Peter Ndlovu back in the English Premiership spotlight

Peter Ndlovu back in the English Premiership spotlight
Published: 09 August 2017 (836 Views)
WHEN Arsenal and Leicester City open the 2017-18 English Premiership season on Friday night, the clock will show that exactly 25 years have passed since the clubs started an ambitious adventure to break away from more than 100 years of Football League affiliation to chart their course in a new billion-dollar world.

After striking a lucrative television rights deal worth £1 billion a year, the English clubs flexed their muscles and gambled for independence and, a quarter-of-a-century down the road, they have just signed a deal worth more than £5.1 billion which will run until the 2019 season.

Amid the celebrations that will mark the stunning evolution of the world's richest football league as it waves goodbye to its first 25 years on Friday, and enters a new era, it's unlikely that a lot of attention will be attached to the historic appearance of Peter Ndlovu in the colours of Coventry City on August 19, 1992.

On that August night, the baby-faced forward who would grow to become the captain of his country and the greatest Warrior of all-time, leading his nation to two Nations Cup appearances in 100 appearances for Zimbabwe, made history as the first African to play in the English Premiership.

His countryman Bruce Grobbelaar had featured for giants Liverpool for years, playing a huge part in the Anfield side's dominance of the old First Division in the '80s, but on the night the Premiership show came to town, the Jungleman was not part of the cast of players who paraded their skills.

Instead, Liverpool fielded the newly-acquired David James in their first match in the English Premiership against Nottingham Forest.

That gave Ndlovu the honour to make history as the first African footballer to play in the English Premiership revolution that would see the league's value soar incredibly, in its first 25 years of existence, and its appeal spread across the globe.

It's now the most watched top-flight league in the world and such is its huge impact that it has virtually destroyed the viewers-hip figures in countries like Uganda where the majority of people prefer to watch the English Premiership than their top-flight league matches.

Ndlovu made a huge impression at Coventry City where, at the height of his athletic powers, he transformed himself into one of the most sought-after players in the league, attracting the interests of such giants like Liverpool and Arsenal.

He became the first visiting player to score a hat-trick at Anfield on March 14 1995 since 1961 and his record would last for 14 years until Andrey Ashavin scored four goals for Arsenal at the same stadium in April 2009.

The influential football magazine, FourFourTwo, this year named Ndlovu among the best 100 foreign players to grace the English Premiership.

"While the name might mean little to today's generation, Ndlovu brought class when foreign players were a Premier League rarity," the magazine said.

"He'd go on to win 100 caps for Zimbabwe, but even as a teenager, he was key for Coventry City (another name which will resonate with few Premier League fans today).

"In a struggling side, Ndlovu was a constant nuisance, if not a prolific one, to opposition defences.

"The striker was largely responsible for maintaining Cov's 34-year residence in the top flight, before dropping a division in 1997 to improve Birmingham, then Sheffield United. He's still remembered fondly in the Midlands."

Two years ago, the mass circulating Daily Mirror tabloid named Ndlovu among some of the best forwards to grace the English Premiership with his partnership at Coventry City with Dion Dublin, who would play for Manchester United, and Darren Huckerby being named the 17th most prolific partnership to grace the league.

''We picked the three best forwards from each of the top 20 Premier League participants and ranked them from 20-1,'' the newspaper said.

''The Premier League has been blessed with some of the sharpest of sharpshooters the game has ever seen over the last 20 or so years. But which teams have boasted the best ever in their ranks in that time?

''We've picked the best three strikers to play for the 20 teams to have played the most seasons in the Premier League. They are then ranked 20-1 based on those strikers.''

This saw Ndlovu gracing such illustrious company like Luis Suarez, Robbie Fowler, Fernando Torres, Thierry Henry, Ian Wright, Dennis Bergkamp, Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo, Ruud Van Nistelroy, Alan Shearer, Less Ferdinand, Didier Drogba, Gianfranco Zola, Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero.

''Coventry were mainstays of the Premier League in its early days with talisman Dion Dublin their main man,'' the newspaper said.

''The tall target man smashed in 61 in 145 games between 1994 and 1998 and remains one of the Sky Blues greatest ever players.

''Darren Huckerby was a cult hero at Highfield Road while Peter Ndlovu was another who made hay in the earliest days of the Premier League.''

Local newspaper, The Coventry Telegraph, ran their own poll based on votes from the club's fans.

''The Mirror suggested Dion Dublin, Darren Huckerby and Peter Ndlovu were the three sharpest shooters for City during the nine years in the Premier League,'' the Telegraph said.

Dublin won that vote, Robbie Keane came in second place, Huckerby in third place, Micky Quinn taking fourth place while Ndlovu finished in fifth place.

Time has certainly moved on, since Ndlovu made history in the colours of his beloved Coventry City, but the impact that he made on those shores lives on and, 25 years to the month he made his bow, they are still talking about our Flying Elephant. It's a pity we don't make them this good anymore.

- chronicle

 0

You May Like These Videos

Comments

There are no comments.

Latest stories

Soldiers cause havoc at Victoria Falls International Airport

by Staff Reporter | 10 December 2017 | 79 Views

Victims of Zimbabwe genocide still wait for justice

by Staff reporter | 10 December 2017 | 43 Views

WATCH: Talking about Gukurahundi is irresponsible - Mnangagwa advisor

by Staff reporter | 10 December 2017 | 70 Views

Drunk soldier arrested after firing two bullets in a bar

by Simbarashe Sithole | 10 December 2017 | 133 Views

SA biggest corporate scandal fails to make it into Sunday papers

by Staff reporter | 10 December 2017 | 85 Views

Focus on China's role in Mugabe ouster missed the bigger picture

by Cobus van Staden, South African Institute of International Affairs and Chris Alden, London School of Economics and Political Sci | 10 December 2017 | 114 Views

Be an active citizen: know your rights

by Linda Tsungirirai Masarira | 10 December 2017 | 84 Views

Votes do matter - Register to vote

by Otis Mabikwa | 10 December 2017 | 61 Views

Mnangagwa needs to cure the coup, as his govt is illegitimate

by Staff reporter | 10 December 2017 | 102 Views

Mnangagwa craft Zanu-PF's post-Mugabe survival strategy

by Staff reporter | 10 December 2017 | 116 Views

Minister Chikukwa, 3 bigwigs to be expelled from Zanu-PF

by Staff reporter | 10 December 2017 | 205 Views

Makarau's resignation opens a can of worms

by Staff reporter | 10 December 2017 | 163 Views

Tsvangirai, Khupe in fresh clash

by Staff reporter | 10 December 2017 | 67 Views

Cops, soldiers arrested over $5 bribe at roadblock

by Simbarashe Sithole | 10 December 2017 | 460 Views

Kasukuwere explains how he escaped snippers with Jonathan Moyo

by Staff reporter | 07 December 2017 | 3287 Views

LISTEN: Chipanga will sue the State, says Madhuku

by Staff reporter | 07 December 2017 | 1096 Views

Police ordered to abolish roadblocks

by Staff reporter | 07 December 2017 | 976 Views

Is Tsvangirai entitled to be in new government?

by Immigration Maziwisa | 07 December 2017 | 897 Views

WATCH: 2018 National Budget Presentation - Chinamasa

by Staff Reporter | 07 December 2017 | 373 Views

Civil servants bonuses to be paid next year but staggered

by Staff Reporter | 07 December 2017 | 303 Views

UK Diaspora sends investment mission to Zimbabwe

by Staff reporter | 07 December 2017 | 263 Views

Chombo, Chipanga fight for freedom

by Staff reporter | 07 December 2017 | 168 Views

Pokello's paradise crumbling

by Staff reporter | 07 December 2017 | 400 Views

Operation restore legacy to descend at Beitbridge border post

by Staff Reporter | 07 December 2017 | 213 Views

#Zimbabwe budget cost cutting measures highlights

by Stephen Jakes | 07 December 2017 | 202 Views

Zodwa Wabantu Zimbabwe show flops

by Staff Reporter | 07 December 2017 | 341 Views

Agriculture estimated to grow by 15.9%

by Staff Reporter | 07 December 2017 | 152 Views

Tsvangirai misled party on Mnangagwa's cabinet

by Harare Post reporter | 07 December 2017 | 579 Views

Good budget but lacks clarity on fundamental reforms

by Tinashe Eric Muzamhindo | 07 December 2017 | 267 Views

WATCH: Kasukuwere speaks for the first time

by Staff reporter | 07 December 2017 | 921 Views

Accident claims 2

by Staff reporter | 07 December 2017 | 196 Views

Bucket of maize as maintenance

by Staff reporter | 07 December 2017 | 143 Views

Chipanga granted bail

by Staff reporter | 07 December 2017 | 133 Views

BREAKING: Jonathan Moyo, Kasukuwere accounts, assets to be frozen

by Staff reporter | 07 December 2017 | 127 Views

Chombo granted bail

by Staff reporter | 07 December 2017 | 76 Views

President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his Cabinet starts hitting the ground

by Leonard Koni | 07 December 2017 | 350 Views