The evergreen Pele still going strong

By Michael Uugwanga

WITH her nickname Pele deriving from arguably the world’s best footballer of all-time the great Brazilian icon Pele, Thomalina ‘Pele’ Adams is regarded as one of the country’s best female footballers of the current generation.

The 27-year-old winger for Tura Magic Ladies was born in Lüderitz in the //Kharas region and is one of the three longest serving members of the current Brave Gladiators squad, alongside Zenatha Coleman who plays professional football in Spain for Seville and Lydia Eixas who plays club football at local side Galz & Goals Football Club in the Namibia Football Association (NFA) Women’s Super League.

Adams, Coleman and Eixas are the only remaining members of the Brave Gladiators squad of 2010, with the three having played alongside retired female football icons such as former top female referee Queen Manga, FIFA top instructor Salome Iyambo and the current assistant coach of NamPol F.C, Novatha Paulus.

Adams made her Brave Gladiators debut against Angola that year in the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers and has never looked back.

“Football is a sport I play because I enjoy it even though at first I never knew that football would change my life. I started playing football at a very young age in my location with boys, later I ended up playing for the grade five, six and seven boys’ school teams. We used to tour Keetmanshoop and Bethanie to play against other schools.

“My all-time favourite footballer is Cristiano Ronaldo because of his commitment and he is also a role model to plenty footballers,” she said.

Adams is also one of the few Namibian female footballers to have tasted professional football, having played in Germany for Germania Hauenhorst in the 2011–12 Verbandsliga Westfalen season, before she joined another German side VfL Bochum in the 2013-14 Bundesliga season.

In 2016 Adams, together with Coleman, joined Gintra Universitetas in Lithuania.

“I still dream of playing abroad and anywhere outside the country. My best moments are the butterflies you get when singing the national anthem, because you know already that after the anthem work on the field of play has to start.

“Retirement is not in my plans as I plan to play until my body and legs say enough is enough, because nowadays age is nothing but a number.”

With the Total Women’s Africa Cup of Nations set to take place later this year, Adams is expected to lead the Brave Gladiators to the AFCON tournament that is set to be hosted in Morocco next year.

“We can qualify with the right help and preparations because I do believe that our team can achieve anything because we also have technically gifted players,” said Adams.