and if given the right guidance and exposure, he can become one of the best players in Namibia, “said Amaning during an interview with The Villager.