Sikhumbuzo Moyo Senior Sports Reporter
FORMER Highlanders skipper Dazzy Kapenya has lashed out at Njabulo ‘Tshiki’ Ncube for hiding behind the tribal card as the reason why the club offloaded him at the end of last season.Kapenya, nicknamed Walker Texas Ranger because of his no nonsense attitude during his glittering career at Highlanders in which he also scooped the 2002 Castle Lager Premier Soccer League Soccer Star of the Year award, said it was so unfortunate that an institution as big as Highlanders has been drawn into disrepute by a bitter former player.
Ncube last Friday torched a tribal storm after he was quoted by our sister paper B-Metro accusing the Amahlolanyama leadership of being polarised and treating him with disdain.
“Despite having a Ndebele upbringing, in Bulawayo to be precise, at Highlanders I wasn’t treated well. I was treated with disdain, I’m Bulawayo born using my mother’s surname. The leaders at the club are polarised and I was a victim of my real surname. Why was I denied my last year’s December salary, winning bonuses, TM Challenge Cup appearance fees?” Ncube told B-Metro.
The former Soccer Star of the Year finalist however conveniently chose not to talk about his wayward behaviour that led to the club showing him the door. In nine starts he failed to find the back of the net having been brought back to the club by coach Kelvin Kaindu and his technical team to add firepower and creativity as the club’s potency became an issue.
“I’m not really sure what triggered those tribal outbursts by JB (Ncube) but I’ve never known Highlanders to be a discriminatory club. We played alongside guys from Harare, Mutare, Hwange, Zambia and never at any given time did we see the club treating us differently,” said Kapenya.
He said it was quite unfortunate that Ncube, who accused the club of giving him a raw deal because of his surname (Bvunzawabaya), had chosen to soil the club’s good public standing which could even harm the image of the club in the eyes of the corporate world.
“While I might not know how things are at the moment, Highlanders was and I believe is a non discriminatory club. However, maybe he was indeed tribally abused by someone there although I doubt it very much,” said Kapenya.
Article 1.2 of the club’s Constitution reads “the club is apolitical and prohibits any form of political, religious, sexual, ethnic, tribal and racial discrimination.”
A fuming Highlanders chief executive officer Ndumiso Gumede vehemently denied that the club was pushing a tribal agenda and actually fell short of describing Ncube as a tribalist himself.
“Highlanders is the only cosmopolitan club that I know, we’ve had Indians, Coloureds, Whites, Tongas, Kalangas, Shonas playing for us. Why does he think his tribe is more important than others? It’s really so unfortunate that the boy thinks a club as big as Highlanders is run along tribal lines but the generality of Zimbabweans know the truth,” said Gumede, speaking from Victoria Falls yesterday where he had gone with the team on a team building tour.