Ndlovu de­ter­mined to make a dif­fer­ence while still alive

Sunday News (Zimbabwe) - - Motoring/sport - Mehluli Sibanda Se­nior Sports Re­porter

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...

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