“The last kick of a dying horse is dangerous.”
BY MICHAEL MADYIRA
This is the bold warning by 32-year-old FC Platinum striker Njabulo Ncube who is threatening to deliver this upcoming season as his career reaches the twilight zone.
Having pumped in eight goals this pre-season, Ncube has made a statement of intent for the 2014 soccer season.
Braces against Chapungu and Chiredzi United as well as other strikes against ZPC Kariba, Triangle, Bantu Rovers and arch-rivals Shabanie Mine has set the tone for Ncube’s season.
“I will try and score week in week out when the season starts,” said Ncube. “I have a target to finish as top goal scorer this season. It is possible. I am an experienced player and that will count in achieving my target.”
His current form has left Highlanders fans green with envy. The forward dumped Highlanders in January in a move that irked the Bulawayo giants who are now in a desperate search of a striker.
Nearing the end of his playing career, Ncube’s switch to Zvishavane was inspired by monetary gains. He said: “This is my last signing-on fees to collect. When I retire I do not want my kids to blame me that I never did something big when I was still a player.
Last month I completed the construction of my house in Cowdray Park after I was paid by FC Platinum. Obviously FC Platinum has better winning bonuses than Highlanders.”
He acquired the Cowdray Park residential stand in 2011 after signing for Quelaton who however lost him to Highlanders before the season even kicked off and the Bulawayo giants reimbursed Quelaton the money they had paid for his stand.
The amount he is now getting at the big-spending platinum miners remains shrouded in secrecy but is believed to be US$8 000.
“If I talk about how much I got, the next thing people would be knocking on my door asking for money that I may owe them or even loan facilities,” said Ncube.
Some strikers have been lured by big bucks at FC Platinum but flopped like Norman Maroto and Benjamin Marere.
Coach Lloyd Mutasa’s striking armoury also includes the tested Donald Ngoma, Nelson Mazivisa, Steven Sibanda and Tarisai Rukanda, as well as rising star Walter Musona.
“Like I said, I am an experienced player. I am here to wind up my career as well as teach the youngsters. I want them to reach the level where I failed.”
Returning to Barbourfields to play Highlanders would not be a prospect to cherish for Ncube.
Already, he has faced his former employers in a friendly match played last month.
Bosso fans were not as hostile to him as expected but he was treated to a standing ovation when he was substituted.
It was however an awful return for him after missing a penalty.
“People are saying I deliberately missed the penalty. They say I did not want Bosso to lose and it annoys me,” he said.
Growing up at Highlanders before switching to Railstars after featuring for the national Under-17 team at the African Under-17 Championships in Guinea Bissau in 1999, he returned to his boyhood club 12 years later.
But he spent just six months before rejoining them again last season. Now he has dumped them again.
“I already miss Highlanders fans. They are so supportive and they made me feel important.”
One staunch admirer of Ncube’s exploits is Mutasa, who has revealed that his chase for Ncube began mid-season last year when he landed the FC Platinum job.
Mutasa got his target and Ncube has promised to repay his faith in him.
“He is a leading light upfront. He is looking very good and very promising,” said Mutasa.“Initially I wanted him in July last year when I arrived here. I tried calling him then but he was away in Botswana on personal business and the transfer window lapsed while I was in pursuit of him. When I finally got hold of him he was very forthcoming.”
According to Mutasa, Ncube’s eight pre-season goals are warning shots that Premier Soccer League clubs should take seriously.