Warriors captain Knowledge Musona has described Peter Ndlovu as the greatest player to ever represent Zimbabwe, and that the country’s record scorer in international football was his childhood idol growing up.
BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
The KV Oostende star forward, who has over the last three years established himself as one of the most feared forwards in the Belgian Jupiler Pro League, made the revelations in a wide-ranging interview with the Belgium-based football magazine Sport Voetball Magazine on Thursday.
Musona opened up about his humble upbringing in Norton, his admiration of the legendary Ndlovu, the country’s economic problems and the recent military intervention which led to the resignation of former president Robert Mugabe.
The 27-year-old star, who is being linked with a possible big move to the Italian Serie A in January, opened up on his admiration for Ndlovu, who is widely considered as the greatest player to don the Warriors jersey.
Ironically, Musona appears to be retracing his childhood idol’s footsteps.
His memorable hatrick in a 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Liberia in June took his tally to 20 goals in 30 appearances for the senior national team — only 18 behind Zimbabwe’s record scorer Ndlovu, who achieved the feat in 100 caps for the Warriors.
“For me, Peter Ndlovu is the best Zimbabwean football player ever. He was my childhood idol,”Musona said.
“At 17, he became the first black player in the Premier League. He played at Coventry City, Birmingham City and Sheffield United. In Zimbabwe, we call him ‘The Legend’. He is still the top scorer of all time with our national team. He lifted the team to another level and he did everything for his country. At the highest level in England he earned well, so he sometimes offered personal money to organise a training camp for the Zimbabwean team or to buy food for the players,” Musona said.
Not much has been said locally about Musona’s childhood, with the exception of his development at the famed Aces Youth Soccer Academy, where he was contemporaries with the South Africa-based star Khama Billiat.
Musona, whose younger brother Walter is currently on the books of South African club Polokwane City, however, gave a glimpse of his humble upbringing in Norton.
“We lived in Norton, a ghetto about 40km from Harare. To the capital, we only went to visit the Harare Agricultural Show or to celebrate Christmas. The Agricultural Show is an annual open-air fair: companies from all corners of Zimbabwe come to Harare to promote their products. You can, for example, buy tractors. But my brothers, my sisters and I were mostly under the spell of the fun fair and certainly the amusement park,” he said.
“When we went to Harare in the Christmas period, we went to see a movie with the family in the cinema and together to a restaurant. But usually, we just stayed at home to celebrate Christmas. Then we ate rice with chicken; that was our feast. In the lower regions of the suburbs, where we lived, many people could only afford such an expensive meal once a year. We ate it about four times a year. Our everyday food was sadza, a thick porridge of cornmeal. Sadza can be combined with meat, with vegetables, with soup, with everything in fact. A real Zimbabwean wants sadza every day; otherwise he cannot sleep at night.”
The former Kaizer Chiefs and TSG Hoffeinheim player refused to comment on Mugabe’s recent resignation following the
intervention of the military, but said he was saddened by the country’s economic problems.
Zimbabwe has been facing a cash crisis since last year, which Musona made particular reference to during the interview, but said he was optimistic about the country’s future.
“I do not want my name to get involved in politics, so I do not want to say too much about Robert Mugabe but of course there are things that are not good in our country,” he said.
“Our economy is in terrible shape, which is the main problem that Zimbabwe now has to face. The banks are without money. If you go to an ATM and want to withdraw $100, you cannot do that, even if you have $1 000 in your account.
“If you are looking for cash, you have to go up the street; there are people who sell money. Whoever wants $100 in cash must transfer $200 to their account via his mobile phone. That is a very bad thing. More and more companies have shut down because there is no more money circulating in the country. There are no jobs and many people are very poor. Hopefully, the situation will improve now. I want the best for Zim.”