By Sikhumbuzo Moyo
Warriors’ legend and Mamelodi Sundowns team manager Peter Ndlovu missed out on a US$120 000 house gift after demanding payment to attend Sakunda Holdings’ sponsorship unveiling for Highlanders and Dynamos last month.
The energy giant last month unveiled an US$5,3 million sponsorship for the country’s two biggest football clubs and gifted a house worth US$120 000 to the late football icon George Shaya as well as houses worth US$90 000 each to living legends Madinda Ndlovu and Moses Chunga.
Peter was in line to get a similar house to Shaya, but the gesture could not be extended to him in his absence.
Sources told Chronicle Sport that while Sakunda Holdings identified the four icons, their invitations to attend the event were extended through their former clubs Highlanders and Dynamos, who were under strict instructions not to reveal or even hint anything about the gifts.
While there were no issues with Chunga, Madinda and the Shaya family, Peter reportedly demanded US$6 000 upfront despite airfares and accommodation being footed by Sakunda Holdings.
“Peter was invited well on time, but he insisted to be paid for gracing the function. He wanted about US$6 000, but the organisers wanted the house gift to be a surprise to him. Even Madinda went thinking he was just a guest, but his younger brother wanted more,” said a source privy to the issue.
During the function, Madinda shed tears when business tycoon and Sakunda Holdings boss Kuda Tagwirei broke the big news, as he wasn’t aware of what was in store for him.
“Tagwirei believes Peter is on the same level as Shaya, if not slightly ahead, hence the decision to give both of them houses worth a similar amount, but he wanted this to be a huge surprise during his function. I can assure you none of those guys knew what was coming, so when Peter insisted on being paid, everything collapsed because after all the invitation was from his former club Highlanders and not Sakunda Holdings,” said the source.
Peter made his debut for Bosso in 1988 as a schoolboy at Mzilikazi High School, which he helped scoop the inaugural Copa Coca-Cola Schools Football competition in 1989.
He formed the fearsome Mzilikazi High School team that featured, among others, his late best friend Benjamin Nkonjera and the late Makheyi Nyathi, who all went on to make a mark at Highlanders and the national team.
Peter made many man-of-the-match performances for Bosso in the few seasons that he was with them, before being snapped up by then English topflight league side Coventry City in June 1991.
By joining Coventry, Peter made history by becoming the first African player to play in the new English Premier League (EPL) on August 19, 1992, when he made his debut in their win over Tottenham Hotspurs at White Hart Lane after coming on as a substitute for John Williams in the 70th minute.
He scored 17 goals in his first EPL season for Coventry and 11 goals the following season.
His hat-trick against Liverpool in the 1994/95 season stands out as one of his most outstanding performances in a Coventry shirt, as he became the first visiting player to score a hattrick against the Reds at Anfield in 30 years.
Peter played 154 games for Coventry and scored 34 goals between 1992 and 1997 before moving to Birmingham City in July 1997.
He was loaned to Huddersfield Town in 2000 and then released to join Sheffield United in February 2001.
He left English football in 2004 and was signed by South African side Mamelodi Sundowns, who were still in the process of rebuilding after being bought by current Caf president Patrice Motsepe.
After five years with the “Brazilians”, Peter joined Thanda Royal Zulu, but was released after they were relegated from the South African Premier Soccer League and retired from playing.
He was taken out of retirement by Northern Region Division One side Highfield United in Harare and then loaned to police side Black Mambas in 2011 before finally hanging up his boots and pursuing a coaching career. The Chronicle