By Sheldon Hakata
THERE was a time in the 1990s when three brothers took the football scene by storm in Zimbabwe.
The Ndlovu brothers (Madinda, Adam and Peter) were a marvel to watch as they took their club, Highlanders to greater heights.
Highlanders’ current crop of strikers have failed to live up to expectations.
The yesteryear team’s devastating forward-play made headlines as one of the deadliest in the domestic premiership.
It did not end there.
At national level, in 1992, the Warriors outplayed Malawi 4-1 in the AFCON qualifiers at the giant National Sports Stadium, with the Ndlovu brothers netting a goal each.
Pundits contend the sharp strike force stands as the most lethal to date.
They were very important to their club and the nation. They literally carried Highlanders on their backs as the black and white army wrecked havoc on the domestic scene.
The Ndlovu family comes from Siabuwa, Binga District, in north-western Zimbabwe.
They are engraved in the football history of Zimbabwe.
Madinda, aka ‘Khathazile’, was born on May 2 1965 and is one of the greatest tear-away footballers to ever emerge from Zimbabwe.
The late Adam, born on June 26 1970, played as a striker, just like his young brother Peter who became Zimbabwe’s highest ever goalscorer.
Adam ‘Adamski’ Ndlovu was a sharpshooter.
He played for local and foreign clubs, including Highlanders, SC Kriens, SR Delemont, FC Zurich, Moroka Swallows and Free State Stars.
Like his brothers, he was a member of the Warriors.
Peter, also known as ‘Nsukuzonke’, was born on February 23 1973 and remains one of the country’s most decorated stars.
He made a name for himself playing for Coventry City and Sheffield United in England where he was affectionately known as the ‘Flying Elephant’.
Peter scored important goals for Coventry City.
He was the first player in 30 years to score a hat trick (three goals) against Liverpool Football Club in 1991 at Anfield Stadium.
The former Warriors skipper has the record of 100 national team caps with a total of 38 goals, the highest number so far.
He is also the African with the highest number of years playing top-flight football in England after spending 13 years in that country.
But back to Highlanders.
Madinda, Adam and Peter attacked with such dynamism.
Perhaps the most absorbing aspect of these front runners was the fact that the coach could position them in varying combinations.
The basic line-up would be for Adam to be central, with Madinda and Peter floating off him and taking up wider position on the flanks.
That is what made Highlanders so devastating.
The strikers complemented each other.
Tear-away wingers Madinda and Peter were flexible enough to take up roles best to exploit the opponent’s weaknesses.
The trio enjoyed the best campaign of their careers when they carved out a reputation as part of the domestic league’s deadliest marksmen, scoring vital goals for Highlanders and the national team.
According to veteran sports analyst Stanley Katsande: “The trio shredded apart defenders at will.
“Even to those who were not Bosso fans, it was just wonderful to watch them play.
“Some actually called them the ‘deadly trio’.”
One football fan from Harare, identified as Simon, said: “‘Nsukuzonke, a 19-year-old winger, made his way in the game with goals to his name in the domestic premiership starts for Bulawayo giants Highlanders.
“Madinda, Adam and Peter would go on to mesmerise fans with some proficient footwork and pace in all competitions.
“Their contribution was immense and made Bosso scale greater heights.”
In recent years we have been treated to some highly potent attacking combinations in domestic football, but will the country ever witness a combination of strikers like the Ndlovu brothers?
They were Bosso’s ‘destruction boys’.