Ngodzo eyes return leg

HARARE - CAPS United midfielder Joel Ngodzo has a reputation that precedes him wherever he goes.

Ever since he burst onto the big scene as a teenage boy at Highlanders a decade ago, football fans have always viewed him as a bad boy.

At the weekend, Ngodzo missed Makepekepe’s African Champions League first leg match against Lioli FC of Lesotho in Maseru.

Over the years, the talented midfielder has always been on the wrong side but on Saturday it was not in any way his fault.

Ngodzo and Kudzai Nyamupfukudza’s dates of birth on their passports were different from the ones on their licences issued by the Confederation of African Football (Caf).

Makepekepe coach Lloyd Chitembwe had to change his starting XI by replacing Ngodzo with Cabby Kamhapa.

Nyamupfukudza was supposed to start on the bench leaving United with only five substitutes.

For Ngodzo, sitting in the terraces and watching his teammates play was a painful experience during a match he was supposed to start.

“Obviously, it’s painful not to play the game but it’s part of football. It was just a mistake,” Ngodzo told the Daily News.

“When I heard the news; it annoyed me very much because I had prepared well for this game.

“Since the start of our pre-season training, all my focus was on this game. Sitting in the stands watching my teammates play was painful, I just wished them well and prayed for a win.”

With the second leg set for the National Sports Stadium this Sunday, Makepekepe are hopeful the anomalies on both licences will be fixed during this week.

United battled out to a 0-0 draw with the Lesotho champions and now need an outright win in the second leg in order to progress to the final qualifying round.

“I’m just praying for the problem to be sorted out by this weekend,” Ngodzo said.

“I really want to play the second leg and help the team qualify for the next stage.

“We just need a win in the second leg and with this team it is very possible.”

He added: “In this tournament we have a good chance of shocking teams to reach the group stage. This team has been together for a very long time and we have played some good football.”

The past year has really brought something out of Ngodzo which has made him the player he is today.

Under the guidance of the strict Chitembwe, Ngodzo has regained focus on his career and he put in some wonderful displays as United clinched the 2016 title.

The midfielder, however, thinks some of the stories written about his private life are not fair.

“People say a lot of things about me concerning my discipline and most of it is not true,” he said.

“I always train with the team and there is never a day I have skipped a session. People just look for negative stories about me.”

During this off-season period, Ngodzo found his name in a media storm again.

Just like last Saturday, it was not his fault in any way.

Dynamos president Kenni Mubaiwa claimed Brett Amidu, who had dumped the Glamour Boys to sign for FC Platinum, was throwing away his career just like Ngodzo.

“I do not agree with that. Football is a very short career and Brett’s decision of joining FC Platinum is good in my own opinion,” Ngodzo said.

“There is no point in playing for a big team but you are not getting paid according to what you think you are worth.

“At Platinum, Brett will earn decent money which he can use to take care of his family.”

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