A FEW years ago, Joel Ngodzo’s football career was deemed to have taken a nosedive after the then Highlanders coach Bongani Mafu registered his concern about the player being overweight.
For that reason he was challenged to shed his weight or ship out from his boyhood club. Out of frustration, he packed his bags to Harare and found a new home at CAPS United.
After intense gym workouts that helped him shed his weight, it was not long before he charmed the green half of the capital courtesy of his visionary play as well as his ability to score crucial goals.
His former Bosso mate Prince Dube who was quickly plucked out of the country due to his impressive displays on the field of play was thrown into the deep end of South Africa’s Absa Premier League.
However, he failed to command a first team jersey, a situation that saw him being offloaded by Supersport.
After a short lay-off due to problems related to reverse clearance papers, he finally traced his footprints to Highlanders in an effort to relaunch his career.
Fast forward to today, the two players are the talk of town every match day as a result of their exploits on the field of play.
Due to their heroic acts, they have left an egg on the faces of those that had written them off.
On Wednesday, they were voted among the 2019 Soccer Stars of the Year. The duo is tipped to shine the most in local football’s glamorous night of the year at the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League awards ceremony set for 6 December in Harare.
This is where the country’s top-flight league will decorate its finest players, coaches as well as referees.
However, Ngodzo and Dube face stiff competition for the country’s top football accolade from former Chicken Inn striker, Clive Augusto, who left the Gamecocks midway into this season having banged in 14 goals.
Interestingly, another Super Diski reject King Nadolo of TelOne, who according to PSL records has scored 10 goals since he joined the Rahman Gumbo- coached team during the mid-season transfer window, did well enough to get the votes which put him in the best 11.
It remains to be seen where these drop-outs will be standing at the end of the 2019 Soccer Stars ceremony. Their story reads like “from the dustbin to being corner stone for their respective Castle Lager Premier Soccer clubs in a season where the championship race was again taken to the wire. These are surely the fruits of hard work and perseverance and this should inspire other players also to believe in themselves and not easily give up because some team or coach failed to unlock their potential. May the best man win it.