HIGHLANDERS legend and former national team striker Adam Ndlovu was killed in a horrific car accident early Sunday and his young brother, Peter, was critically injured.
Adam, who also played for FC Zurich in Switzerland, was 42.
An unnamed woman travelling with the two men was also killed in the accident near the Victoria Falls Airport along the Bulawayo road.
The Ndlovu brothers, whose elder brother Madinda also played for Highlanders and Zimbabwe, were travelling to Victoria Falls for a match featuring Highlanders Legends and a local side.
The rest of the legends team including Rahman Gumbo and Willard Khumalo had travelled by bus for Sunday's match, but the Ndlovus who were returning from Harare drove in Peter's BMW X5.
Tawengwa Hara, club secretary of Chicken Inn FC where Adam Ndlovu was coach, told New Zimbabwe.com from Bulawayo that they were “devastated”.
“We’re all devastated. The players, the club, the whole of Bulawayo and everyone in Zimbabwe waking up to this news knows we have lost a legend, a good man, a hard worker and a professional. Personally, I’m saddened beyond words,” Hara said.
Peter, another Highlanders legend who also played for Coventry City in the English Premier League, is said to have been at the wheel of his BMW X5 at the time of the accident shortly after 1AM on Sunday.
Radio legend Ezra Tshisa Sibanda, a friend of the Ndlovu brothers, said Peter was speaking and is expected to recover. He has told friends he slept at the wheel, according to Sibanda.
Among his injuries, Peter suffered a broken leg.
Sibanda said: “Peter is saying he slept from tiredness. The car veered off the road, uprooted one tree and was stopped by a second. It’s a miracle anyone survived.”
Ndlovu was being treated at Victoria Falls Hospital but plans were being put in place to airlift him to Bulawayo for better medical care.
New Zimbabwe.com editor Mduduzi Mathuthu was among the last people to see Adam Ndlovu alive.
He said from Harare: “I was at the Zim Cafe on Friday night and Adam Ndlovu came in from the Soccer Star awards dinner. He was ever the quintessential gentleman, shaking hands with everyone.
“A few of the guys exchanged some banter with him for missing out on Coach of the Year and he gave as much as he took. He looked as happy as he has ever been, full of life.
“He told me on his way out he had a long trip to Victoria Falls on Saturday with Peter. We now know they never got there, Adam is dead and Peter is seriously injured.
“To say I'm sad is an understatement.”
L-R Adam, Madinda and Peter only members of same family to play for Warriors
Last photo ... Adam (R) poses for a picture at Soccer Star awards night with Alois Bunjira (left)
Death of a legend ... A recovery man inspects the damage to Peter's BMW X5 after crash
Simba Rushwaya, the group sports editor at the NewsDay newspaper, said: “I am yet to speak to anyone who is not pained by this news. It’s sad beyond measure.”
Adam was one third of the famous ‘Ndlovu Brothers’ – Madinda, Adam and Peter – who all played for the Zimbabwe national team.
After they all retired, they went into coaching. Peter is currently the national Under 23 coach, and doubles up as the assistant coach to the senior national team.
Many Zimbabweans took to social media to express shock and offer condolences to the Ndlovu family.
Sports and Culture Minister David Coltart led the tributes on Twitter saying: “I am very sorry to hear of the death of Adam Ndlovu and the injury of Peter Ndlovu. Condolences to the family and I wish Peter a speedy recovery.”
Former Warriors star Alois Bunjira, who played with Ndlovu in his vast carrier, posted a picture they took together just on Friday at the Soccer Star of the Year Awards in Harare.
He grieved: “You have been a great friend. It has indeed been an honour to play with you and to know you as a friend.
“Zimbabwe has lost a gallant soldier who gave us 34 goals in international football. You are a legend and soccer hero. May your soul rest in eternal peace! We all pray for Peter to recover and our prayers are with your family.”
Another of Adam's close friends, Nhlanhla Dube, a spokesman for the MDC said he was distraught and battling to digest the loss.
“My first phone call today delivered shuttering news, horrible, horrible news that my friend and member of the big Highlanders family Adam Ndlovu is no more and that his younger brother Peter is in critical state,” he wrote on Facebook.
Dube urged Zimbabweans to “please pray for the Ndlovu family at this very dark hour.”