Former sprint star now has head in cloud 

Kenneth Goeieman (centre) after beating Kapenda Rukero (right) and Clinton Hauseb into second and third place respectively, to clinch the Boys u19 100m sprint at the Senior Secondary School Athletics meeting in Windhoek in the early Nineties. File photo

Former junior champion Kenneth ‘Goodnez’ Goeieman personifies the idiom ‘the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree’ after following in his father Abraham ‘Ou Abes’ So-Oabeb’s footsteps as a sprinter of note.

In fact, So-Oabeb set a record time of 10,05 (hand time) for the 100m sprint during his high school years at Petrus Ganeb Secondary School at Uis in 1977, that still stands today.

On the other hand, Goeieman’s personal best time of 10,48, clocked at the Botswana Athletics Championships in 2001, is pretty impressive, as is his best hand time of 9,95.

“Both times were set at the Botswana Athletics Championships where I was one of the internationally invited athletes from Namibia. That was back in 2001. What makes the result memorable for me is the fact that I finished second but still managed to record my personal best time to date.”

Goeieman, who says he has always been very quick off the blocks, recalls thinking he had won the race and even celebrated by running to his team and waving the national flag, only to be told that it was a photo finish between the Botswana champion and himself. They gave Goeieman second place with a time of 10,48 and his Botswana counterpart won the race in 10,46.

Born into a sporting family, his uncle Abraham Goeieman was a goal-poacher of note with Namibian football giants Black Africa. This explains why Goeieman also played football well, being called up for trials for the under-17 national team, although unsuccessful.

“I was born in Windhoek but my early childhood’s playground was at Gobabis, until I kicked off my kindergarten days. Then it was all about Windhoek, growing and maturing on the streets of Gemeente/Donkerhoek.

“Sprinting has been my thing since forever. I have always been the speed demon in the family. I have vivid memories of our farm holidays, where I would be the first one at the gate, ready to welcome visitors or chase after livestock. That was perhaps my cardio before I even knew what cardio was.”

He started with athletics at Bet-el Primary School from under-seven level until under-13, before he migrated to AI Steenkamp Primary School for Grade 7.

The Windhoek-born star says there weren’t

many achievements in primary school, only recalling making appearances

at the under-12 national championships.

He continued to Grade 8 at Dawid Bezuidenhout in Khomasdal until Grade 12.

“It was all about the short sprints and long jump. But eventually, I zoned in on the 100m and 200m dashes. I left some blazing trails on the track, especially during those heated competitions. My best time for the 100m is 10,48 and for the 200m it was 21,55,” he says.

During high school, he was the under-17 junior national champion for both the 100m and 200m after starting to focus seriously on athletics from about the age of 16.

“When I was 17, I had to run with the boys under-20 because there was no category for under-18s. I still managed to get silver

medals in both the 100m and 200m sprints. I also qualified for the Zone 6 SADC Meeting in Cape Town and the World Junior Championships in Chile.

“At the Zone 6 event, I managed to finish in fifth place but unfortunately I didn’t make it past the heats in the World Junior

Championships in Chile.

“I was again the under-19 champion for the 100m but received silver for the 200m. I qualified for the Zone 6 SADC Games and European Junior Athletics Tour. I only finished sixth at Zone 6 but the European Tour in Germany was hell,” he recalls with a laugh.

Former junior sprinting champion Kenneth ‘Goodnez’ Goeieman proudly poses with his medals and trophies he accumulated during his highly successful athletes career when he dominated the junior 100m and 200m sprints. Photo: Conrad Angula

The gifted runner, also played rugby and even made it to the schools first team but in his final year at school, he was again the national champion for the 100m and won silver for the 200m.

Goeieman, who says competing in Europe was tough and an eye-opening experience, joined the Sunshine Athletics Club after he finished Grade 12 in 2002.

“I joined the club because of the relationship I had with my coach Letu Hamhola. He was, if not until now, the best athletics coach there was in the country. He was my coach for about four years prior to joining the athletics club. He just knew how to push me to the limit.

“Coach Hamhola perfected my start. I always beat my opponents from the word go. Even at the Junior World Championships in Chile, I had the best reaction of all the participants. Unfortunately, you have to go past the winning line first in order to get the reward,” Goeieman enthuses.

“I want people to remember me as the athlete who gave it his all. I want them to remember the determination in my eyes as I crossed that finish line, the excitement I brought to the meetings and the relentless pursuit of excellence that drove me to push my limits.

“But more than anything, I want to be remembered for the sportsmanship I displayed. For the utmost respect I showed to my competitors and also for the inspiration I hopefully ignited in others to chase their own dreams, no matter how daunting the journey may seem.”

His excellence on the athletics track didn’t go unnoticed and there was an opportunity to go to Cuba on an athletics scholarship but he sustained an injury two days prior to going for trials and medical check-up.

He says he enjoyed the thrills of representing at the highest junior level.

“Well, stepping onto that track, wearing my country’s colours, knowing that I was carrying the hopes and dreams of so many back home, was both exhilarating and humbling. Every stride and moment was a testament to years of hard work, sacrifice and unwavering dedication,” he notes.

“My biggest regret would probably be not fully embracing the journey and savouring every moment along the way. Sometimes, in the pursuit of perfection and performance, I may have overlooked the smaller victories, the friendships forged and the lessons learned through both triumphs and setbacks.”

The retired star competed in countries like Chile, Germany, Jamaica, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana, where he had his best performances and set his personal best times in both sprints.

Former super junior athlete Kenneth Goeieman is the founder and managing director of NamCloud, a company which specialises in developing ICT business and cloud based solutions. Photo: Conrad Angula

Goeieman, who is not married and doesn’t have any children yet, is currently in a serious relationship. He is a self-employed information technology (IT) specialist who says there’s no such thing as a normal day for him.

He wakes up at around 08h00 and does the usual routine of taking a bath and having breakfast, then he checks his mail at home and his online support system, developed to support various businesses.

That is done in one of the bedrooms at his place which he converted into a workshop. Only after this does go to his office in town, where he does all his business consultations and meetings.

“I am the founder and managing partner of NamCloud, which specialises in developing information communication technology business and cloud based solutions. We develop business processing systems and also specialise in developing interactive training solutions for businesses and the public,” he explains.

“Our biggest challenges are centred around the dynamic nature of the fast-evolving technology industry and the demands of being self-employed. Staying updated with the latest advancements and trends in IT and artificial intelligence, while ensuring our services remain relevant and competitive is a constant challenge.”

Overall, considering the political landscape, available resources and support systems, reflecting on his achievements as an athlete fills him with a sense of satisfaction. Being acknowledged, at one time, as the fastest in Namibia, stands as a notable accomplishment and the privilege of having represented his country also fills him with immense pride.

Having admired Frank Fredericks, who also served as his mentor, Goeieman says “athletics is a one man sport and everything is on you”.

His advice to young athletes is to “embrace the process”.

“Success is not an overnight thing. It will take time and dedication. Athletics is not just about physicality, it also has a lot to do with your mindset and to bounce back from setbacks with resilience.”

Stay informed with The Namibian – your source for credible journalism. Get in-depth reporting and opinions for only N$85 a month. Invest in journalism, invest in democracy –
Subscribe Now!

Latest News