Elgeno Gamathammakes fantastic comeback
Coming from a nasty injury is not the easiest thing for an athlete, but 18-year-old rugby player Elgeno Gamatham is a testament of true self-determination.
The U-19 rugby team flyhalf is sitting with two scholarship offers from two different teams, although he says he has not made a decision yet.
One of the offers for the captain of the J.G Van der Wath Secondary School in Okahandja is from the Kudus Rugby Club in Walvis Bay, but he also has an enticing offer from the London Business School to study and play for their rugby team. However, just a year ago, Gamatham thought his playing career was over.
In what was already a gruelling match against the Grootfontein Secondary School, which eventually ended in a 20-29 defeat, Gamatham found himself the target of the opposition players.
“As I was the best player and captain on my team, most of the opposition’s players targetted me. I can’t remember much about what happened, I just know that it was a bad tackle which floored me,” explained Gamatham.
The tackle left him with a broken left knee. His knee-cap was left hanging, almost completely removed. “It was very painful, but I don’t remember much about the ordeal. All I remember was waking up in the Roman Catholic Hospital. The doctor told me that I would not play rugby again. It was very discouraging to hear, but I refused to accept it. I know it was just the doctor trying to keep his side clean, and prevent the same thing from happening to me,” he explained.
That was not the only thing which was difficult for the teenager. Over the course of six months of recovery, he could not play the sport he loved, but also had to study at home.
“It was a very challenging year for me. It took almost the entire year for me to recover. It was very difficult to not be able to play. All I want to do is play rugby. It is my passion as I’m not the best student, academically, but not that I am bad,” he continued.
His injury not only affected him, but his team as well. His influence was such that in his absence, the team suffered with confidence. The first match his team played and which he was able to attend since his injury was a lacklustre performance against the De Duine Secondary School in Walvis Bay. He remembers sitting on the bench on crutches, seeing how the opposition crowd’s support intimidated his team. That gave him the determination to continue his recovery.
His first game back was a lively match against St. George’s in mid-June this year. “I proved the doctor wrong when I got back onto the field. It was a moment of pure joy after not playing for so long,” Gamatham beamed.
Although he has not made a final decision on his career, he said Namibia is where his heart is, despite the attraction of playing and studying abroad, and he would thus love to play for Kudus as they play running rugby, which is what he prefers.
As for the future, the Grade 12 student has ambitions of playing in the national team within the next five years. “I will work hard to get there. I am also interested in working as a paramedic as a back-up plan”, he noted.