RODNEY Wallace Doeseb will be remembered as one of the most reliable central defenders to be produced by Namibia.
The towering former national team defender made his introduction to local football with Robber Chanties, but it was with the northern giants Chief Santos that he enjoyed big successes.
The Otjimbingwe-born former star enjoyed a glittering career with Santos during a successful era which saw them winning every cup at stake between 1997 and 2005, including the prestigious league title.
Doeseb became one of the most valuable players in the star-studded Copper Town Boys team and quickly transformed into one of the best sweepers in the country.
Hence, it came as no surprise when the national team selectors came calling in 1999.
He won 37 national team caps, while on the domestic front he won the league, three consecutive NFA Cup competitions, the Castle Classic Cup and the MTC Cup.
"My love for football is an inborn thing, because my eldest brother, Ernst 'Banda' Doeseb, was a goalkeeper back in the days, and I always went to football games with him," Doeseb says.
"Gothardt Oupapa Richter, who married my sister, was also goalkeeper, and I went with him to the soccer field a lot as well. I started kicking around a soccer ball at the age of six and found the experience quite fascinating," he says.
Doeseb, who named Okahandja outfit Liverpool, Civics and Blue Waters as the most difficult teams he played against, left Santos for Walvis Bay outfit Eleven Arrows in 2005 before he finally quit playing a year later.
"Joining Santos was imminent after watching the way those guys in the orange, green and white tracksuits were laughing and making jokes, while beating my team, Robber Chanties, and most NPL teams home and away with ease. This was too much for me.
"Their libero, Puli Subeb, was playing with ease, dribbling the strikers and launching attacks from the back, and that was something I copied. The desire to play next to Subeb was something I dreamt about, and that's why I joined Santos," he says.The former skilful defender singled out the one-all draw against continental powerhouse Egypt in Windhoek and the 1999 Cosafa Cup preliminary round victory over South Africa's Bafana Bafana as his best matches in the Brave Warriors colours.
"My best time in football was undoubtedly with Chief Santos . . . My football success was also with Chief Santos," he says.
Doeseb is married to Silpa Doeses and is currently the principal of Ebenhaeser Primary School at Karibib.
He says although he now loves teaching he initially took up the career due to circumstances.
"I am enjoying teaching every single second of my life, and having been promoted to principal is a clear indication of how much effort I put into my work. I love working with children and to dispatch knowledge to the young ones.
"Being a school principal is a big responsibility," he says.
He says schools are facing huge challenges due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
"It is a very big challenge to maintain the protocols set up by the Ministry of Health and Social Services due to limited resources, but the biggest challenge we are facing is social distancing - especially during break time.
"I will disappoint anyone and anything just to take care of my family," Doeseb says.
He is the father of four children after his son died in 2016.
Doeseb says he is also a keen part-time farmer at the Dubuses area in the Erongo region.
He says his biggest football influences were Bonny Kruger, Elifas Sabatta, the late Simon Hoeseb and the late Bizzo Kaninab at Robbers, "and the brilliant Max 'Soda 5' Johnson at Santos".
Doeseb is currently involved with the Karibib Football Club and youth structures in the Erongo region.
He is also the chairperson of the Erongo School Sport Region.
His advice to young players is: "Study, study and study. Nothing is better than education - even after playing professional football you will need an education. A football career is very short and you can't rule out a career-ending injury either. You must secure your life after football."