COLUMN: THEY CAN NEVER BE ANOTHER “ZOOM”, BUT ESTHER STILL WITH US
AFTER all was said and done, subsequently the stage was set for the 17th edition Samuel “Zoom” Ndhlovu Charity Shield’s medal presentations. At this moment she walked majestically, in front of the cameras through the isle to the podium.
The same isle her late husband hogged in not so many moons ago. To give out the medals, the medals that her beloved husband received and put across his neck, not only as a player but also as a coach.
Her name is Esther Ndhlovu, aged 78 and widow to the iconic Samuel “Zoom” Ndhlovu, the great name given to the Zambian Charity Shield which plays the chief role of the domestic league season’s curtain raiser.
18 years down the line since the bereavement of her husband, Esther is still here with us to narrate the story – the story of a legend who racked up records – the records that shall eternally be embedded in the history books of Zambian football.
Esther is here to narrate to this generation and possibly posterity – how and why her husband was dubbed ZOOM. She is here to tell the story of how a fan was captivated by Samuel Ndhlovu’s trickery when he dribbled past defenders. This fan erroneously shouted “Sumu” – instead of Sam: the shortcut of “Samuel”. This was how and why Ndhlovu was dubbed ZOOM.
Tales of how Ndhlovu as a coach at Mufulira Wanderers nurtured the great Kalusha Bwalya, Efford Chabala and Charles Musonda; how as a national team coach he guided Zambia to the 1988 Seoul Olympics quarterfinals, beating Italy 4-0 on the way – can be told by Esther.
But then, how many of us members of the fourth estate have offered Esther with the platform to tell the story? “Sumu” must be turning in his grave seeing the spotlight being forestalled from his beloved Esther. But Saturday was exceptional. It must have been music to Ndhlovu’s ears seeing his widow heavily involved in a showpiece that has been named after him.
FAREWELL MTUKUDZI, NOSTALGIC MOMENTS BY SERENJE BAND AND NKANA’S CHARITY SHIELD GLORY
A somber week it has been for some of us who find pleasure in music. In the course of the past week we were greeted with a very sad development of the passing on of the legendary and Pan African musician Oliver Mtukudzi.
Some of you might be wondering why music in a football column? Well, there exist a congruent romance of longstanding between football and music. The romance which in the 90s was the drive to the Serenje band to serenade the famous Nkana anthem: “Nalelo ba winner ba Nkana.”
The anthem which might have resonated with Nkana and provided them a wave of nostalgia from the past, inspiring them to come from behind and beat Zesco United on Saturday in post match penalties and win the 2019 Samuel “Zoom” Ndhlovu Charity Shield trophy.
Such is the power of music. The power of music which Mtikudzi utilized to advocate the emancipation of his people from the chains of colonialism, from the totalitarians who oppressed Zimbabwe prior Independence.
Farewell Mkomani! They can never be another you: Oliver Mutukudzi; just like they can never be another Samuel “Zoom” Ndhlovu. But the widows are still here with us. It is therefore imperative for us to revere them the same way as when their husbands were in the midst of the living.
Finally I wish to convey my heartfelt condolences to family of coach Hector Chilombo who bid farewell to life in the course of last week. The entire football fraternity is deeply affected and is mourning with you in your great loss.
Otherwise from me James Sibeleki, here in Livingstone – the beautiful city which encompasses one of the natural wonders of the earth: the Mighty VICTORIA FALLS – I wish you all our esteemed readers a fruitful week ahead and the Lord’s blessings. Adiós.
[The Author of this Column is an African football scribe domiciled in Livingstone Zambia. You can follow him on Twitter @SibelekiJames, WhatsApp: +260975757824 and Facebook: James Sibeleki.]
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