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Former professional star runs football academy

Former Brave Warriors winger Rudolf Bester is one of very few Namibian players who can claim to be living their dream.

This after Bester enjoyed a glittering football career which included an overseas stint in Serbia, as well as in the lucrative South African Castle Premier League with Soweto giants Orlando Pirates.

“My football journey started back home at Otjiwarongo during my school hostel years at Spes Bona Primary School in 1992. We had a team by the name of Black Africa and I played both as striker and sweeper because our under-10 school team coach always used me at the back.

“I had a very strong kick and had to take all the goal kicks. There were other teams like Chief Santos, Civics and Pepsi African Stars. It was war when we played Stars and most of the time the games would finish in a fist fight,” Bester says.

After leaving the hostel, he formed a team with neighbourhood friends at Otjiwarongo which they named the Bazooka Boys.

They gave eachother nicknames from the famous 1996 African Cup of Nations winning Bafana Bafana team, and the 16-year-old Bester was dubbed ‘Shoes’ after the Kaizer Chiefs late midfield maestro, John ‘Shoes’ Moshoeu.

He joined second division side Golden Fire in 2002 but after only two seasons, he was advised to join a premier league.

Former Brave Warriors top scorer Rudolf Bester (back, left) is now a proud owner of the RB Academy. He is also coaching at the Atlantis Play Time Academy. Photo: contributed.

He wanted to play for Chief Santos but opted to stay with his uncle Cornelius #Hagu Geiseb, who worked for Unitrans Africa Namibia at the time, and started training with Namib Woestyn, despite his uncle wanting him to play for Blue Waters.

His coach at Woestyn, Tuban Benson, tried to link him up with Blue Waters but the team’s chairman at the time, Hendrik Davids, said they had a lot of attacking midfielders already, and he should convert to a forward.

His coach at Woestyn then advised him to consider joining Arrows. The rest, as they say, is history.

“I went on to enjoy a great time with Arrows and it only took three matches before Blue Waters realised they made a mistake to turn me down, sending someone with N$5 000 to try to persuade me to leave Arrows and join them.

“I had already settled in at Arrows and all I wanted to do is to reward them for their faith in me. I made a promise to Arrows management that I would never leave them for any team in Namibia.”

Bester describes himself as a player who was always success driven.

“I was hard on myself during training, the same way I would give my all on match day. I would joke in the change room but all was forgotten once I stepped onto the pitch. I would not be happy if I didn’t score, even during training.

“I was very competitive and determined on the football pitch. I always gave it my all, no matter the level of the match I played. Even my teammates admired my hard work. I inspired a lot of players and some would join Arrows just to play with me,” he says.

He was named Eleven Arrows Player of the Season and the MTC Namibia Premier League Player of the Season during 2006/7.

The winger transferred to Serbian SuperLiga club FK Čukarički at the end of that season but returned to Arrows after the club were relegated to the Serbian First League after finishing in 12th place.

Bester was an FNB Cup winner with Arrows in 2009, thanks to a 3-1 thumping of Black Africa in an exciting final contest at the Khomasdal Stadium, during which he scored twice.

His red-hot form for Arrows didn’t go unnoticed when he was signed by Maritzburg United in 2009 at the recommendation of former Brave Warriors goalkeeper Ronny ‘The Magnet’ Kanalelo, who was assistant coach to Gordon Igesund at the KwaZulu-Natal outfit.

The league was rushed that year because the season was very short as South Africa finalised preparations for the historic Fifa World Cup in 2010.

Former Eleven Arrows star Rudolf Bester seen with his three children. Bester is currently assistant coach to Paulus Shipanga at Eleven Arrows. Photo: contributed

The Namibian star was the PSL’s 2009/10 goal of the season scorer and best goal of the season scorer for Maritzburg, which came during a pulsating Absa Premier League encounter against South African glamour boys Kaizer Chiefs at the FNB Stadium.

He netted 11 league goals in his second season, and Soweto giants Orlando Pirates asked for his signature. He joined them in 2011 and rewarded them with another 11 goals from the wing during a season that saw them win the treble – MTN Top Eight, Telkom Cup and the league.

Bester, who mostly played on the leftwing for Pirates, also relishes the times that he had to play as a twin striking partner for the legendary Benni McCarthy.

However, injuries started to hamper his progress at Pirates and he was loaned out to struggling Golden Arrows for the 2013/14 season, but not even his nine goals could save the Durban club from relegation.

He joined Free State Stars and fellow Namibian players Da Costa Angula and Hendrick Somaeb, and went on to make only eight appearances with no goal return as his hamstring injuries continued to hamper his career.

The live-wire winger made his official Brave Warriors debut against Malawi in the Cosafa Cup, scoring one goal during a 3-2 win in Windhoek in 2006.

He boasts a fantastic return of four goals in World Cup qualifiers, three goals in African Cup qualifiers, one goal in the Cosafa, while the remaining five came from friendly internationals – bringing his tally for the national team to an impressive 13 goals.

The father of three is still unmarried but promises to rectify this very soon. He runs his own football development company, RB Academy, where he has coached children at under-9, 11 and 13 levels since 2021.

He also coaches at the Atlantis Play Time Academy on Mondays and Wednesdays.

“It has always been a dream to own my own football academy to complete my childhood dream to plough back my experience to the Namibian youth.

“First I dreamt about playing in the NPL, the PSL and overseas. I have now ticked all those blocks with the launch of my own academy two years ago.”

Bester, who was a 100m sprinter at school, says he is more than happy with how his life has panned out .

“What more can I ask from the Lord? Football has gifted me a house and I don’t need to rent from other people.”

He still misses the cheering supporters at packed stadiums, as well as the adrenaline rush after scoring a goal, and advises young players to respect their coaches and teammates.

“The problem of today is mostly indiscipline. They would always have something to say when you advise them. Look at the example of Peter Shalulile and Deon Hotto, they are where they are today because of discipline and good behaviour.

“I always tell my players to do what the coach tells you but if you do otherwise, make sure that it works to the benefit of the team. Refrain from drug and alcohol abuse. There is time for everything, but substance abuse hampers progress.”