Where are they now?

His career was cut short by a fracture sustained on his right knee, sustained in a league game against Highlanders at Barbourfields Stadium in 2000, but Taboniswa Ncube had already made a huge impact in the game.

He was the other half of Hwange’s once dependable central defence duo with Brian Njobvu. Strong in the air, Ncube was nicknamed “Airforce”, while his telepathic partner was referred to as “Ground-force”. It was no coincidence that when Ncube bowed out to injury in 2000, Njobvu took over the captaincy.

“My career lasted only seven years, but I really enjoyed my time on the football field and would give anything for just a few more minutes on the green turf,” said Ncube recently.

“After my first game, I developed a great understanding with both Njobvu and goalkeeper Witness Munkuli, with whom I became good friends, both on and off the pitch. We formed a dependable backline that spelt trouble for most PSL teams, especially in our home turf at the colliery.”

Determination saw Ncube being voted Hwange’s FC Player of the Year in 1995, a personal honour he still cherishes today, 17 years later.

“That award gave me an added impetus to focus more in the game. I went on to be given a trial with the Warriors by the then national team coach, Ian Potterfield. I didn’t play a single match for the Warriors, but I had wonderful moments in camp with the likes of the late Benjamin Nkonjera, Lloyd Chitembwe, Cheche Billiart and Vitalis Takawira amongst others,” added the former Chipangano skipper.

His biggest heartbreak came with the injury that happened after a crude tackle by Highlanders’ Gift Lunga Junior. This was a fatal blow to Ncube’s career when he was just 25 years old.

“It still pains me that I never completed my mission on the field. It’s difficult to adjust because whenever I watch the game, I always feel like I can still do the job on the pitch. I retired at a young age and I still miss the glamour of being a player,” he added.

With Ncube in action Hwange reached the finals of the 1994 Castle Cup, where they lost 2-1 to Blackpool and the Independence Cup final of 1999, in which they lost 7-6 on penalties against Amazulu.

“I dedicate my success to Zambian coach, Vincent Mandona, who came and changed our style of play and mental approach and built an authoritative Hwange side that turned the Colliery into a ‘Slaughter House’ that it is still known to be,” he said.

“This was the same approach adopted by another tactical mentor, Jones Chilengi and continued by David Mwanza – another great coach endowed with a good technical ability.”

Now involved in coaching, Ncube has big dreams for his new role. “I established Lusumbami Football club to remove youngsters from the streets and give them better things to do than criminal activities and drugs. We are the community and these initiatives are necessary for development.”

But he has misgivings about how football is being run in the country.

“It will be a miracle if we ever win the AFCON. To be honest I don’t like the way ZIFA is running the local game, especially how our various national teams are being treated,” he fumed.

Currently working as a Plumber at Hwange Colliery Company, Ncube also has some business interests. “I would also like to start my own plumbing business in future because total independence is needed to survive in this demanding world.”

He paid tribute to former fellow great stars at Hwange like Chingumbe Masuku, Obert Moyo, Salim Milazi, Fabian Zulu, David Phiri, Luke Masomere, Nation Dube, Mebelo Njekwa and Tavaka Gumbo.

Post published in: Football

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