Brave Warriors inspirational skipper Ronald “Stigga” Ketjiejere (RK) , urges fellow footballers to make wise investments if they are to have something to fall back on upon retirement.
The 28-year old midfield kingpin surprised friend and foe when he returned from a four rollercoaster stint with the University of Pretoria AMATUKS in the stinking rich South Africa Premiers Soccer League (PSL).
The Okakarara-born athlete is amongst very few footballers that managed to successfully combined football with their academic aspirations with a certain measure of success.
New Era Sport (NES) caught up with the well-spoken and calculated midfield anchorman as he relives his astonishing journey in the dog-eat-dog business of professional football.
NES: Could you please take us through your first season in the highly competitive South African Professional Soccer League?
RK: Football wise, it was quite easy because I was already exposed to the high level of training during my time with the national team, the Brave Warriors while the training sessions were basically the same as I was exposed to at my former club African Stars. Bobby Samaria is a good coach his tactical and technical awareness is up there with the very best.
NES: What were the main challenges you faced as a foreigner and how would you compare the PSL to the Namibian Premiership NPL?
RK: There is a massive gap in terms of preparation and approach, one needs to show strong character, work extra hard and remain focused. The South African topflight league is way well organized in terms of looking after the players’ welfare whilst monitoring their fitness levels such as recovery protocols.
NES: How do coaches and the technical staff prepare teams ahead of games?
RK: They have a preparatory system in place referred to as video session analyses where the whole group analyzes the opponents’ weakness and strength.
NES: When you joined your former club Amatuks, the club was doing fairly well and was considered am stable mid table side. What went wrong that the team was relegated with such a bunch of good players including internationals like yourself and the Ugandan captain Geoffrey Massa?.
RK: I think management blundered big time by changing and chopping coaches just as the team started to gel under new mentor Sammy Throughton. Sadly, his successor Shaun Bartlett started to throw his weight around benching senior players for no apparent reason and that approach backfired.
NES: The PSL is said to be the richest football league on the African continent but you turned down several offers after you parted ways with AMATUS saying that you would rather pursue a career in the law industry rather than working for PSL peanuts?
RK: I was completely misquoted, of course I did receive few offers from teams in the PSL but I was not prepared to settle for less money than what I earned at Tuks, whilst other possible suitors clubs invited me for trials. For heaven sake, I’ve been playing in the PSL for four seasons and was not a benchwarmer, so why should a regular starter and national team captain for that matter be required to go on trials. Seriously, I fell offended – hence my decision to come back home. I could have easily stayed in South Africa had I receive tempting offers that could entice me but that was not meant to be.