By Grace Chingoma
Former skipper, Peter Ndlovu, is confident Knowledge Musona will surpass his record and become the team’s all-time leading goalscorer.
The former Coventry City forward is the most capped Zimbabwean, with 100 caps, and the country’s all-time top goal-scorer with 38 goals.
So far, Musona has 42 appearances and 22 goals, for the national team.
“I was reading, again, about him saying it would be hard to emulate, or to equal my record, it’s nothing like that,’’ said Ndlovu.
“Knowledge, let me tell you boy, you are in the right step and you will break this record.
“You will have five years of playing for the national team. So, if you give him five goals per year, Nations Cup and all the other general games, you will surpass that and you have my support, you have my push.’’
Question: The Warriors captain has stamped his authority on the team, making vital contributions. As a former captain, do you talk to Musona sometimes? What would be your advice to him at this time?
Peter Ndlovu (PN): Captain, my captain. Knowledge has done absolutely more than we have done as ex-captains because, at this stage, he is carrying the team, of course, he must lead by example, it’s only natural, its only normal, but I think he has contributed immensely to the team.
What I am scared of, or what I am not quite sure of, is how much other players are contributing, how many more captains he has on the field or around him. As an ex-captain, I was only as good as my senior players and, of course, the players that were looking up to me.
I mean, you can see Knowledge is trying hard on the field, and all that stuff, does he have people, you know, to push him, also to help him? Look at me, I became a good captain, I think, because I had captains around me. Kaitano Tembo, the late Adam Ndlovu, Dumisani Mpofu, Charles Yohane, you name them, they were there.
McKop, and then we had our elders who used to advise us. So, you only become a better person, a better leader, because of people around you, you don’t just become a leader and you are on your own.
I am just a little worried, how much Knowledge has to put on his shoulders, how much he has to lift on the shoulders because it must never be left to him. Of course, look at what he is doing on the field, it is evident that he is a strong character, he is a strong boy.
I always speak to Knowledge, to encourage them, to encourage him to do well, to keep his head up, when you see that he is a bit on a low, I call him to just say ‘it’s coming boy, keep your head up, and keep the cool’, he is a very strong character.
I speak not only to Knowledge, but to all other players that are Zimbabweans, that I have a chance of talking to, or who have a chance of phoning me, I speak to each and every Zimbabwean, because their performance reflects on me, reflects on the country also, so, I speak to them one on one, not only about football, but about life in general.
Guys, thanks for your contribution against Algeria, we did very well. I look forward to the next game and we still have a chance (to qualify for AFCON).
Question: There is a trend now where players born outside of their home nations are returning to play for their national football teams. How much of an impact will this have on local football in the coming years?
PN: It is a very good thing, meaning that they respect the origins of their parents. They are making choices based on where their parents come from.
For me, it is welcome and, of course, a player having to choose between where he was born and where his parents come from, it’s a special choice which I think is just welcome and will bring another dimension to the game.
Respect to all the players that were involved in the matches against Algeria, and those that may still come. I think it’s blending, love for the country first and respect for the parents, so the gesture is most welcome.
Some of us also have kids in that space, so you want to give them a choice, whoever they want to represent. But, first choice, I would always advice my children to go my way, the Zimbabwean way, and the rest is up to them.
But, I give them choices, so thanks to all the players that were involved, your contribution, and your experience from abroad and general play, will uplift our football.
Question: You led the Warriors to their first AFCON tournament. What do you think we need to do to move to the next step?
PN: There is always an upgrade, there is always an improvement, and there is always room to move up. So, I think during my time, we tried our best and, perhaps, it was not good enough.
But, look, we have a crop of good players at the moment, and really, they must try and raise that bar.
There is a lot that you can achieve, without putting pressure, just knock and knock and keep knocking and the ice will break, eventually. Let’s perhaps look at what may happen once we put our act together. The Herald.