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Ricardo Giovanni Mannetti

Ricardo went through a notable career with Santos in ABSA Premiership (South African).
In fact Ricardo Mannetti, doesn't need introduction, being a person who known in Namibia, African continent and beyond.  This is not the first time sportfeedo.com talk about Ricardo, indeed we have already delved in earlier articles like The Woman Behind Mannetti.  Ricardo born in Windhoek on 24 April 1975 and grew up in Khomasdal area. Ricardo attended MH Greef Primary School in his native Khomasdal residential area and matriculated from Ellah Du Plessis High School.

Family Etymology

Like other people who blended out of mixed races same as former U.S.A President Barrack Obama, whose father is Kenyan national and Scottish mother, Ricardo too has his roots in Rome, Italy. In fact he entitled for dual Citizenship (for Italian descent, Italy has fairly lenient laws to apply for dual citizenship). However, Ricardo loves Africa and Namibia is a bona fide. His Grandfather Isaaskar Mannetti came to Namibia from Italy in the early days to help build the railways in Namibia where he met Ricardo’s grandmother and later Mannetti's generation of self-reliant and self-oriented community has started in Khomasdal.  Bucksy who currently married to Brummelda.  Ricardo has an 23 year-old daughter Caneesha, whom he adore and care very much.

Ricardo Mannetti reacts during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) during Group D match between South Africa and Namibia in Cairo, Egypt on 28 June 2019. (Photo by Khaled Desouki).
Profile Summary

Ricardo Giovanni Mannetti ''Bucksy'' is one of the most celebrated midfielders Namibia has ever produced. He played for Civics Football Club (1997), one of Namibia’s Premier League giants, and never changed the team like many other contemporary players doing. This steadfastness is truly reflects how robust Ricardo he is!  Ricardo played various teams in the ABSA Premiership (South African) such as Santos from ( 2000), loaned to Avendale Athletico (2001) and returned back to Santos and then Bush Bucks FC from (2005-2006).

Sport Career

At the tender age of 15 years Ricardo Mannetti, started playing organized football. During his stint with Civics FC he scored his best goal against the Windhoek-based Orlando Pirates after picking up the ball on the halfway line and dibbled three men in front of him before scoring. The match ended 4 - 0 in favour of Civics. Ricardo has a quality of his own of passing from short to long range. He can flick or spin the ball in his own arrogant style regarded as most sophisticated at that time, which make the opponents shatter and shiver on the pitch.

He is a real midfield Maestro. In 1998 at the CAF/African Cup of Nations in Bobo Dioulasso, Burkina Faso, Ricardo scored his first international goal for Namibia in the Group C mini-league match against Ivory Coast that ended 4-3 in favour of the Ivorians, after trailing 3-0 before half time. Ricardo added solidity to the midfield and Mannetti: Legendary ‘General’ in middle of the park has proved that true class never dies. His enthusiasm, intelligence and composure are always calming the engine room. He can destabilize opponents and cause them damage with his body swerves and unpredictability. In a nutshell, he is very cultured on the ball.


Ricardo gained his 50th international cap for the Warriors during the Cosafa Cup game against Swaziland in Windhoek, which ended in a 1-1 draw after regulation time, but Namibia went on to win 4-2 on penalties. Ricardo was in control of the midfield. To many critics, it was one of his best matches with the Brave Warriors. His performance was simply great, displayed ferocious tackling and excellent distribution and was always dangerous on the attack. He was voted Namibia’s “Junior Player of the Year” in 1995 and a “Player of the Match” in the Castle Premier League with his former South African - based club Santos.

Ricardo went through a lean spell with Santos and was eventually sidelined for close to two years - literally out of competitive soccer - before he joined the Cape Town based First Division team Avendale Athletico in December 2000, after being loaned by Santos for a year, because they have five foreigners in their squad, which makes it more difficult for Ricardo to play for them. He has one goal to his credit for Avendale Athletico. Ricardo fell out of favour with the Santos management only a year after an impressive run in the South African PSL. This was also compounded by another fall out with the NFA boss that decided to put a blanket ban of all players - including him - who were perceived more expensive to maintain regardless the experiences they have.

When Ted Dumitru took over as head coach of the Brave Warriors, he brought Ricardo back to the team to man the midfield as a playmaker from lock position he was used to play with the previous coaches. Ricardo dictates terms in his new position and the fans of the national team including the soccer pundits just love his style of play. Nothing was more pleasing for Ricardo than to go back to Santos. Ricardo was recalled to rejoin Santos at the beginning of the soccer season in August 2001. Ricardo was an undeniably football star in his native country’s national squad as well as in his South African clubs where he a stint with the like of Bush Bucks, Avondale Athletic and Santos.

He is currently the head coach of Civics, where he started his career. His prevalent influential person on his football career is Brian Isaacs, who coached Civics by then. His ambition was to go overseas and play in Spain or Italy but his wishes did not turnout the way he would have wanted to be. As fate has it, he retired from active football and ventured into other initiatives such as becoming a coach of Civics, the very team he started playing competitive soccer. Ricardo leads by example. He organized the first but memorable testimonial match in the history of soccer in Namibia to give appreciation to his fans.

Football Retirement

At the age of 16 he donned the Brave Warriors jersey and on the brink of the New Year – 2007, Ricardo ended his football career after one and a half decade of playing. This was indeed the most exciting and well-deserved bonus for thousands of Namibian football fanatics.

On 30 December 2006 Ricardo, officially called it quit with his football career, both for the national team and professionally , he made his decision at Independence Stadium. Dressed in bloody red outfit – just the right colour for the occasion that signified the festive season, one may say. Ricardo and his entourage that consisted mainly of the old guards of the 1998 Brave Warriors squad took to the pitch, as their names were beamed through a thunderous voice of a Namibian popular comedian, Neville Basson (Director of Ceremonies for the day). Ricardo’s name was the last to be announced. As he was entering the field of play, accompanied by his father and his daughter (in the picture above), he got a standing ovation from spectators. The occasion was phenomenal, the first of its kind in Namibian sport history.  The 1998 squad 'Old Clockies' played against what then the youth crop de la crème of the Brave Warriors under the tutelage of Brian Isaacs, standing in for coach Ben Bamfuchile who was on his annual vacation leave.

Ricardo's squad consisted of most players who he played with at the 1998 African Cup of Nation in Burkina Faso, playing against Bafana Bafana players who won the 1996 African Cup of Nations held in Mzanzi, South Africa, consisting of Doctor Khumalo, Phil Masinga, to name but a few. The Independence Stadium in Windhoek was packed to its capacity to watch the players of talents – football think tanks. The teams played to a seven-all draw - a goal galore to remember. Ricardo scored the third goal for his side. His goal could not have come at a better time. This particular entertaining game was a mesmerizing display with deft footwork, dexterity and excellently handling and ball control from both sides. Amazing talent in football!

A South African – born Ruben Cloete, who played with Ricardo at Santos FC in South Africa, was also around adding an international touch of solidarity with his former colleague. That was international proletarian’s gesture at its best, to say the least. Just to take you down memory lane. The former Brave Warriors squad dubbed the 1998 squad is the team that transformed the Brave Warriors from toddler to warrior. It was the same squad that was changed to what it became in 1998 by mentors such as Peter ‘Corporal’ Ueberjahn (Technical Director) and Rusten ‘Sukhile’ Mogane (coach) from the so-called whipping boys of African football to the team respected by the entire continent.

This team beat Bafana Bafana twice in a row in Windhoek in 1998 and 1999 with Ricardo controlling the engine room of the Warriors in both occasions. Again, Ricardo was in control in the middle of the park in Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso against the Elephants of Ivory Coast, Black Impalas of Angola and Bafana Bafana of South Africa. The most exciting and memorable encounter at the 1998 African Cup of Nations, Namibia’s maiden participation’ was the match between the Warriors and Elephants. The Ivorian raced into a three goal lead before Namibians hitting back with three goals to level matters after the second stanza through Elifas Shivute’s brace (46th and 78th minutes) with Ricardo’s audacious point-blank goal in the 73rd minute at the goalmouth of the Ivorians.

This was his first international goal for the Land of the Brave (as Namibia is affectionately known). However, due to inexperience and lack of inexperience and lack of concentration the Ivorians snatched a late winner to make it 4-3 on the electronic scoreboard. By then, Namibia had only three international players in the name of Shivute playing his trade in Scotland with Motherwell Football Club, Ronnie Kanalelo (Mamelodi Sundowns, South Africa), as compared to other participating countries who had abundance of professional players.

The Warriors made a name for themselves and were nicknamed ‘the Architects of the Great Comebacks’ by a Canal France International (CFI) sports journalist. Others were literally thinking ‘GOD was a Namibian’. Another journalist described the game as “one of the most exciting matches in the 41 years history of the tournament”. Back to the Independence Stadium, at Ricardo’s testimonial match, one of his fans enthused: “Ricardo is good a footballer to retire at his age. He is still an asset for the Brave Warriors”.

The proceeds from this match went to some identified charity organizations in Katutura and Khomasdal, through the initiative of Ricardo, the philanthropist.

Coaching

He started coaching almost as soon as he hung up his boots, first at club level in Windhoek, then with Namibia's under-20 juniors and the national team. The 44-year-old is among the younger cropped coaches on the continent. Ricardo was entrusted as a manager of Civics FC, his home club from (2008-2010), became a coach for Black Africa FC from (2010-2011) and Namibia U20 Team (2012 - 2013) and then subsequently promoted as a head coach for the senior national team Brave Warriors on 11 June 2013 until the day his contract ended on 30 July 2019.
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