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Peter Ndlovu (born 25 February 1973) is a former professional Zimbabwe footballer and is currently the Team Manager at Mamelodi Sundowns F.C. a Premier Soccer League club in South Africa.
Peter Ndlovu originally comes from Siabuwa, Binga district in North Western Zimbabwe. He was however born in Bulawayo, and played professionally as a striker from 1988 until 2011. He played for Highlanders in Zimbabwe, for Coventry City in the Premier League and in the Football League for Birmingham City, Huddersfield Town and Sheffield United. In South Africa he played for Mamelodi Sundowns, Thanda Royal Zulu, Highfield United and Black Mambas. He was capped 100 times by his country, scoring 38 international goals.
Ndlovu was originally spotted by John Sillett, prior to his official signing from Highlanders by Terry Butcher in July 1991. He made an immediate impact by scoring away at Arsenal and then became the toast of Highfield Road with a thunderbolt winner against Aston Villa in November 1991, endearing him to the Sky Blues fans.
Although he would go on to play a major role at several clubs in the Championship, it is his time at Coventry he is particularly known for given the club’s top flight status at that time. He would play a significant role in two major teams, Bobby Gould’s attacking team of the early 90s and Ron Atkinson-Gordon Strachan’s expansive squad of the mid-late 1990s. Bobby Gould’s team in 1992–93 are widely regarded as under-achievers.
On Wednesday 19 August at 21.10 Peter Ndlovu made history by being the first African footballer to play in the English Premier League. Having acquired the legendary striker Micky Quinn in November 1992 they continued what had already been a blistering start, with away wins at Tottenham Hotspur (2–0) Sheffield Wednesday (2–1) and Wimbledon (2–1) to add to already impressive home wins against Middlesbrough (2–1). By the early autumn the Sky Blues briefly topped the inaugural Premier league and would only lose five league games prior to Christmas. The addition of Micky Quinn to the squad led to further outstanding home wins against Aston Villa (3–0) and Liverpool (5–1). They would eventually go to Championship contenders Blackburn Rovers and leave with a (5–2) victory in February 1993. However, a barren March/April programme and a run in that would see back to back games against Man Utd, Liverpool, Chelsea and Leeds Utd saw them slip from 5th in the league in February to 15th by the end of May. A league position secured with a thrilling performance from Ndlovu in a last day 3–3 draw against Leeds Utd. Ndlovu was a key component throughout the season in Gould’s fast pacey front line which included John Williams, Kevin Gallacher (until his departure to Blackburn) and Robert Rosario, who formed a worthy partnership with Micky Quinn. Peter Ndlovu’s goal against Norwich City, in a 1–1 draw in late September, was a signature piece of Ndlovu flair which earned him the Match of Day ‘Goal of the month’ competition.
The 1993–94 season would see a managerial shift in the autumn as Phil Neal, Bobby Gould’s number two, took over the reins from his passionate Coventry born boss but not before the legendary curtain raiser to the 93–94 season. Bobby Gould’s first day gamble would be to play without traditional full backs. This novel formation gave Peter Ndlovu full licence to play a large part in a memorable opening day triumph in the capital. The 3–0 victory on a sunny 14 August, against double-cup winners Arsenal, saw Micky Quinn score a hat-trick in front of the newly refurbished North Bank. It also ensured that the Sky Blues made one of their customary lightning starts to the season, so synonymous of the early 1990s. After an early Ian Wright threat on the Coventry goal, it was Ndlovu who made a darting run into the Arsenal penalty box which produced a clumsy challenge from Lee Dixon. The resulting penalty was calmly converted by Micky Quinn for the opener. The second half would see Ndlovu and Roy Wegerle lead the Gunners defence a merry dance, Wegerle in particular enjoying possibly his finest game for the club. So shocked were Arsenal by the 3–0 defeat that manager George Graham cancelled the proposed post-match lap of honour at the final whistle, which was to parade their League Cup and FA Cup silverware. The explanation given by Arsenal was ‘Reasons beyond the club’s control!’. It is thought the Sky Blues turned down a then-massive £4 million offer from Arsenal at the end of the same 1994 season for Ndlovu’s services. The dramatic resignation of Bobby Gould, after a 5–1 mauling at Loftus Road in October 1993, was reputedly inspired by the possible imminent sale of Ndlovu to a top six club.
However, Ndlovu stayed but the 11th-place finish secured that season was not repeated in the 94–95 campaign. Phil Neal was replaced by Ron Atkinson. Big Ron was credited with saving the club from relegation in the spring of 1995 whilst also bringing in Gordon Strachan as his player-coach assistant. This second significant phase for Ndlovu would once again promise much; the ‘new era’ of big money signings heralded by Atkinson’s appointment saw the arrival of Huckerby, Whelan, Salako and McAllister together with earlier signing Dion Dublin. Big Ron provided vital impetus in the spring of 95, but the following season his stylish and classy team sheet rarely ‘clicked’ in the traditional sense. However, Ndlovu still scored some memorable goals for the Sky Blues during this period, including the first away player to secure a hat-trick at Anfield for 30 years. Other memorable goals in Sky Blue included a vital winning goal away at Wimbledon in a relegation six-pointer and a dynamic last minute rifling winner in a 3rd Round FA Cup tie at West Bromwich Albion.
Ndlovu gradually suffered due to inconsistency. The large and expansive side Gordon Strachan inherited, well equipped with attacking options, saw fierce competition for places from Whelan, Huckerby, Salako and Telfer. An increasingly cosmopolitan Premier league too would eventually see Coventry turn to Steve Froggatt and Moroccan internationals Mustapha Hadji and Youssef Chippo in the years following Ndlovu’s departure. He was known as ‘Nuddy’ by Coventry City fans and his other nicknames being ‘The Bulawayo Bullet’ and ‘Nsukuzonke‘ a isiNdebele word referring to his ability to turn on the style everytime/day he played.
Ndlovu eventually moved to Birmingham City in July 1997, signed by Trevor Francis for a fee of £1.6m. Ndlovu is generally considered a success by Blues fans, despite failing to reach the Premiership whilst “Nuddy” was in their ranks. Ndlovu’s old-school wing play helped propel the Blues to two successive play-off appearances in Nationwide Division One, though both appearances would ultimately end in semi-final defeats. After spending time on loan for Huddersfield Town in 2000, he moved to Sheffield United in February 2001.
Ndlovu also enjoyed success at Sheffield United and was known to their fans as ‘Nuddy’. With him playing on the right side of midfield, United managed to get to two semi-finals of major cup competitions, in addition to the final of the Championship (formerly Division 1) play-offs in the 2002–03 season.
He scored the winning goal against Leeds United in the 2002 Worthington Cup competition and scored a hat-trick against Cardiff City in 2003–04. He left the Blades in the summer of 2004 having scored 25 goals in 135 league games. In all, Ndlovu scored more than 90 goals during his 12 seasons and 338 appearances in the top two flights of the English football league.
In South Africa
Ndlovu signed for South African Premier Soccer League outfit Mamelodi Sundowns during the 2004 off-season. Thanda Royal Zulu have made one of their major signings before transfer window closes today by bringing former Mamelodi Sundowns striker Peter Ndlovu on board. Ndlovu was released from his contract by Thanda Royal Zulu at the end of 2008–09 after they were relegated from South Africa’s top division. He stayed for two years without playing football.
A veteran of 100 international games over a 15-year period, Ndlovu is the all-time leading scorer for Zimbabwe. He led his nation to qualification for their first African Cup of Nations (held in 2004 in Tunisia) as well as their second appearance at the 2006 tournament in Egypt. He played several international games alongside former Liverpool goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar in from 1991–1995.
Peter Ndlovu provided the funding for the senior national team’s stay in DRC when they were preparing for the game in Kinshasa, and also helped them in Burkina Faso when he scored two brilliant goals. During the 2004 Africa Nations Cup Ndlovu scored three brilliant goals. Ndlovu is well remembered in South Africa where he helped Zimbabwe overpower South Africa, in South Africa’s first international game after Apartheid which ended 4–1 with Ndlovu his brother Adam, the standout players. He also scored a hat-trick in Swaziland as King Mswati and his Queens where busy watching Ndlovu’s magic. Out of all the players who played for the Zim National Team Ndlovu is being regarded as the best alongside Norman Mapeza and Bruce Grobelaar. an injury spell around 1995 to 2000 so him operating at reduced efficiency level after which he returned with recharged batteries in the new millennium. His mature displays assured Zimbabwe of qualification to the Nations cup with a brace in the final qualifying game including a cheeky lob over the goalkeeper. This particular match was as tense as final games go but Ndlovu’s maturity in front of goal saved the day. Peter also featured for Zimbabwe in a defeat to South Africa in which 13 people died in Harare in a stampede. His best goals for the national team were arguably the one against Egypt in Harare in 1993 and against Angola around the same time at the National Sports Stadium in Harare. Both goals where from passes in the deep, and a thunderbolt take off in pace which shocked defenders among them legendary Hani Ramzy of Egypt who is now national team coach. Peter came into international recognition as an under-23 player ironically at the All Africa Games in Egypt where he competed with Africa’s best while teaming up with Zimbabwe’s golden under-23 generation only the second to qualify for All Africa games.
In 2011 Ndlovu became the assistant manager of the Zimbabwe national football team. After Peter Ndlovu recovered from the accident which killed his brother Adam, he stayed for a short time as Zimbabwe Under’s 23 coach and Assistant Coach for the national team. Peter Ndlovu was called back by Patrick Motsepe in July 2013 to Mamelodi Sundowns, he is now the Manager at this rich club. Since Peter Ndlovu’s arrival Mamelodi Sundowns are doing well they are currently sitting comfortably on top of the South Africa premier league. Peter Ndlovu is now working with Pitso Mosimane who is a great admirer of Peter Ndlvou.
Peter’s brothers, Adam and Madinda, were also international players. The brothers played on the streets of Makokoba, Zimbabwe, where they grew up. Peter also played in both his primary (Lotshe Pimary) and secondary (Mzilikazi) schools and his hometown team Highlanders before joining Coventry in 1991.
His surname is commonly mispronounced by British commentators and, as a result, fans as well. Throughout his career, he was referred to as ‘Und-luv’, when in fact, the pronunciation of his surname is closer to ‘End-lo-vu’.
Ndlovu was left in a “critical” condition in hospital after a car crash near the Victoria Falls Airport in Zimbabwe on 16 December 2012. Ndlovu’s BMW X5 had suffered a tyre blow out which caused it to come off the road and hit a tree. He suffered internal injuries, head injuries, broken ribs and a broken leg whilst his brother Adam, and a female passenger were killed. Ndlovu subsequently faced trial the following March for culpable homicide, with the prosecution claiming he was responsible for failing to control his car properly. He was acquitted in April 2013, with the court citing a lack of evidence to prove Ndlovu’s responsibility.
- Mamelodi Sundowns
- Premier Division
- Winner: 2005–06, 2006–07