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Former pacy winger now soft-drinks sales representative

Former Orlando Pirates and Civics rampant winger Frans de Muinda is one of the few success stories of former defenders who were successfully converted into exceptional wingers.

Born at Buitepos in the Gobabis district, the pacy winger came a very long way from playing for the Roman Catholic Primary School team at Gunichas, to turning out for the Lüderitz Junior Secondary School, where he matriculated.

In between, the young De Muinda played organised football for the Epako Secondary School team at Gobabis, where he also trained with local clubs like Maroon Brothers and Desert Rollers, alongside the likes of the exciting Crooks Nunuheb.

“Those were very tough years growing up in many different towns. Our nomadic life saw me also going to school in other smaller towns like Usakos. My late father was a police officer and my only brother and I had to be content with following wherever he was posted.

“But unlike many of my peers, I never played for the small teams at any of the towns where we went to stay with our father. I only played for the hostel team at Gobabis. You never knew where you were going to settle down before you were packing your bags again,” he says.

De Muinda says that it was during his youth at Lüderitzwhen people started to take serious note of his football talent.

He became one of the stars of Lüderitz Junior Secondary School and his defensive prowess was also recognised at regional level when he was roped into the //Kharas team that participated in The Namibian Newspaper Cup at Walvis Bay in 2006.

“My youth years with //Kharas regional football shaped the player I became. I can’t thank people like coach Gabriel Freyer enough for pushing me to my limit whenever he selected me for the //Kharas team or for the Namibia Schools Sport Union (NSSU) team.

“I became an intergral part of the NSSU team and both the national under-20 and under-23 teams because of his mentorship. He knew my situation back at home and he always just wanted the best for me, including facilitating my education,” De Muinda says.

It was also through the //Kharas regional team that he got spotted by Orlando Pirates after starring against them during a friendly match organised by Freyer, he says.

The former defender says the regional team ran Katutura Buccaneers ragged that day, during an exciting match that saw him hitting the back of the net twice from the back.

This convinced the Namibian Premier League outfit to sign him up. De Muinda played for the darling team of Lüderitz Atlanta Bucks, who were campaigning in the Southern First Division at the time. But with a caring coach like Dominic Makola, one of the people responsible for his development, they were just too willing to let him go.

It so happened that he joined Pirates in 2000 after he matriculated and his integration into the star-studded Katutura giants was smooth-sailing.

Soon, he was rubbing shoulders with the likes of exciting footballers like Riaan Cloete, Klaas Blom and Ivan Namaseb.

The former Atlanta Bucks star, who was now converted to a winger by coach Brian Isaacs, left Pirates for Civics, who were enjoying a good vein of form during Helmuth Schernovsky’s reign.

“Civics were definitely one of the teams to beat in major cup competitions at the time. I won my first major silverware in the premier league with Civics in the form of the FNB Cup, thanks to a 4-3 penalty shootout win after drawing 2-2 against African Stars in 2006.

“Coach Seun Stuurman had an exciting group of players that year and we soon added our second trophy, the NFA Cup, but the cherry on top was winning the Namibia Premier League title to complete a hat-trick of cup successes in one season,” he recalls.

The former free-scoring winger also tasted NFA Cup glory with Pirates in 2003, before he added to the 2006 league success with Civics by also annexing his second league medal in dramatic style with the Katutura Buccaneers in 2008.

De Muinda named the 2012-2013 season-ending league clash between Civics and Tigers, which also turned out to be his final appearance in the premier league, during which he made a second half entry to score a brace as his most memorable match ever.

“There was so much at stake for Civics during that match. We were staring relegation right in the face and only a win could rescue our survival that day. Tigers had nothing to lose and they were applying themselves very well on the day.

“Our former chairman Helmuth Shernovsky, who relocated to Germany at the time, came back to support the team and there were so many former legends of the team as well. I was brought on in the final stages of the match and scored both goals to secure a memorable 2-0 win.”

The retired star won a gold medal with the NSSU under-19 team in Zambia, while his under-20 team journey took him to countries like Sweden, where he participated in the coveted Gothia Cup, and he was also an integral part of the Cosafa Under-20 Cup team.

De Muinda has fond memories with the under-23 squad, especially the two-legged Olympic qualifier against their South African counterparts that saw them drawing the first leg in Durban before going down to a solitary goal at the Sam Nujoma Stadium in the return leg.

The former footballer married Hyddy de Muinda in 2021 and the happy bond is blessed with two beautiful daughters. He has since vowed to give his two daughters the family life he did not enjoy, adding that growing up as an orphan was a very tough struggle.

De Muinda, who first worked as a quality controller for three years, has been a sales representative at Coca Cola for 11 years.

“We are all striving to give good quality service to our customers at this company. I supply our customers with fridges to keep our products and promotional goods like drinks, t-shirts etc. I am also responsible for writing off products that are returned by our customers.

“I am personally responsible for advertising and promoting our products to potential customers and even to convince the existing customers to buy more of our products. This is a very interesting job and I am enjoying every moment,” he says.

The former Pirates goal ace says although he enjoys every moment of his job, there are also challenging moments when he has to travel away from home to places like Usakos, Karibib, Otjimbingwe and Dubuses in the Erongo region.

De Muinda, who did long-jump at school and also played a little bit of basketball and tennis, says he is grateful for the comfortable life he is living at the moment, and he cannot thank a person like Joshua Losper from Springbok in Northern Cape, South Africa, enough for paying for his education.

He advises young players “to always look up to God and not to forget to acknowledge those people who have helped shape our lives in one or the other way”.