A SOMBRE atmosphere gripped the country’s soccer fraternity Sunday morning as news of former Warriors and Highlanders striker Adam Ndlovu’s death in a horrific road crash — which also left his younger sibling Peter battling for his life — filtered through from the accident scene along the Bulawayo- Victoria Falls Road.
Report By Staff reporters
Adam was Premier Soccer League club Chicken Inn’s coach at the time of his death.
According to the police, Adam died on the way to hospital while a 24-year-old woman, identified as Nomcebo Tshili, who was travelling together with the soccer legends, died on the spot.
Peter, who was initially admitted to Victoria Falls Hospital, was later transferred to Mater Dei Hospital in Bulawayo as his condition was said to be critical, although his brother Marko Dube said he was out of danger.
Matabeleland North provincial police spokesperson Inspector Billy Dube said preliminary investigations indicated that Peter lost control of his MBW X5 vehicle after it burst a tyre, veered off the road and rammed into a tree a few kilometres before Victoria Falls Airport.
The accident happened around 1:20am as the Ndlovu brothers were driving to the country’s premier resort town for a social soccer match featuring Highlanders Football Club legends and a local team.
“Soccer legend Peter Ndlovu (40), of Bulawayo, was driving his BMW X5, registration number NUDDY 23 GP, towards Victoria Falls along with his brother, also a soccer legend, Adam (42), and Nomcebo Tshili (24).
“On approaching the 417km peg near Lupunyu business centre in Victoria Falls, the vehicle burst its front left tyre and veered off the road to the left side, hit a tree and landed on its right side,” said Dube.
“The female passenger died on the spot with no visible signs of injury. Adam sustained a broken left arm and head injuries and died on the way to Victoria Falls Hospital. Peter sustained a cut on the right knee, left sheen and forehead.
“He was admitted at Victoria Falls Hospital before being transferred to Bulawayo.”
Dube said the vehicle had deflated front wheels, a deformed front fender and bonnet while the windscreen was shattered. He said the vehicle’s front doors were also deformed as a result of the impact.
The accident occurred exactly 17 hours after another vehicle, a Toyota Granvia, burst a tyre and overturned, killing five people instantly on the same road.
Another vehicle, believed to be a VW Bora, was burnt to a shell along the same road on Saturday afternoon.
Adamski, as the late Chicken Inn gaffer was affectionately known during his soccer-playing days, had a rich football-playing career spanning from 1992 to 2005.
He left Highlanders to join Swiss club SC Kriens in 1994 before moving to SR Delemont in 1997 and then returning to Highlanders in 2001, winning the league title with Stewart Murisa before moving to South Africa.
He played for Moroka Swallows, Dynamos and Free State Stars from 2002 to 2005 before hanging up his boots to take up coaching. He became assistant coach to Philani “Beefy” Ncube at Chicken Inn in 2011 and took over as the boss with three games left.
He led Chicken Inn to third place in the 2012 season.
Meanwhile, condolence messages poured in from all sections of society as the country battled to come to grips with the grim reality of the tragedy.
Politicians, soccer fans and administrators took to the social media to express their grief.
MDC-T leader Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said: “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 younger brother, Peter, in hospital. I wish Peter a speedy recovery.”
Said Youth minister Saviour Kasukuwere (Zanu PF): “It is with great shock that I hear of the passing-on of a great soccer legend, Adam Ndlovu, in a tragic car accident. I wish to extend my condolences to the Ndlovu family, Chicken Inn Football Club, the soccer community and the entire nation at large on the loss of such a great player and coach.
“I wish a speedy recovery to the Flying Elephant, Peter Ndlovu, who was injured in the accident. I pray that the good Lord will be with you during this time of sorrow and grief. My prayers are with the Ndlovu family, the football fraternity and the nation at this sad loss.”
Minister of Education, Arts, Sport and Culture David Coltart (MDC) said: “Condolences to the family and I wish Peter a speedy recovery. I am afraid that Adam Ndlovu’s tragic death is another reminder how dangerous Zimbabwe’s roads are at night.”
Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office Jameson Timba: “My condolences to the Ndlovu family on the death of Adam in a car accident this morning. I wish Peter a speedy recovery from the same.”
MDC-T youth secretary-general Promise Mkwananzi said: “Let’s all fight to have Adam Ndlovu declared a national hero. We cannot leave this important exercise in the hands of a single political party. All stakeholders must be represented in the conferment of national hero status.”
Mourners are gathered at Number 14716 Imbabala Road in Selborne Park, Bulawayo.
See more stories on Pages 38, 39 and 40 of the Hard copy