Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Unsung Hero - Highlanders' Siphatho Ncube

Siphatho Ncube is one of the most under-rated citizens of the football world. An administrator of note, but more so, a coach of high calibre, Ncube may not be mentioned or even enter any history books in this self-centred world.

Highlanders Royals FC used to be part of a bigger Bosso in the 1980s. As fate would have it, the Royals died a natural death. Siphatho Ncube, in the mid 1990s, dug down into his personal financial  resources to run the Bosso ladies.

He toiled day and night fighting lone battles to give lot of young girls who had desire and skill to make it big time in football. Some of them needed direction in their lives, with nowhere to go. Others had football in their blood and no-one had been helping out.

Siphatho's input was one of hope and sacrifice. He assured the girls that they could make it in many aspects of life. He spent a lot of his life on a mission that did not pay or recognise him. He had to give the girls taxi and even food money.

I remember him coming so many times asking for assistance in this and that. I was able to assist in material and football issues in a minimal way. To him small was like everything. I have worked with people of passion and love for the game. None has it the way Ncube does.

Siphatho was committed to other Bosso football causes. He spent much time being resourceful, searching for information and data to coach. His language was always 'Royals this, Royals that'. Frankly, it was sometimes boring to strike a conversation with him. 

At the beginning of his engagement with the Royals, he coached from seeing the masters do it, from Barry Daka, Madinda Ndlovu and Roy Barretto. I invited Siphatho to a Level 1 course that I was conducting. It was natural he would come running, and he was so into it, realising why the fundis did what they did. You see, as a normal football lover, you are so easy to criticise if you are ignorant. As soon as you are schooled, you nod your head and say, 'Ahhaaa!'

Ncube sat for his Level 1 and 2 courses in same class with former Eagles FC and Bosso midfielder, dribbling wizard Clement Balanda, Brian Moyo, who was in the Sports and Recreation Council and now Southern Region ZIFA Secretary, Bekezela Maduma-Fuzwayo, Philani Mabhena, a former Highlanders FC juniors Coach and one time Assistant to Madinda Ndlovu and Kona Tshabangu among lots of coaches.

Siphatho utilised Clement Balanda and Brian Moyo as assistants for most of the later times. New Orleans and Gugulethu FC came to be and quickly became heavy weights in the league due to sound funding. Ncube managed to stay with the girls who did it for the club. They breathed, ate and slept Bosso, thanks to Ncube. Some were enticed of course to cross the floor and justifiably did.

During the days I was Technical Advisor at Highlanders FC, he pushed for the Executive to recognise his role and the girls in particular, something the top brass saw as a distraction. Liqhwa Gama was very instrumental in getting a start-up projects that the girls could do in raising their own funds, in which the fans supported well.

I can safely say his was a well invested time and energy for the life and success of Royals. There is nothing in return for him, only for self-fullfilment, which we all know, does no feel the tummy. That satisfaction should really make him proud for the job no one could ever do. Despite his exploits, he was always overlooked by national teams for Mighty Warriors duties. The scandals here were the order of the day. Regardless of his team performance or the number of players involved, never did he once get an invitation.


Ncube went on to be a Committee Member of Highlanders FC in the Ernest Maphepha Executive. He still thinks his passion is in coaching and is doing all he can to further his skills and experience in that regard. Football development will really do with his input, for both men and women football.

Like a true son of the soil, he toiled and toiled, though for nothing. Mr Ncube, thank you for your sacrifice, a job well done. One day, your world will thank you. God bless.