The Herald (Harare)

17 December 2012

Zimbabwe: Too Bad Adam Is Gone

Photo: Steven Sibula Ndlovu/Facebook
Adam Ndlovu

opinion

MARTIN Luther King had a dream. Nelson Mandela had a dream. And Adam Ndlovu had a dream, too.

Except that Adamski's dream had nothing to do with political accomplishments. The late former Highlanders and Warriors' goal predator, who perished in a road accident in the early hours of Sunday morning (Ko Mwari makatirwadzisirei muchidaro?) had told me during one of our regular telephone chats that his dream was to ensure that his team, Chicken Inn, would upset the dominance of the two giants of local football - Dynamos and Highlanders - in three to four years.

I never, for one moment, doubted his passion for accomplishing goals (of course, wasn't he a wonder in scoring them on the pitch?) in the game he loved and played during his entire life - from Mzilikazi Primary and Secondary schools.

Adamski was a larger-than-life character and I will always cherish the moments that we shared as we talked about the Warriors' games (before and after his era) and world football.

He also had a permanent place in his heart for his beloved Bosso -- the side he turned out for in his raw days before embarking on a successful sojourn into European and South African top-flight football.

Adamski was more than just a footballing great to me.

His infectious smile, booming voice and his soccer commentary immitations of me, bore fruit to an illustrious friendship that started back in the late '80s, when he burst into the Highlanders' first team.

We seemed to agree on most of the things that mattered in our football and entertainment lives.

For example,we both loved the same Hollywood suspence movie actors - Denzel Washington,Tom Cruise and Tom Berenger!

We both agreed that Lionel Messi still had an awful lot to do before even thinking about tying the shoe-laces of Pele and Diego Maradona!

On the pitch, everybody would be charmed and amazed by this smooth-shaven and self anointed predator, who had a passion for spectacular finishes from inside and outside the penalty box.

He is the Warrior's second highest-ever scorer with 34 goals from 79 appearances - four goals shy of his younger brother Peter (Oh, please Lord, let him recover fully and quickly) who has 38 goals from 100 appearances.

Off the pitch, that contagious and wide smile would once again charm his Bosso fans . . . and, oh, yes the opposition fans alike!

You see, there was something about Adamski (I gave him that nickname as a slang derivative of his first name while being influenced by the musical origins of the Polish definition of Adamski) that would make his rival team's fans at Dynamos, Zimbabwe Saints, Eagles(now defunct), Hwange and CAPS United not love to hate him but love to love him!

On our journeys with the Warriors Dream Team of the '90s, I would always sit next to him on the plane as we laughed and joked about our different professions.

I recall one instance, as we were flying to play Cameroon in 1993 for a 1994 World Cup qualifying slot, and I jokingly boasted that my soccer commentary profession would take me to 90 years of age but what would he do at the end of his playing career at around 30 or 35?

He smiled at me, as usual, and didn't even take time to think about the answer: "Charlie, after I hang up my boots I will become a soccer commentator."

But little did I know that last Friday's Castle Soccer Star of the Year banquet would be the last time I would be charmed by those deep set and booming vocal cords.

As one of the Directors of Ceremony, I asked him to stand to an ovation after he'd predicted a couple of weeks back that the Castle Soccer Star of the Year would be Denver Mukamba and Coach of the Year would be Callisto Pasuwa...

Had I asked him to stand before his adoring fans for one last time?

Surely I did not know that, did I?

When I got the phone call at around 5am on Sunday morning (about three hours after the horrific event) I wailed uncontrollably for some time.

I hardly believe that this happy-go-lucky; this promising Premiership coach who would lead "The Gamecox" to pulverise the Dynamos and Highlanders' dominance into a million smitheerens in three to four years, as he had promised, had failed this time around to blast the ball past the goalkeeper of the dreaded team called DEATH (as stylishly described by staunch Highlanders supporter Benjamin Ncube on the phone yesterday).

The first name that appears on my cellphone contacts' diary is Adamski; technically so because of the first letters of the alphabet. I will not delete that entry.

Why?

Because I'm still convinced that this is just a horrible nightmare which will soon come to an end and I will wake up and dial that number once more and be greeted by that unmistakeable rant:

"Iwe Charlie, uri kudei so early in the morning?"

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