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#RealRecogniseReal: Praises for Johannes ‘Tshisa’ Ngodzo from Mbwando

By Walter Mafeking

He got the ball and I was already down going for a tackle Tshisa was stepping on the ball with left foot, jumped up with his right foot and rolled the ball between my legs with his studs. I missed everything, the man and the ball. I remember seeing the ball rolling on in front of my face lying on the ground.

This is what former Warriors defender George Mbwando remembers of his first interaction with former Highlanders’ dribbling wizard Johannes Ngodzo shared on his wall recently.

Mbwando who has shared several experiences in his illustrious career showered Tshisa, as he was affectionally known by Bosso fans, with praises as he reminisced on his days with Warriors.

Below is his memory of one of Zimbabwe’s best midfielders ever!!! Crazy football stories of our time!

Sometime in 2003 I went for national duty with the National team. It was the same programme every time, Monday evening everyone should be in camp. I arrived at Cresta lodge around 8 o’clock in the evening. As I was collecting my keys I saw a guy seating on a chair some metres away from the reception wearing a round hat, tumwe tuye tunopfekwa neboys repaJoza, biting a matchstick.

Also known as ‘Signature’ because of his unequalled ability to dribble so well.

I didn’t know him I’d never met him, he was very quiet he didn’t talk to anyone although there were a few players around him . He stood up and walked to the rooms, he had a limping step, step yeboys rekubhora, when he walked past me he just looked at me and nodded his head towards me and I did the same.

The following day on our way to training the guy was in the bus wearing his hat and biting a matchstick and I remember asking Gidiza who was sitting next me who that guy was and he said, “NguTshisa lo” started smiling and said nothing. He used to tie his shoelaces above his ankles. This time he removed his hat and no match stick.

In the national team training it was dog eat dog, you should mark your territory as early as possible, so I used to train with six iron studs. Many players knew that I never pulled my leg back in training, it was always hardcore. No one warned me about Tshisa, there was a small crowd who were cheering him every time he got the ball.

We were playing 5 vs 5 and I was playing against Tshisa’s team. He got the ball and I was already down going for a tackle, Tshisa was stepping on the ball with left foot, jumped up with his right foot and rolled the ball between my legs with his studs. I missed everything the man and the ball. I remember seeing the ball rolling on in front of my face lying on the ground and I twisted my ankle in the process and Tshisa was already bending the ball to the far post.

He got the ball again and this time I didn’t go down, I stayed on my feet, I wanted to get him the moment he stops the ball. This time he didn’t even stop the ball, his first touch was just rolling the ball between my legs with the studs and it was too late he was already behind me and I turned, at that moment he had rolled the ball again between my legs I’ve never seen a football player who could sign a ball like him.

I remember Rahman Gumbo stopping play for a moment because he was laughing a lot, l looked at him and he said “Ngu Tshisa lo.”

Johannes ‘Tshisa’ Ngodzo

After training he was wearing his hat again and match stick on the lips. I went into the bus and he looked at me smiling and said quietly “Sorry Bhudaz” and I said that’s how the game is played, no worries and we started speaking in Ndebele and he was a very nice guy and humble guy a rare talent, I was an instant Tshisa fan.

We played against Mali and it was fun, I even enjoyed watching him play, he danced with the ball, he had everything except speed ,a street footballer, he was pure talent, he matched Seidou Keita in every way on that day.

Unfortunately he stopped playing because of a knee injury. His name was Johannes Ngodzo, Tshisa wherever you are all the best, it was an honour playing with you in your short career. Crazy Stuff!!