Namibia:Legendary defender, Gebhardt hangs boots

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Legendary Namibian defender, Willem Gebhardt, bid farewell to his illustrious international career on Thursday, 16th May 2024, leaving a void in the hearts of fans and a lasting legacy in the annals of Namibian football. His retirement marks the end of an era for the Brave Warriors as the solid defender exits the national team after an impressive 105 caps over a span of 13 years.

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Collin Benjamin, the head coach of the Brave Warriors, expressed a profound sense of sadness at Gebhardt’s retirement, acknowledging the invaluable contributions the seasoned player made to the team and to Namibian football as a whole. Benjamin described Gebhardt’s departure as a ‘sad day for Namibian football’, highlighting the impact the defender had on the team both on and off the pitch.

Gebhardt’s career is marked by his unwavering commitment, exceptional defensive prowess, and leadership qualities that set him apart as a standout player in the Namibian football scene. Known for his resilience, tenacity, and tactical acumen, Gebhardt earned the respect and admiration of fans, teammates, and opponents alike throughout his international career.

Having represented Namibia on the international stage for over a decade, Gebhardt leaves behind a rich legacy that will be cherished for years to come. His 105 caps stand as a testament to his dedication and passion for the game, showcasing his endurance and consistency at the highest level of competition.

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As Gebhardt takes his final bow from the national team, the Brave Warriors face the challenge of filling the void left by the departure of a stalwart defender. His absence will undoubtedly be felt, but his legacy will serve as inspiration for the next generation of Namibian footballers striving to make their mark on the pitch.

In bidding farewell to Willem Gebhardt, Namibian football honors a true warrior whose contributions have left an indelible imprint on the sport. As he embarks on a new chapter post-retirement, Gebhardt’s name will forever be etched in the history books as a symbol of excellence, dedication, and unwavering commitment to the beautiful game.

Brave Warriors head coach, Collin Benjamin, has described the retirement of Warriors solid defender from the national team as a sad day for Namibian football but acknowledged the retirement and praised Gebhardt for his dedication to the team and the discipline he displayed on and off the pitch.

“Thirteen (13) years of playing football on the national front is commendable, I want to thank him for putting his legs, knees, ankles, and his head on the block for Namibia as a hard tackling defender,” said Benjamin as quoted by Namibia FA social media pages.

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“We are extremely proud of him and wish him all the best in his future endeavors,” added Benjamin.Gebhardt hung up his international boots on Thursday, 16 May 2024 after a long career spanning over 13 years, where he earned 105 caps.

“We are over- achievers and I’m extremely proud to be part of the special crop of players who have done so much for the Braves. My first call up was in July 2011, and the journey since than has been nothing short of amazing,” explained Gebhardt.

“I feel like now is the right time to make that call, I want to keep the body as healthy as possible. I sustained a hamstring before AFCON and that was most probably the first sign.”

Weighing on the retirement, Gebhardt explained that the thought has always been at the back of his head, and it was just a moment of when. “I have already communicated to a few of the players before and AFCON that this will probably be the last time they see me on national duty.”

Gebhardt will continue to play for 1st Division side, Baroka FC in South Africa.

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