Where are they now?

BULAWAYO – The name Savimbi was made notorious by slain former Angola rebel leader, Jonas Malheiro, but Dumisani Nyoni tried to redeem it during his days as tough defender for Highlanders.

Also known as “Indod’ emnyama” (the dark man), Nyoni stood out as an extremely talented left back at Bosso: his tight marking and burst of speed down the line helped turn the team into an all-conquering outfit.

Carving a niche for himself at the highest level while still an O Level student at Mzilikazi High School, Nyoni made his debut in a Barbourfields Stadium Chibuku Trophy match against Bata Power in1984.

He never looked back, becoming one of Highlander’s cup kings.

“I won a lot of medals with Highlanders, which included the BAT Rosebowl, Chibuku Trophy, Rothmans Shield, Heroes Shield, Independence Cup and the Castle Cup in those glory days,” said the Highlanders legend.

“Individually, being named the Young player, Most Promising player and Player’s player of the year at the club were some of my achievements.”

A 3-1 win over then powerhouse Gor Mahia of Kenya in the 1991 Africa Cup Winners Cup at Barbourfields remains Nyoni’s most memorable game.

“I was on top form in that game and won man-of-the-match. We wrapped the tie 4-2 on aggregate. That match still stands as my best ever match and it’s like it was played yesterday,” he added.

Exuding a no-nonsense attitude during matches, Nyoni hailed all his former team-mates, but singled out opportunistic striker Tobias Nyamudyambanje as the best he worked with.

“We had other great players like Titus Majola, Mercedes Sibanda, Peter Nkomo, Willard Khumalo, Madinda Ndlovu and Netsai Moyo among others, but Nyamudyambanje remains my main man. We connected and worked very well together.”

“Throughout my career, I didn’t encounter any tough opponents really; I was the one giving opposite strikers’ torrid times!”

He diagnosed the present game’s problem as over – commercialisation.

“Today’s game has lost its entertainment. We witness youngsters destroying their careers as they jostle for money instead of enjoying the sport.”

Although he is long retired from the game, the legacy Nyoni left continues. His son, Vusa, also left-footed, is following his father’s footsteps into the national team.

The elder Nyoni now runs his own Engineering Company in Bulawayo.

”We drill boreholes. This is a challenging job that requires a lot of dedication. We are working hard to see that we help communities get access to clean water,” he explained. “In the last decade, we have seen people struggling with water even in suburban areas, hence heeding the call to help. The city council was struggling to cope with demand for water and this was an eye-opener for us.”

Post published in: Football

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