Peter Ndlovu bares his soul

HARARE - Former Zimbabwe captain Peter Ndlovu says he could have led the Warriors to the World Cup if he had accepted God earlier in his life.

As Warriors captain, Ndlovu led the team to qualify for two Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals in 2004 and 2006.

Under the guidance of the speed merchant, Zimbabwe narrowly missed on qualifying for the 2006 World Cup in Germany when they finished third in Group Four only three points behind pool winners Angola.

Ndlovu, who has given tabloid headline writers plenty of fodder with his off-field antics, feels he could have been a better Warriors captain if he had accepted the Almighty sooner in his career.

The former Coventry and Birmingham winger bared his soul on Robert Marawa’s show on Metro FM in South Africa on Friday night.

Ndlovu decided to turn to Christ after he was involved in a tragic accident that killed his elder brother Adam and a female companion, Nomcebo Tshili near Victoria Falls in December 2012.

“If I had known God in my career, I would have been a better Peter Ndlovu and with Zimbabwe being led by a God fearing captain we could have played up to the World Cup,” said Ndlovu.

The horror crash left Ndlovu with two fractured legs but the Warriors legend has fully recovered from the injury and he is now the team manager of South African Absa Premiership champions Mamelodi Sundowns.

During the radio interview, Ndlovu, who is the highest capped Zimbabwean with 100 caps and 38 goals, went down memory lane to talk about his days when he was signed by English club Coventry when he was only 16 years old.

The teenage Ndlovu scored the winner against Arsenal at Highbury on his Coventry debut in August 1991 to set the tone for the rest of his career with the Sky Blues.

“To me that was the beginning; it was the emergence of Peter Nldovu when I scored that goal against Arsenal,” Ndlovu recalled.

“When Coventry signed me, John Sillett said we are signing a gem and they threw me into the first team straight away.

“To me it was just playing football and I grabbed my opportunity with both hands.”

After he scored that goal a number of clubs including Arsenal came knocking on Coventry’s door to inquire about the teenage sensation but the Sky Blues refused to budge and offered Ndlovu an improved contract.

“At Coventry I had a good manager in Bobby Gould. He was like a father to me and he said to me, ‘there we go a lot of teams want you,’ but I said ‘I belong to Coventry’,” said Ndlovu.

“I have just signed a contract here and I don’t want to go anywhere. To me I didn’t see a point for me going away when I had just arrived and scored a goal at the club.

“That was only the beginning of my career. As time went on there were plenty of other offers but I stuck with Coventry because they gave me my first professional contract.”

Ndlovu revealed the details of his first professional deal he signed with the Sky Blues.

“I was only concerned with playing at that time and I can tell you my first pay at Coventry,” he said.

“My first salary at Coventry was £800 per week but after two weeks they called me into the office and say they were going to change my contract because sum other clubs were increase their interest in me.

“After that they improved my contract immensely within two weeks of me scoring that winner at Highbury.

“I can tell you that they improved my salary by more than 10 times. When you play well you deserve to get that kind of money.”

Ndlovu went on to make 197 appearances for the Sky Blues in the English Premiership scoring 39 goals between 1991 and 1997.

He then moved to Birmingham where he cloaked up 109 appearances and 23 goals in five years.

In England, Ndlovu also played for Sheffield United and Huddersfield Town before coming back to South Africa in 2004 to join Abafana be Style.

The Zimbabwean has the record of the African with highest number of years playing top flight football in England after he spent 13 years in that country.

Comments (16)

New up coming self centred players can learn a thing or from Peter Ndlovu. The man put his heart and soul into playing for his country. Despite a big lucrative career in the English premier league, he still found time to come play for his country for next to nothing, at times risking career ending injury. Such dedication, such joy to watch. Yep, that was the dream team.

taps - 1 June 2014

He remains the best in Zimbabwe an unmatched legend so far. Ndlovu is a success story, a prolific son of this soil. He is known for his drilling goals, pin point passes, great speed, intelligent moves. Sure what a talent and what a dedication! We really miss such players today in Zim.

Regalia - 1 June 2014

Peter is a legend .he will forever remain in our minds evennthough his playing days are over

ranganai chikande - 1 June 2014

I have seen players come and go....I wonder if I will ever see one like Peter Ndhlovu...Its never too late to be a Christian.You have made the wisest of all choices.

K Zvapano - 1 June 2014

Peter , you can still do that now with the warriors even as a coach , zifa boss etc, go do it we behind you.

chipazhamongo - 2 June 2014

Here was someone who was always ready for his country,someone who never lied to his nation that he was injured or suffering from stomach pains.Surprisingly the current bunch of warriors have the guts to boycott training for a differnce of $5 in allowances shame on you,now that madyiwa hameno mukaiwana mari yacho

zvarwadza - 2 June 2014

That one time Peter played in England on a Saturday, boarded the plane in the evening and travelled all night, arrived in Bulawayo at noon, played the COSAFA Castle cup final against Swaziland and scored the 2 goals that won the cup, just tells you what it means to be humble!!!! And yet he was a player far beyond any that ever played soccer in this country. The trouble is, hi is not SHONA. So all his exploits are downplayed in a disgusting way!!!! SHAME ON YOU ZIMBABWE. Those clowns you hyped so much about before the game yesterday have shown you their true colours. USELESS!!!!!

SHIBHOBHO - 2 June 2014

There are some people who are just too lazy to apply logical reasoning and be factual. Who has downplayed Peter's success story on tribal grounds? At times if you have nothing meaningful to contribute better just read intelligent comments from those who have them than to try and sow divisive spirit of yours. Peter is respected far much better in Harare than the rest of Matebeleland, ask him if you want to get an honest truth. That's why some people are still so backward because you are living in the tribalistic era, wake-up and smell the coffee.

Ernest Musengi - 2 June 2014

@Shibhobho; you are a disgrace to the nation. Noone in his right senses would downplay Peter. During the era of the dream team coached by the now late Reinhard Fabisch and in which Peter used to captain, Zimbabwe was put on the soccer map by the contribution of Peter and his brothers among others. We used to call the National Sports Stadium Gomba. No visiting team would come out of that place smiling. Also not to mention that Peter would at some occasions, personally fund the team's needs and Zifa know that. I remember him once saying, "I cannot stand the sight of my team mates not enjoying, when other rival teams are being spoiled by their countries.' When he won e.g. 'man-of-the-match' prize he would share with his team mates as he said it was all as a result of team work. Youngsters of today can take a leaf out of Peter's book. On the match against Tanzania yesterday, I lamented and said to my kids, if this had been Peter we would have been talking about a comfortable lead even before half-time. Peter will forever remain our hero. Each time we want to contribute, let's think nationally about our beautiful country and not regionally divisive.

tomasi ndofeni tohwi - 2 June 2014

can't believe they are people who are still leaving with the mind of tribalism in this new era , Shame on you foolish chibhobho not ''shi''

zishiri - 2 June 2014

I don't think Shibhobhobho is a Zimbabwean. He doesn't know who Peter is in Zimbabwe and his comments here tells the story. Peter, Nsukuzonke is a former warriors captain respected by everyone in Zimbabwe. Peter himself was so humble that he enamoured the heart of every Zimbabwean citizen! I have not seen an article about Zim soccer legents that doesn't talk about Peter, and during his heydays he also was on a lot of adverts! Shibhobho's comments are not objective at all and this guy only wanted to introduce a tribal story that doesnt sell here.

Shebba - 2 June 2014

panoti peter ndlovu ndopanoti bhora vakomana. will never produce one like him again. can have so many much more talented than him but they become big headed and off they fall the wagon...watamba bhora pa joza woita fake yokurwara kuti usatamba kunyika yako bt those south africans jump on first call yenyika dzavo....

goat - 3 June 2014

If its true that Peter turned to Christ, that's one of the best decisions to make in his life. Everybody deserves a second chance in life. I got mine. All the best to Peter. @Shibhobho, hau! You are losing it slowly and surely.

Friend of Peter - 5 June 2014

Please help me find videos CD'S for our dream team. I must think it was named the dream bcoz it was the best team ever in the history of soccer in Zimbabwe. Peter Ndlovu is a living legend. He is a great man in the soccer history of Zimbabwe. He in actual fact is supposed to be capped the president of soccer in Zimbabwe. People spoke about Chunga "YES" but if you ask Chunga he will tell you 'Ipai Peter sando dzake". He is a wonder boy. a darling to every soccer fan and to the nation at large.

P.Pikita - 18 October 2014

peter ndlovu is the best player who have played for vzimbabwe

vusumuzi - 9 December 2014

He is a legend

phinda mkhwananzi - 29 December 2014

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