By Ricky Zililo
Renowned boxing trainer Philip ‘Striker’ Ndlovu, who died on Thursday morning, received a deserved send-off at Lady Stanley Cemetery on Sunday.
Ndlovu succumbed to prostate cancer at his Ejingeni Flat in Makokoba suburb at the age of 66.
The mourners included an array of sports personalities, including former World Boxing Association Pan African heavyweight champion Thamsanqa Dube, Zimbabwe heavyweight champion Vincent Muziri, multi-Zimbabwe National Youth Games medalist Meluleki Ngulube, Nokuthula Tshabangu and football legend Zenzo Moyo.
Lawrence Zimbudzana, the Zimbabwe Boxing and Wrestling Control Board secretary, said Ndlovu’s legacy will live on, as the late trainer had contributed immensely to boxing and community development since his first involvement in the sport in 1971.
“This sendoff is truly humbling to us. Now it is up to us to carry his (Ndlovu) legacy and the best way to remember him is to take the sport forward. Judging by the turnout at this service, it truly shows that Ndlovu was a hero and made an impact in people’s lives,” said Zimbudzana.
Sports and Recreation Commission’s (SRC) provincial coordinator for Bulawayo Metropolitan Province Sam Dzvimbu challenged Ndlovu’s protégé, Dube to consider using the experience he got from the late trainer to assist up and coming boxers.
“Striker was a pot of wisdom among boxing administrators. When the Zimbabwe National Youth Games started in 2003, most boxers were from Tshaka Youth Centre throughout the yearly editions, where Striker coached. Bulawayo dominated the games, coming either first or second, with most medals being from boxing.
“We will miss him, but his works are evident among us. I’m quite sure that his former boxers will continue his work. The challenge is on you Thamsanqa (Dube), given the ample time he had for you, trained you and you went on to win the continental title because of his works, you should also reciprocate what Striker did for you by training youngsters,” said Dzvimbu.
Lovemore Dube, the Sports Journalist Association, Southern Region (SpojaSR), who worked with Ndlovu as a promoter in the 1990s, said he was hurt that the trainer died a poor man.
He recalled the opportunities Ndlovu presented to local boxers, some of who went on to fight for Commonwealth titles.
“Through our promotions with Ndlovu responsible for the technical side, we gave boxers a platform to excel. We had Sipho Moyo (late) fighting for Commonwealth title in London, Tshabangu also got that opportunity. A number of champions, who include Thamsanqa Dube, Zimbabwe heavyweight champion Vincent Muziri, Ambrose Mlilo, Mordecai Donga and Fredrick Chisoro coming from Tshaka Youth Centre being trained by Ndlovu.
“In the amateur ranks, there are more than a dozen boxers that Ndlovu groomed, among them Maqhawe Ndlovu, Ntando Sibanda and Meluleki Ngulube, who has a unique boxing story in the sense that from primary school to Form 4, he participated in the National Youth games and won accolades.
“Striker died a poor man because he was honest in discharging his duties. He was a champion for fairness at a time some promoters were cheating by using weak boxers to promote their preferred fighters in order to get higher rankings. But Striker lived an honest life, loved boxing, church and smartness,” said Dube. The Chronicle