Death of Adam Ndlovu touches Zimbabweans

The whole of Zimbabwe was in mourning for popular, former national team striker Adam Ndlovu. His brother Peter Ndlovu looks to be progressing in hospital

The death of former Moroka Swallows and Free State Stars striker Adam Ndlovu in a car accident in Zimbabwe on Sunday, has been received warmly around the world.

Messages of support for the Ndlovu family have been pouring in, with better news on Monday morning suggesting that his former English Premiership-star brother Peter Ndlovu, has awoken from a coma and is out of danger.

But the death of Adam on the way to a charity game in Victoria Falls has cast a pall on Zimbabwean football, with persons from just about every sector of society, from government through to the ordinary man on the street, offering their heartfelt condolences.

The 42-year-old Ndlovu and a 24-year-old female passenger, identified as Nomclo Tshili, were killed when a tyre burst on their BMW X5 and the car careened into trees. Peter was initially in a coma, but woke on Sunday.  

Ndlovu came through the ranks at Bulawayo side Highlanders, before spending almost a decade in Switzerland with SC Kriens (1993-97), SR Delemont (1997-99) and FC Zurich (2000-01).

He joined Swallows in the PSL for the 2002/03 campaign, already 32 years of age, making his debut in a 3-1 win over Black Leopards in September 2002. His single season with The Birds yielded seven goals in 23 starts, before he moved on to Dynamos for 2003/04.

His return was similar for the Limpopo side, six goals in 20 starts, but was released at the end of the campaign.

He signed up for Free State Stars, then a National First Division side, but was used mostly off the bench as he helped them to promotion.

That would be his final season of professional football, returning to his native Zimbabwe and entering coaching.

At the time of his death he was in charge of the Chicken Inn club, who he helped to third in the 2012 Zimbabwe Premier League season.

The tributes have been pouring in, including from recently axed former Zimbabwe national team coach Rahman Gumbo.  

“I am stunned, shocked, I am at a loss for words. I thought we would play the match for the people of Victoria Falls,” said Gumbo. “I just do not know, at such a tender age in coaching as he was still learning the ropes of coaching, he is taken away from us. The country has lost a good person and a good coach, I have lost a brother.”

Zimbabwean prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai expressed his deep regret at the loss.

“I am deeply saddened at the passing on of soccer legend, Adam Ndlovu, who was taken away from us in the horror crash that left his young brother, Peter, in hospital,” Tsvangirai said.

“I wish Peter a speedy recovery. Adam and Peter were part of our national football Dream Team in the 1990s and have continued to impart their skills to other young Zimbabwean footballers. They have made a significant contribution to our culture in Zimbabwe.

“My prayers are with the Ndlovu family, the football fraternity and the nation at this sad loss. On behalf of my Office, my family and on my own behalf, I join with so many others who knew Adam, in offering our deepest sympathy on his passing.”