HARARE – Lovemore Ncube, who captained Highlanders before crossing the Great Divide to play for the Bulawayo giants’ bitter rivals Dynamos, says there are some things in life worth doing all over again, and playing for the country’s biggest two clubs is one of them.
Nicknamed Magents, Ve, or Star Force by fans and teammates alike, Ncube’s story is that of a persistent young man who managed to rise from the shadows of his childhood friends Peter Ndlovu and Benjamin Nkonjera and eventually went on to captain his boyhood club.
Ndlovu and Nkonjera were early bloomers and left Ncube still toiling in the junior ranks when they got promoted into the Highlanders senior team before going on to feature for the Warriors.
A less determined player could have quit soccer in frustration, but Ncube stayed in the game until he finally got promoted into the first team.
And by the time he left Bosso to join DeMbare, Ncube had become the undisputed leader of the Bulawayo giants, who wore the captain’s armband with distinction.
The former Njube High School student was the type of player who had an amazing work rate and during his stint as the Bosso captain, he led from the front, a hardworking central midfielder who covered every blade of grass.
Magents could defend and attack in equal measure.
The best way to describe him would be as a grittier version of former Highlanders linkman Honour Gombani.
In 1997, Ncube was the captain of a Highlanders side that was in a rebuilding phase under former star winger Madinda Ndlovu and his departure for Bosso’s bitter rivals Dynamos alongside defender Lenny Gwata was a bitter pill to swallow for the club’s faithful.
The two players suddenly went from darlings of the Bosso fans to subjects of ridicule, being re-christened “Ravumore” and “Lenny” in the streets of Bulawayo.
Other players that included the current Highlanders coach Kelvin Kaindu, Methembe Ndlovu, Lewis Kutinyu and Austin Juwayeyi had also left Highlanders at the end of the 1997 season following issues to do with remuneration.
But on a personal level, the switch to Dynamos proved to be worthwhile for Ncube.
The retired star went on to engrave his name in local football folklore by being part of the famous Dynamos side that reached the African Champions League final for the first and only time in 1998.
“I'm equally fond of both teams,” Ncube tells the Daily News.
“As you know, I played for these giants at different times during my soccer career. Highlanders moulded me and Dynamos gave me a great platform to strut my stuff.”
Ncube reckons captaining Bosso ranks as one of his most iconic moments of his career but is quick to admit that “both teams gave me a platform to perform at the highest stage in Africa.”
He adds: “Both sets of supporters were always good to me. Seven million supporters (as Dynamos fans call themselves) welcomed me with a red carpet and gold gloves. The Bosso fans always supported me to the fullest. I had a lot of fond memories with these two greats and I would do it all over again. But remember, I'm a Bosso son for life. On the professional side, DeMbare was one of my best employers and I had a great time with them.”
Ncube went on to feature for CAPS United before calling time on his playing career and moving to the United States.