UNLIKE other people who die with their wives, children and other family members by their bedside, it was not a similar case for the late renowned boxing trainer Philip “Striker” Ndlovu who succumbed to prostate cancer early Thursday morning.
He was 66.
The former Tshaka Youth Centre trainer was diagnosed with prostate cancer at the beginning of 2020 and his condition deteriorated rapidly, leaving him bedridden after he failed to raise US$3 000 required for a trans-urethral resection of the prostate (Turp) operation procedure to remove parts of the prostate pressing on the urethra, making it hard to pass urine.
Ndlovu, who according to his niece Sikhangezile Ndlovu, has been unwell for the past two years, breathed his last at his Ejingeni Flats in Makokoba suburb, a house that reportedly belonged to his unnamed friend who died many years ago.
“My uncle has been in pain for the past two years. He stayed alone at a house that belonged to his friend who died so many years ago. No relatives stayed with him. He had no wife and children. However, I’m too young to divulge much,” said a disturbed Sikhangezile who continuously shuttled between Gwabalanda and Makokoba to check on his ailing uncle.
“I stay in Gwabalanda and my mother stays in the rural areas. My uncle was sharing the house with these other people that communicated his death to me,” she added.
Former Highlanders and Warriors striker Zenzo “Zemura” Moyo who was a neighbour to the late Ndlovu said: “This is a great loss to Zimbabwe as a whole. Striker raised me here in Makokoba. He was a great disciplinarian who lifted Makokoba’s flag so high. Regardless of the fact that you were into boxing, football, or darts he made sure he instilled discipline in everyone. We should have greatly considered giving him a helping hand at the very moment his health started to deteriorate. Today we can say he was a legend but we should learn to celebrate people while they are still alive.”
The late Ndlovu was an influential figure in Zimbabwean boxing circles. He identified and trained a number of Bulawayo boxers, who include former World Boxing Association (WBA) Pan African heavyweight champion Thamsanqa Dube and ex-World Boxing Federation (WBF) Africa heavyweight title holder Elvis ‘Bulawayo Bomber’ Moyo.
Former champions Jabulani Gombiro, Nokuthula Tshabangu, Ambrose Mlilo, Sipho Moyo, Fredrick Chisoro and Modercai Donga all passed through Ndlovu’s able hands.