Adam Ndlovu dies at 42

Adam Ndlovu dies at 42
Published: 17 December 2012 (9944 Views)
FORMER Highlanders, FC Zurich and Warriors forward Adam Ndlovu has died.

He was 42.

Ndlovu who was now head coach at Castle Lager Premiership second runners-up Chicken Inn, died in the early hours of yesterday after a crash 20km out of Victoria Falls. His younger brother Peter Ndlovu who was driving the car and is also another former Zimbabwe international, sustained injuries on both legs, a deep cut on the forehead and four broken ribs.

A female passenger who was in the car, only identified as Ms Tshili died on the spot while Adam passed on at Victoria Falls Hospital.

Peter was transferred to Mater Dei Hospital in the city where his condition was described by his elder brother Marko Dube as not so scary.

In an interview last night, Marko said the two brothers were on their way to Victoria Falls for a boozers match.

Inspired by the exploits of his elder brother Madinda who was already a fully fledged international, Adam took to the sport in the mid 1980s. A stone’s throw from his Makokoba home, was a city council soccer pitch where his brothers and friends the late Benjamin Nkonjera played.

He was to make early warning shots at Lotshe Primary School before joining the Highlanders juniors under the tutelage of the legendary Ali Dube.

Adam moved to Mzilikazi High School where his talents           were appreciated and he became part of a school team that        made waves. He played with his younger brother Peter and Nkonjera.

Having started as an Under-14 at Highlanders, Adam won virtually all tournaments of his era competed for at national level which are the Chibuku Trophy (Under-14s), Castle Cup (Under-16s), Bonar Industries and the Manica Freight Under-18s trophy.

An impressive run in the Under-18s in 1988, saw him among a group of players who included Thulani Gumede, the late Thulani Nxumalo, Makwinji Soma-Phiri, Dampion Ngwenya, Gift Lunga (senior) and Musa Masango being promoted to the reserve team.

An exodus of players which had Mpumelelo Dzowa, Ndaba Ndlovu, Alexander Maseko, Madinda, Willard Kumalo, Tito Paketh, Rahman Gumbo, Boy Ndlovu and the late Mercedes Sibanda leaving for Harare, South Africa and Europe, left the coaches with no option but turn to the juniors.

Injuries to key players like Peter Nkomo and Nqobani Ncube left Highlanders staring at relegation under Barry Daka and Cosmas Zulu leading to the Highlanders executive engaging Roy Barreto who had won the championship with Zimbabwe Saints in 1988.

The former Zimbabwe Saints mentor introduced several young players among them Adam and by the end of 1989, most of his junior players were dominating Under-20 teams and the club survived the chop. Adam and leftback Gumede were among some of the most promising players in the squad with Soma-Phiri.

His year of reckoning was 1990 in which him and younger brother Peter led Highlanders to the club’s first league and cup double. His hattrick against Dynamos in the 4 November 1990 match as they won the Zifa Cup 3-1 catapulted him to cult-hero status which had in previous years been enjoyed by his elder brother Madinda, Sibanda and Kumalo.

He was among the Soccer Star of the Year finalists in 1990 and in 1992 in which he was the first runner-up to Wilfred Mugeyi as he continued to score for fun.

Impressive outings for both club and country saw Adam attract the attention of clubs in Europe as he was an integral cog of the famed Dream Team and in 1994 he moved to FC Kriens in Switzerland and was to switch to Delemont in 1997.

Adam’s career high at club level was a move to FC Zurich where he partnered Bafana Bafana legend Shaun Bartlett.

On his return in 2002, he briefly turned out for the Chronicle social soccer team partnering Clemence Marijeni and Eddie Munenekwa in attack.

Highlanders, his boyhood team soon got rights to his signature and registered him for the domestic league and he was an instant hit with Stewart Murisa guiding the club to its fourth consecutive league title.

That impressive run of scoring earned him a contract with Moroka Swallows in South Africa. He also turned out for Dynamos (South Africa) and Free State Stars.

He played in the 2004 Africa Cup of Nations finals.

On his retirement Adam ventured into business running a popular pub in Johannesburg and a courier company that ferried goods between South Africa and Zimbabwe.

He was employed as assistant coach at Chicken Inn early last year and took over from Philani Ncube at the end of the season in 2011.

Adam finished third to Dynamos and Highlanders this season.

Chicken Inn chairman Lifa Ncube described the coach’s death as a big blow.

Ncube said after finishing third this season hopes were high that the coach would even do better next season.

Adam’s brother Marko said funeral arrangements were yet to be finalised.

“We are still waiting for Madinda to arrive from Botswana and we will be consulting our sisters in the UK and family elders on the way forward.

Mourners are gathered at 14716 Imbabala Way in Selborne Park.

- Chronicle

Tags: Adam, Ndlovu,
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