By Collin Matiza
Former Zimbabwe soccer players who are now based in the United Kingdom have come to the rescue of ex-Zimbabwe Saints hitman Richard “Gwesela” Ndlovu, who is currently under the weather in Bulawayo.
Ndlovu (51) recently sent an SOS to well-wishers to help him meet his day-to-day needs, which include food and medical bills, after being diagnosed with bone tuberculosis and abandoned by his wife in South Africa.
He is reported to be living in squalid conditions with his younger brother’s family in Bulawayo’s Nkulumane 12 suburb since returning from South Africa due to illness.
An aggressive striker during his heyday, Ndlovu was part of the trailblazing Zimbabwe Saints side that won the league championship in 1988, rubbing shoulders with the likes of former Warriors captain Ephraim Chawanda, Henry “Bully” McKop, John Sibanda, Misheck “Roadblock” Sibanda, Pernell McKop, Joseph Machingura, Meyer Erick, Stanley Mutasa, Melusi Nkiwane, George Ayibu, Chemmy Hunidzarira and Obey Sova.
Ndlovu has now hit financial hard times after returning home to Zimbabwe from South Africa and he recently appealed for people to help him out in paying his medical bills.
And after hearing his plight, a number of UK-based former Zimbabwean soccer players, who are led by ex-Black Aces skilful centreback Charles “Star” Black Kaseke, have pulled their resources together, raising some money which they will soon send to Ndlovu for his upkeep.
A source close to these players yesterday told The Herald from the UK that they have raised about $405 for Ndlovu and were in the process of sending it over to Zimbabwe.
Some of the UK-based former Zimbabwean football players and well-wishers who were involved in this fundraising exercise for Ndlovu are Kaseke, Anthony Sibanda, Haddon Mutanda, Chamu Musanhu, Memory Mucherahowa, Nyasha Kanogoiwa, Bekhi Mlotshwa, Obey Murefu, Lovejoy Mugadza, David Ndunduma, George Guyo, Nigel Mujuru, Thomas Thomik, Joe “Kode” Mugabe and Mike “Dutchman” Maringa.
In November last year, some of these players also helped in raising $1 070 for the legendary David “Yogi” Mandigora, who had his leg amputated. The money was handed to the 1980 Soccer Star of the Year by fellow Dynamos legend Makwinji Soma-Phiri.
And in the previous month, about 25 Zimbabwean football legends in the Diaspora under the banner Team Zimbabwe UK mobilised funds to assist the family of CAPS United and Zimbabwe international footballer Friday ‘‘Amayenge’’ Phiri, who succumbed to liver cancer.
Spearheaded by Joe ‘‘Kode’’ Mugabe and Memory Mucherahohwa, the former players raised $645, which was handed to Phiri’s widow in Harare by CAPS United legend Charles Sibanda.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe Saints chairman Columbus Makumbe indicated he was also in the process of mobilising some funds for his club’s former hitman Ndlovu.
“In fact, I’m going to get in touch with my fellow board member (at Saints), Martin Mabvira, and see how best we can help Richard Ndlovu, who undoubtedly was one of our most dedicated players when our team was among the football powerhouses in this country in the late 1980s.
“It’s so sad that he (Ndlovu) has reached this sad state of affairs, but I’m going to do my utmost best to help him out in this dire situation . . .We will give him all the necessary support,” Makumbe said. The Herald