By Fungai Muderere
Highlanders are renowned for producing outstanding players through their vibrant junior policy, but this year the club has seen them discard the route which has rewarded them with countless silverware over the years.
Shockingly, the Bulawayo football giants have opted for an unappetising recruitment drive that will probably see them roping in a 37-year-old Mkhokheli “Mshoza” Dube.
As if that is not enough, the club is said to be pursuing the signature of a 35-year-old war horse Obadiah Tarumbwa.
That means the Bosso die-hards that were hoping to see a new Peter “Nsukuzonke” Ndlovu or Zenzo ‘‘Zemura” Moyo will probably be disappointed as they will have to do away with the old and the familiar faces in their strike-force.
This year marks 20 years since the ex-FC Platinum and Bulawayo City striker made his professional football debut in the domestic Premiership after breaking into the Highlanders’ first team in 1999 at a tender age of 17.
Dube’s career took him from Highlanders to the US where at his prime he featured for American Major League Soccer (MLS) side New England Revolution between 2008 and 2011 before returning to Africa to play in the South African Premiership with AmaZulu in South Africa in 2012.
In 2012, his wish to turn out for his boyhood club was turned down and after a short stint in South Africa, he returned home and joined Chicken Inn in 2013 and was laid off mid-season in 2015 when the Gamecocks won their maiden Premier Soccer League (PSL) title.
He did not lose hope, but went on to sign for Bulawayo City when the local authority side was promoted into the PSL in 2016, catching the eye of coach Norman Mapeza, who signed him a year later.
Dube, who first tasted Premiership success with Highlanders two decades ago in 2001 and 2002, celebrated another PSL title success in his first season with FC Platinum in 2017 before clinching it again in 2018 and 2019 and reaching the group stages of the Caf Champions League.
Although he is still actively involved in the game as a player, four years ago Dube formed a club, Zebra Revolution, which is based in Bulawayo’s Tshabalala suburb where he grew up. The team competes in the Zifa Bulawayo Province Junior League.
Dube is also a holder of a Brazilian Soccer Institute (BFUT) coaching certificate, Caf C Licence and a Zifa Level Three coaching badge. B-Metro