… As country’s number one fan lies forgotten in hospital
By John Tuerijama
DESPITE Brave Warriors mascot, 50-year-old Robbie Savage, being gravely ill and languishing in a Katutura State Hospital ward for six weeks, he has expressed the hope that his favourite team will be able to win their match against Zimbabwe on Sunday.
Robbie, who for over two decades has been at the forefront of encouraging Namibians from all walks of life to back the national football team, is suffering from diabetic ketoacidosis, which is a potentially life-threatening complication of diabetes mellitus.
The signs and symptoms of the disease include vomiting, abdominal pain, deep gasping breathing, increased urination, weakness, confusion, and occasionally, loss of consciousness.
Despite his condition, Robbie has called on Brave Warriors coach, Ricardo Mannetti, to shrug off the recent disappoints at the Council of Southern African Football Associations (Cosafa) Castle Cup, where the team lost the Plate Final to South Africa, after being defeated by Lesotho in the quarterfinals.
He urged Mannetti and his charges to focus on this Sunday’s game against Zimbabwe, which is an African Championship of Nations (CHAN) 2018 qualifier.
Robbie was conspicuously absent from the stands in South Africa, during the Cosafa Castle Cup that concluded last Sunday, when Zimbabwe beat Zambia.
He would normally have been the first fan to board a sponsored bus from Namibia to South Africa for the tournament. Robbie complained about severe pains in his left shoulder, when Confidente paid him a visit in Katutura State Hospital’s Ward 6A recently. When told about Namibia’s performances in Rustenburg, South Africa during the Cosafa Castle Cup, he said it was a pity that he could not make the trip to support the team, due to his illness. “I could not help it; I just could not travel with them. My health status simply did not allow me,” said the frail football mascot.
His attention then turned to this Sunday, when he said, “Mannetti and I come a long way; he must beat Zimbabwe.”
While wearing a red football jersey, given to him by former Civics striker Costa Khaiseb, Robbie said Mannetti faces a daunting task, but that home advantage could certainly do the trick. Robbie, who now walks with great difficulty, also called on President Hage Geingob, with whom he travelled in 1998 to Burkina Faso for the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon), to pay him a visit.
“Please ask the president to pay me a visit, I want to go home, but have no accommodation; I think my friend, Geingob, could be a Good Samaritan,” Robbie pleaded.
In 1998, Robbie was among the few Brave Warriors supporters in Ouagodougou, waving the national flag in support of the team.
Commenting on the current status of the Namibia Premier League (NPL), which has been in limbo since September last year, when MTC withdrew as the sole sponsor, Robbie called on the premier league clubs to unite, and speak with one voice, in order to get the league up and running.
“The situation is so bad for me, because there is no football, and these nurses are forever taking their time, when it’s time for me to take my bath. It makes me so angry,” Robbie said.
Born in Windhoek, Robbie grew up in Khomasdal, and has three older sisters. He also had a brother, who has since passed on.
He beloved sister Rina Savage and his Aunty Luci, were at his bedside, when Confidente visited him.
They complained about the poor hygiene at the hospital and the treatment that Robbie is getting.
They also complained about the nurses not giving Robbie the physiotherapy needed, to enable him to start walking again.
Because of the pain, Robbie is not keen on trying to walk, and thus sleeps the whole day, which could cause other complications, such as bed sores. Rina said that though her brother is a popular personality within the football fraternity, many have turned their backs on him or do not know that he is in hospital.
They have called on the football community to keep Robbie in their prayers, and also urged the country’s soccer leadership to visit him, when they have time.
Apart from being the country’s number one national team supporter, Robbie has also supported a number of premier league clubs over the years, including Ramblers, Tigers, SKW and African Stars.
Last year, the jovial football fanatic walked away with the Best Supporter title at the MTC/NPL Awards, pocketing N$10 000 in the process, with which he opened a Nampost savings account. In 2000, Robbie was named the Supporter of the Season, at the Namibia Football Association (NFA) Awards. He was also crowned as the Supporter of the Season in 2007.
In 2009, Robbie was part of a selected group of friends, who were entertained during a N$30 000 night on the town by former Werder Bremen player, Razundara Tjikuzu.
It is not known when Savage will be discharged from hospital, but his family has urged the football fraternity to pray for his health and pay their mascot a visit at the Katutura State Hospital.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015