In honour of a true Warrior

HARARE - Adam Ndlovu, who was killed in a tragic accident in the early hours of yesterday, will remain forever one of my favourite Zimbabwe national team players of all time, and I dare say many local football fans share my feelings.  

For a man who lived in the shadow of an extremely talented and dominating sibling like his young brother Peter, to become his own man and achieve his own success as Adam did, is no mean feat.

While Peter’s obvious talent makes him many people’s obvious choice for the greatest player ever to represent Zimbabwe, Adam was the more likeable of the Ndlovu football family dynasty; always playing with a permanent warm smile on his face and looking like he was having good fun out on the park.

It was all too easy to like Adam. He had all the attributes which made fans warm up to him and feel he was one of them – a decent, humble fella who was really approachable – a modern day true sporting hero.

And of course, he was no slouch as a player as well.

His application and dedication, besides his animated goal celebrations, was what primarily endeared him to fans. But he was also a commanding old-fashioned centre forward with a delicate touch, frightening power and a finishing prowess symbolised by his 34 goals in Warriors colours, four short of his brother Peter’s record tally of 38.

For a big man, he also had a surprising burst of pace which often unsettled defenders. One gets a feeling that with all these qualities – which European managers tend to look for these days – he definitely would have played on a bigger stage in Europe than the Swizz league had he belonged to a latter generation.

Adam had made his mark as a coach too. To guide a modest club like Chicken Inn to a third place finish only in his maiden season as a top flight head coach was a sign of great potential, which sadly, will never be fulfilled.  

I never really had personal contact with Adam both as a player and coach, regrettably, but the current crop of sports reporters speak highly of a humble, down-to-earth and media friendly coach who was always available for a chat, in victory or defeat.

I sat in the same row with Adam during the 2012 Soccer Stars selection function in Harare last month, and observing him engage in small talk and exchange pleasantries with his fellow coaches and journalists he knew well, Adam belied his status as an icon of Zimbabwean football.

But then, that is how Adam lived his life, a genuine role model and man of the people.

Rest In Peace, Legend. Till we meet again.

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