Growing up kicking a plastic ball on the dusty streets of Kadoma, Norman Nkomani’s football dreams were to wear the Dynamos blue and white stripes.
Dynamos was his dream and as fate would have it, he signed for DeMbare. But even after signing for his childhood team, circumstances would not let him don the famous Dynamos jersey.
Injury stood in between him and his childhood club until he moved on and eventually became a legend in a club he never dreamt of, more so, in a city he might not have imagined.
“My days at Amazulu were obviously the best. In 1999, we won the Independence Cup, Charity Shield, BP Cup, Madison Trophy and we were the league runners-up. We were also league runners-up in 2000, 2001 and 2002, before we won the league in 2003. In 2001 we won the OK Grand Challenge Cup and the Madison Trophy,” Nkomani said in an interview with Standardsport.
“Amazulu was a Delma Lupepe project based in Bulawayo which made Bosso our archrivals. It was such serious rivalry that people thought he was out to destroy Bosso, but no, he had brought a new dimension and vision into football which a lot of people appreciated,” he said.
Nkomani began his football career in the gold mining town of Kadoma where he rubbed shoulders with former national team skipper Kaitano Tembo when they were still boys.
“I started playing football right from pre-school. The moment I started kicking the ball, I told myself I wanted to be a football player. I took my football ambition to primary school where there was the Dairiboard-sponsored tourney for primary schools.
“We had our home area team led by Kaitano Tembo and I was the goalkeeper because of my height. I then went to Sandringham High School where I became a midfield player. It did not take time for me to sneak into the senior team while I was still in Form One,” said the former Usuthu gunslinger.
His career continued to blossom and he signed for second division side Red Seal Rovers while he was in Form Two before moving to Kadoma United. The team went unbeaten for 38 games in 1993 with Nkomani scoring 34 times in as many appearances.
In 1994 he moved to Division One side, David Whitehead and offered apprenticeship training in mechanical engineering. He was under the tutelage of Richard Manda, Herbert Mukwena and Macpherson Kalonga.
Nkomani said it was during that time that the desire to play for the Glamour Boys grew. With his profile as a footballer growing daily, premiership clubs that included Black Rhinos, CAPS United and Dynamos started enquiring about his availability.
“I still remember David George and Moses Chunga coming all the way from Harare to watch me play,” said the former soccer star finalist.
“Before the season ended, I moved to Dynamos but unfortunately in my last game for Whitehead I suffered a horrendous injury in which my leg was broken. This happened when I was expected to play my first game at Dynamos the following week. The game was going to be against Hwange,” said Nkomani.
At that time, Dynamos were chasing the premiership title and Vitalis Takawira had just left the club while Tauya Murehwa had a fractured arm. So, the team was banking on Nkomani who could not feature for Dynamos because of the injury, a sad development which did not go down well with the DeMbare faithfuls.
That was to be the end of his Dynamos dream.
Nkomani recalls how during the period of injury, DeMbare fans felt betrayed by him and started calling him names. At the end of the 1994 league season, DeMbare wanted to loan him to Arcadia but a clause in his contract stalled the process, forcing him to retrace his footsteps back to Kadoma.
A stint with Kadoma Wildcats in 1996 under Raphael Phiri resurrected his career after he had recovered from injury. That year, Nkomani finished as the top goal scorer in the first division.
DeMbare again tried to lure him, but this time his father — who was now handling his affairs — turned down the offer.
“DeMbare came back, but my father refused because I had promised him I would finish my apprenticeship first. He was the one managing my affairs then. Amazulu also came but failed to convince my father,” said Nkomani.
More premier league clubs continued to chase after his signature without success, until Lancashire Steel came towards mid-season with a hard-to-resist contract.
His Premier League debut with Lancashire was against CAPS United with whom they drew two all. Nkomani scored both goals for his team in that match.
The next league match saw Nkomani coming face-to-face with Dynamos. He silenced DeMbare fans when he scored for Chimbi Chimbi Boys. DeMbare chairman Morrison Sifelani then made another attempt to lure Nkomani back to Harare without success.
Amazulu also came back, this time with a lucrative deal which he could not resist and they snatched him back to the City of Kings. That season, Nkomani was selected among the best 11 players in the country.
Looking back at what he achieved in Amazulu’s gold and black stripes, Nkomani says he does not regret the choices he made in his career.
Nkomani is married to Prisca and they have three sons and two daughters. Currently, he is running his motor vehicle repairs business.