The players – six from Caps United and three from Highlanders, “strayed” into the glittering streets of Bradford City in 2005, after Bosso had beaten Makepekepe 1-0 in an international friendly organised by a group of Zimbabwean exiles.
However, very few yester-year soccer fans would forget the short man who was endowed with a cultured left foot in Highlanders’ left-back position in 2005. Weaned off the dusty Dulibadzimu Stadium, where he played for Division One campaigners, Border Strikers in the same year, Dlamini fitted in well to the Bosso set-up, where he replaced Gift Lunga Junior, who had joined Caps United.
Memories of how him controlling the ball with that perfect first touch, dribbling down the flank and sending that dangerous cross into the opposition box, is still the talk of town whenever Bosso plays badly in the left fullback position.
His otherwise promising career could have been cut short by his decision to desert the Bulawayo-based PSL giants, but not short enough to deny him a rank among the country’s best leftbacks, who included John Phiri, Harlington Shereni, Melusi Ndebele and Masimba Dinyero.
He is one of those players who carried out their role with distinction and always raised the hopes of a then ailing Bosso whenever he appeared in the starting line-up – on a regular basis.
Having received a lot of flak for dumping Bosso when he was needed most, Dhlamini’s first statement in this interview was to apologise to the club’s followers. He blamed the act on the country’s economic meltdown, which had reached unprecedented levels at that time.
“I am very sorry for what happened but this was a result of hardships we encountered back home,” said Dhlamini.
“I am the sole breadwinner and the best decision for me was to remain behind and find something that would help me fend for my family. Everyone knows about the dire situation that our country has been in for the past decade.”
The player, who also played for Dynamos and Monomotapa before joining Highlanders in 2005, was invited to train with the national team on two occasions, although he did not get a Warriors cap.
“While I was still with Border Strikers, I was called twice for the national team, for a friendly match against Malawi in 2003, but I remained an unused substitute. Later that same year, I was supposed to be part of the team for the Afro-Asian games in India, but remained behind after I had misplaced my passport. It is my inclusion in the national team set-ups that opened doors to bigger teams like Dynamos and Highlanders,” he added.
Now working in Stoke, Dhlamini has not entirely quit soccer, as he has found time to coach a semi-professional team, FC Eccleshall.
“I never gave up on football. I believe it’s high time I pass my legacy on to the youngsters. That is why I am involved with FC Eccleshall. I love football and this helps mend my wounds of abandoning the game so early.”
Having acquired the fortune that he remained for behind, the former player now wants to return home, where he hopes to set up an academy that will nurture talent and develop the game when he has completed his Management Degree.Post published in: Football