The untold story of Mboma

… Teacher speaks on how he discovered Olympian

By Michael Uugwanga at Shinyungwe, Rundu

A lot has been said about Olympic silver medalist Christine Mboma who continues to make headlines globally, however little has been said about her athletics foundation at primary school.

Mboma (18), who hails from Shinyungwe Constituency in the Kavango East region, started her primary education at Livuyu Primary School before she went to Korokoko Combined School also in Shinyungwe.

Despite having started her primary education at Livuyu, Mboma started her athletics career at Korokoko in 2013 in grade four under the watchful eye of her teacher Likoro John who is today a proud teacher and former coach of Mboma even though he is yet to receive credit for his contribution to Mboma’s rise to fame.

This week Confidente Sport journalist Michael Uugwanga visited Livuyu Primary School and Korokoko Combined School to unfold Mboma’s education background and her athletics journey.

Livuyu Primary School is more than 500 metres from Mboma’s house, while Korokoko is 4km from the house.

Principal of Livuyu, Anastasia Nashira said that the school is proud to be the first educational institution that Mboma had attended.

Nashira also gave a little background of Mboma’s early childhood in sport at the school even though her breakthrough into sport only started at Korokoko Combined School.

“During her time at Livuyu Junior Primary School she (Mboma) took her education seriously. She liked sport very much especially athletics and netball. During my time as principal she came to attend grade two parents’ meeting on 16 July 2020. That time I had not noticed her until one of the senior teachers Frans Mukuve showed me a picture of beautiful young girl wearing a jacket with the national flag.

“As the principal I then changed the discussion we had at the parents’ meeting by welcoming her with the respect she deserved. In the future perhaps Mboma will serve something at the school (sic),” said Nashira of Mboma on behalf of Livuyu Junior Primary School.

When Mboma was a learner at Livuyu Junior Primary School, retired principal Inocentia Maliro was heading the school before Nashira.

At Korokoko Combined School, Confidente Sport was warmly welcomed by the school’s principal Efraim Tjakula.

Speaking on behalf of the school, Tjakula said that the school is proud of having produced one of the world’s best female sprinters.

Mboma started as a long distance athlete, notably in the 1 500m and 800m before she took up the 400m and 200m.

“The school is very much proud of her achievement. She started running at the school for the U-13 girls’ age category.  One of the grade nines has a poster of Mboma. She has really made a big impact on many learners at the school following her achievements in athletics,” said Tjakula.

As far as her athletics journey is concerned, the person that deserves credit is John Likoro, a teacher at Korokoko Combined School who discovered Mboma’s potential.

Mboma herself has talked highly of Likoro.

“I got to know Mboma when I was still a student teacher at Korokoko Combined School in 2013 as it was the year she was transferred from Livuyu Junior Primary School. She exercised with me as a sport convener. I was also teaching her mathematics.

“In 2015 she was in U-14, that time she was running 800m and 1500m and other field items … 2016 is when she was fully equipped with fitness then she performed well at school level. The same year she was taken to zonal trials in Ndiyona (Kavango East region) where she performed well as she won then she went for the regional level at Rundu Sports Stadium and she once again performed well in 1 500m before she sustained injuries under her feet as she did not have spikes, that is why she could not perform in the 800m and could not qualify for the nationals,” said Likoro.

In 2017, Mboma went to further her education at Shinyungwe Combined School where her athletics really took off.

Another person that played a major role in Mboma’s rise to fame is Gilbert Masambo who coached both Mboma and Beatrice Masilingi before current coach Henk Botha took charge of the two young athletes.

Masambo who is still responsible for coaching young athletes in Rundu said that he is confident that there lots of Mbomas and Masilingis in both the Kavango East and Kavango West regions.

“I trained both Mboma and Masilingi. It feels good and I am proud to have coached them. All these little kids here want to be like Mboma and Masilingi,” said Masambo.

Sports officer in the Kavango East region, Erastus Someno said his office continues to work hard on the ground in identifying more talent.

Other top young athletes currently making waves in the two regions are Frankilde Mboma (sister to Christine), Meriam Nakanyala, Inocentia Ngunda, Alexander Sikerete and Edward Mukuve, just to mention a few.