Ndlovu determined to make a difference while still alive
MANY a times foundations are established when a person has died to promote their good works, something United Kingdom-based former Black Mambas winger Dumisani “Zifa” Ndlovu wants to change.
Ndlovu is the brains behind the Dumisani Foundation, a charity organisation which seeks to make a difference in young people’s lives through education, sport and arts. Since it was launched in the country in 2015, Dumisani Foundation have held soccer tournaments for aspiring footballers from Gifford, Mtshabezi, Milton and Entumbane.
Last Tuesday saw the holding of the final tournament this year at Milton High School. Mtshabezi defeated Milton 5-4 on penalties after the match had ended 0-0 in normal time. Gifford, winners of the tournament in 2015 and 2016 took third spot in a round robin which involved Entumbane and Donkwe-Donkwe. Dlamini of Tsholotsho, who were meant to be part of the round robin to determine the third placed school, did not turn up.
In what had been meant to be first for the tournament, Mtshabezi girls were supposed to take on their Entumbane counterparts but the match did not The midfield department was made up of Barry Daka, Stanley Nyika, and Timony Mabaleka while the strike force department came complete with Josiah Nxumalo, Majuta Mpofu and Isaac Mafaro. The substitutes were Itai Chieza and Chatika Tembo. Moloi helped the squad to land the Castle Cup in 1974. One of the highlights of his career was when his side toured South Africa in 1975.
“I was part of the Highlanders squad that took part in friendlies against Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs in South Africa,” he said.
Little did he know that there were scouts who were looking for talent.
“After the invitational tour scouts came to Zimbabwe and talked to my agent Silas Ndlovu. I agreed to the terms and signed the papers. Sadly when I was about to leave for South Africa my parents refused citing political instability in that country. So I had to bitterly watch the opportunity slip through my hands,” he says.
Moloi was part of that Bosso squad that broke ranks with Rhodesia National Football League to form the South Zone Soccer League in 1976. Bosso arrived at that bitter decision after Rhodesia National Football League (RNFL) awarded DeMbare a walkover following incessant rains that left Barbourfields Stadium unplayable.
Following that decision Moloi did not immediately quit Bosso. He played a few games with the outfit. After a short stint he left the Highlanders army and joined Olympics FC. His flirtation with the side was short-lived; he then joined Zimbabwe Saints in 1977.
That Chauya Chikwata outfit had the likes of William Sibanda, Cheetah Antonio, Andrew Kadengu, Gibson Homela, Stephen Kwashi, Max Tshuma, Gibson Homela, Zebron Magorimbo, Isaac Banda, Ben Makadzange and Philmon Dangarembwa. The side was coached by Tendai Chieza. He found the side at the purple patch and helped it to land a double Cup.
“The team had quality players and we formed a formidable force as such we went on to win a league title and Castle Cup,” he said.
Kidman sparkled in Chauya Chikwata colours showing alertness, zest and hunger for success and that left the national team coaches with no choice but to involve him in the national team. As such he was part of the Rhodesia National Football team (RNF) from 1977 up to 1981.
As the time the PSL was not paying so players had to materialise since the Bulawayo school did not bring their team. In the end, Mtshabezi ended up playing a select side made up of wives of some of the sponsors of the event. Another exhibition match saw friends of Ndlovu who are based overseas take on locally-based old timers with a 2-0 victory for those domiciled in Zimbabwe.
Ndlovu expressed his gratefulness to headmasters of the schools which take part in the tournament for providing the structure for him to fulfil his wishes. Most of the headmasters were present last Tuesday. He is convinced that the tournament will grow even bigger next year as shown by the response this year.
“Usually, a foundation is established when someone has passed on but I decided that I want to make a difference while I am still alive. It seems every year we are gaining momentum, I believe there is strength in numbers,’’ said Ndlovu.
All the teams which participated in the tournament, even the ones which did not pitch up got playing uniforms sourced from the UK by Ndlovu. Trophies as well as medals given out on the day were donated by Ezimtech, a company owned by Nkosinathi Zvimba, a Zimbabwean based in the UK as well as from Souvlaki Restaurant and Bar, run by another local based in England, Nkosiyazi Maphenduka and his partner Elena Demetriou.
Guest of honour at the final tournament, acting be formally employed to make a living, as such Kidman secured a job with Rhodesia Iron Steel Company (RISCO) which later on changed to Ziscosteel.
“I got a job as a production clerk and rose through the ranks to be a processing manager a position I held until I retired. At the side they switched me to a left back position. I did not have any qualms about it because their centre backs were very good,” he recalls.
In his newest chapter with RISCO he won the Castle Cup. But he did not last long .
“When I was put in a 12-hour shift I could not cope with pressure and I had to quit soccer at the age of 27 in 1982,” he said.
In 1990 he did coaching badges and attained part B Germany coaching certificate. In 1991 he was offered a part-time job to coach his former club and helped it to be promoted into the PSL. The team found the going tough in the league. Seeing that the situation was rocky most of the players crossed the floor to Lancashire FC. As a result he had to throw in the towel.
Asked about how he feels about the team (Highlanders) that propelled him to stardom, he delivered a one-worder. “I’m disappointed .”
He continued: “Now there is a different culture at the once respected institution. During my playing days Highlanders used to have half of the players from the juniors unlike now. At the time our team used to buy one or two players . But now the prevailing trend is new players from other teams are hired but not all of them deliver. Most of them find it hard to learn the team’s culture and ideology.” He said they used to be co-ordination and continuity. “The entire senior team used to take time to watch or even train with the juniors and coaches used that opportunity to identify potential players. The strategy helped a lot in motivating the upcoming players and those who were good were assured of playing in the senior team but not now,” he says.
After he called it quits he developed a hip problem and has been in and out of the hospital. He says: “I now walk with the aid of crutches and I am yet to undergo a hip replacement procedure.”
He worships at Jehovah’s Witness and was baptised in 2014. He is married to Mable and the couple was blessed with three children — Tendai, Tinashe and Tanaka. Bulawayo deputy provincial educational director secondary and non-formal education Thabani Sibanda commended Dumisani Foundation for complementing Government efforts by having the tournament involving four provinces. He encouraged the organisers to cast the net wider next year by involving more schools.
“The importance of sport has a positive effect on the studies of the child. It builds character, tolerance, team work so it is important for us even at schools to promote sport. With our updated curriculum, physical education and sports have become compulsory subjects right from form one. As a ministry, we will always support all your endeavours to promote sport in our schools,’’ said Sibanda.
Ndlovu, a University of Zimbabwe trained UK-based English teacher learnt at Gifford as well as Mtshabezi and went on to teach at Entumbane for four years prior to heading off to UK in 2000.
While Ndlovu spends the bulk of the time in the UK, locally-based volunteers of the Foundation, Arthur Mpuli, Gibson Mpala and Juliet Magwali ensure that the tournament runs efficiently.
The massive turnout at this year’s tournament and the enthusiasm shown by the youngsters who took part should be enough inspiration for Ndlovu to continue with his charitable work in Zimbabwe. —
Dumisani Ndlovu (second from left) and Nkosiyazi Moyo (right) with captains of Milton High Tawanda Hamadziripi (left), Mtshabezi boys’ Tanaka Charuka (middle) and Mtshabezi girls’ Leesandra Ndlovu (second from right) at the end of the Dumisani Foundation soccer tournament at Milton High School last Tuesday Photograph supplied by Warren Pictures