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Sports / Soccer

Peter Ndlovu English Premiership milestone beckons

by Staff reporter
04 Aug 2017 at 09:47hrs | Views
IT'S the month of August and African football has every reason to celebrate as the continent looks back at what was indeed an august achievement by a Zimbabwean.

On Wednesday 19 August 1992 at 9:10pm, Zimbabwe's celebrated former Warriors captain Peter "Nsukuzonke" Ndlovu, made history by being the first African footballer to play in the English Premier League (EPL) while turning out for Coventry City.

His touchdown on the English Premier League (EPL) arena that August is what Africa would call a grand entry to stardom. It was the beginning of a new era, not only for Zimbabwe.

Ndlovu's club debut came against Tottenham Hotspurs in a match that he featured for only 20 minutes in the process kicking the ball for the first time on English soil.

A seemingly shy yet talented teenager, Nsukuzonke brought the stadium into a halt. Here was a lad from Zimbabwe in the heart of England, ready to show the owners of the game his ball wizardry.

As Ndlovu recounted in a recent interview, the month of August remains dear to him.

"I treasure that and I respect that. It's just a big thing for me," Ndlovu recently told BBC.

He said nothing humbles him more than the memory of making history in the EPL.

"This is where the big time started. At that time there were so many black players but if you stand out to be the first African player to play in the EPL it really means a lot," he said.

His first starting and full-time match came away to Sheffield on Wednesday 2 September 1992 and this also coincided with his first goal for Coventry City.

The Blues fans began to get excited about their new boy.  Lest we forget, his blistering pace and darting runs made him a tough customer for most defenders.

In his debut season, Ndlovu made 32 appearances and scored 7 goals, at a rate of a goal every 325 minutes or every four games or so for his whole career average at Coventry.

Ndlovu or "Nuddy", as he would affectionate become known to the Blues fans,  stayed with Coventry for six years.

His greatest moments in that period would come against Liverpool at Anfield where he was the first and only player to score a hat trick away to Liverpool on  4 March 1995. His record would last 14 years, until it was broken by Arsenal's Andrey Asharvin in April 2009.

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