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‘British’ Mloyi’s love-hate affair with Highlanders

By Sikhumbuzo Moyo

Douglas “British” Mloyi played for Highlanders from Under-14s right until he was promoted to the first team by then-coach Silas Ndlovu in 1974.

Highlanders legend, Douglas “British’’ Mloyi
Highlanders legend, Douglas “British’’ Mloyi

His debut match was against Gweru United at Barbourfields Stadium in a game Bosso drubbed the visitors 7-0.

Despite being a defender, he was among the goal scorers on the day.

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He was to don the black and white colours for the next 13 years until his retirement in 1987.

He then took up coaching, having stints with a number of clubs, including How Mine. British was to “return” to his boyhood club in 2009

when the then Themba Ndlela-executive assigned him first-team manager duties.

It was the same executive that relieved Mloyi of his duties in 2010 following an unforgivable blunder in an away match against Hwange.

Bosso lost that game by a single goal but events before that encounter led to the firing of Mloyi.

Highlanders arrived at the Colliery Stadium on the day of the match only to find the home side clad in black shorts and whitish tops, similar to Bosso away colours.

As the away team, Bosso should have had an alternative kit, but they only had one kit, similar to what Hwange was putting on.

On the eve of the game, some members of Amavevane members planned to drive to Hwange in their numbers and they arrived in the coal mining time just before kick-off. However, there was no Highlanders on the pitch and only Hwange warming up.

An emotional Ndlela informed fans that Hwange was going to be awarded the match in a walkover since Mloyi had only carried one kit.

Time was ticking away and the referee, perhaps in a bid to formalise the “walkover” process, ordered Hwange to get back into the dressing room before formally coming back onto the pitch.

Meanwhile, plans were being made for Bosso to get an alternative kit and Amavevane guys were assigned to take care of that, but the clock was ticking and fans were getting jittery.

Those who know Colliery Stadium are aware that there is a gate leading to the dressing rooms.

Drama unfolded the moment Hwange passed through the gate into the dressing room.

An Amavevane member Clifford Ncube seized the moment and in a flash locked the padlock and vanished into the crowd with the key.

Both Hwange and Highlanders were locked in the dressing rooms, including the referees.

They tried to open the gate without any success and an announcement was made through the stadium public address system for the person with the padlock keys to assist, but to no avail.

Ndlela and his executive were also not aware of what was happening as they had resigned themselves to a walkover.

The clock hit 3.30pm and still, there was no sign of the teams.

It was only at 3.45pm that those assigned to look for an alternative kit returned.

“The moment I saw them entering, I went straight to the gate and gave the home team security their keys, telling them, much to their chagrin, ukuthi sekusharp majida, selingadlalwa manje,” says Ncube.

Needless to say, Bosso were clad in red tops and white shorts on that day and lost the game. Mloyi lost his job as team manager the following day and was replaced by Jerry Sibanda, the current Bulawayo City FC chairman.

However, Ndlela still insists that Mloyi was never fired but just reassigned.

“It’s not proper terminology to say I fired British. He was instead reassigned to an equally important role of scouting for talented junior players. Bosso are known for their vibrant junior policy and having someone of Mloyi’s calibre with a role of identifying talented junior players was something really significant. So to say I fired British is incorrect, I reassigned him,” says Ndlela. The Chronicle

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