Ex-star condemns shift of culture at Highlanders
IT is often said that a name carries information about a person and the meaning carried by that name tends to shape the character of that individual. But is it everyday that a person lives up to the intended meaning of the name?
Well, food for thought. Ephraim Kidman Moloi is one such player who had a name that set tongues wagging in his suburb and football scene. Kidman, people wondered!
Because of his name, adults and age mates alike used to poke fun at him with some saying he behaved like a kid while others assumed Kidman was a nickname. But they had to believe when he told them that it was his second name. When he joined the Highlanders Under-12 team, his name gained popularity and became more prominent when he broke into Highlanders’ first team. But he never lived up to his second name.
His drafting into Highlanders’ first team was eye-catching, something of a divided opinion! Prior to his selection into the first team his coaches Silas Ndlovu and Boet Van Ays, a player-coach, had a misunderstanding which led to a harsh exchange of words. Ndlovu saw a potential in Moloi’s displays but Van Ays believed the lad needed to improve in some areas.
“The two exchanged harsh words, resultantly Van Ays walked off the field of play and left for good and Ndlovu stuck to his decision and drafted me into the first team,” he says.
His good footwork and confidence helped him charm his way into a section of hard to please Highlanders supporters’ hearts that were of the firm belief that due to his “kidman stature” he could not fit into the shoes of a dependable defender Lawrence Phiri. Not only that, on the match day at Barbourfields Stadium a section of the so-called passionate fans called the coach to the fence to air their concerns.
He explained: “My debut match was a derby against Mashonaland United FC in 1973 (later changed to Zimbabwe Saints). I was tasked to mark Zimbabwe Saints prolific striker Cheetah Antonio, as such many of our supporters believed he would outclass me and I would cost the team. Luckily I managed to contain Cheetah and that gave me confidence and I managed to match him toe to toe,” he says.
He added: “After the match I was overwhelmed. The supporters lifted me up and ran around the pitch with me.”
Kidman stamped his authority in the heart of the defence and he became a regular member of the first team.
A memorable match that is still etched on his mind is when “We played Rio Tinto FC in the semi-final of Castle Cup and drubbed them 4-1. What makes it special to me is that after that encounter I became a regular scorer.”
But a match that he does not want to remember was when his side was trounced by Zimbabwe Saints in 1976 in Chibuku Cup final at Rufaro stadium.
“What hurt most of us was that we had beaten them in the league. And we went to that match with tails up and that complacency affected and we lost in the Chibuku final,” he recounts.
Some of the players that made the black and white army tick were Lawrence Phiri on the right back, left back Peter Zimuto and Zenzo Dabengwa on the centre back.
Ephraim Kidman Moloi and wife Mable