Mbabane: Stanford ‘Collymore’ Ncube is possibly the best Zimbabwean player to grace our shores in the turn of the New Millennium.
He arrived in the country from his boyhood club Highlanders from Bulawayo, affectionately called Bosso to join Mbabane Highlanders. He went on to cross the Rubicon in a deal that saw Mfan’fikile ‘Fash’ Ndzimandze go the opposite direction to join Highlanders’ cross city and sworn rivals Mbabane Swallows. Finally he won the MTN League after joining the red and white side of Mbabane in an impressive season that saw him also bag the Premier League of Eswatini (PLE) Player of the Year award. It is an achievement he reveals in this one-on-one interview was the proudest moment of his glittering career that was unfortunately plagued by injuries.
“I enjoyed my best football at Swallows. The reason may be that I was at the peak of my career at that time and won the MTN League and Player of the Year. Without second thought, it is where I enjoyed every minute of the game before injuries started hammering my career.”
He remains one of the few players to play for the country’s big three teams, Highlanders, Swallows and Manzini Wanderers. The Zimbabwe-born attacking midfielder who finally acquired Eswatini citizenship also had short-as-sneeze stints with Green Mamba and Moneni Pirates before being forced to call off a promising career due to nagging injuries.
‘Collymore’ names Young Buffaloes attacking midfielder Wandile ‘Skosh’ Shabangu as the best player currently in the premier league. After picking goalkeeper Thokozani Mkhulisi in his best XI from former teammates, he set his team in a 3-5-2 formation. In his flat three of defenders, he selects Sipho ‘City’ Sibandze, Wandile ‘Wawa’ Mazibuko and Mgonodi Sidell.
Manqoba ‘Dunga’ Kunene, Lwazi ‘Zidane’ Maziya, Sandile Mdlovu, Sandile ‘Theo’ Motsa and himself make the five-men midfield with ‘Dunga lying deep.
Forward, Ncube picked goal scoring machines of their generation Mfanafuthi ‘Taribo’ Bhembe and Etienneh Massoye.
It is not surprising that Ncube’s team is dominated by his former Swallows teammates by Highlanders’ ‘City’ Sibandze gets the Zimbabwean’s nod.
He mentions ‘Dunga’, ‘Wawa’, Mdlovu, ‘Zidane’, ‘Theo’, Hloniphani Ndebele and Mgonodi as the best players he played with.
“These guys were a class act. It was football simplified and we understood each other’s strengths and weaknesses quite well,” he said.
He has outmost respect for some coaches he worked with.
“Ace (Zenzele Dlamini), Nyanga (Hlophe), ‘Koki’ Vilakati contributed immensely in my career. I feel they understood me and coached me according to my strengths. They never tried to change my style of playing.”
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