By Sports Reporter
LEGENDARY former Zimbabwe Warriors captain Peter Ndlovu has attributed his success in his role as the team manager at top South African club Mamelodi Sundowns to the experience during his successful playing career.
Ndlovu, who is widely acknowledged as arguably Zimbabwe’s greatest footballer, spent four years playing for Sundowns upon his return from a lengthy spell in England, before taking up the role of team manager at the Pretoria-based club in July 2013.
The 47-year-old Ndlovu has enjoyed tremendous success with Mamelodi Sundowns winning four ABSA Premierships titles, a CAF Champions League winner’s medal, and several other domestic trophies.
Reflecting on his time at the South African side, Ndlovu, who has also previously served as Zimbabwe Under-23 coach and Warriors assistant coach, says his transition from playing to team management was made easier due to his previous knowledge of the club as a player.
“One of the things I used to do during my playing days was managing players, help them out and do things that help them,” Ndlovu said in an interview with Mamelodi Sundowns’ official website.
“Myself, Brian (Baloyi), and other senior players used to try and do that. So, when I was asked to be the team manager, although it’s a different ball game, I took what I learnt. Of course, things change and so does management and you have to upgrade and update every time. The challenge is that you must never use what’s in the past when there’s a new system, and by that I mean I should never speak about my achievements then.”
Zimbabwe’s all-time leading goal scorer also expressed his pride at being one of the longest serving employees at the club which is owned by South African billionaire Patrice Motsepe.
“Sundowns has been my home for a long time, I have probably been here longer than everyone. They looked after me as a player and I think it was easy to have a look at my future and decide to come into management,” he says.
Despite the success he enjoyed during his playing career, Ndlovu says he prefers to remain grounded and let his actions do the talking as he seeks to inspire the players at Sundowns.
“It’s what I do now that’s important because you are not judged on what you’ve done, but what you are doing. It’s a big challenge. You have to respect the players and be there for them and make sure that you manage and understand them,” Ndlovu says.
“When you have respect from the players then it becomes a two-way street. I also get help from a lot of people at the club, who are around me and make my job easier.”
In 1991, Ndlovu signed for Coventry City and broke records in Europe, and for the national team during his playing career.
On August 19, 1992, he made history when he became the first African footballer to play in the new English Premier League.
He went on to become the first away player to score a hat-trick at Anfield in 30 years when Coventry City stunned Liverpool 3-2 in a Premier League match on March 14, 1995.
After playing for Coventry City, Birmingham City and Sheffield United in the UK, Ndlovu signed for South African Premier Soccer League outfit Mamelodi Sundowns during the 2004 off-season.
He went on to spend four years at Chloorkop clocking over 80 games and scoring 20 goals.
Ndlovu has 100 caps for Zimbabwe and is the all-time leading scorer with 38 goals.