FORMER WARRIORS US-based midfielder Joseph Ngwenya has long been forgotten after he returned to his homeland in 2010 and trained with local clubs in Bulawayo that included Chicken Inn, Railstars and Bantu Rovers.
Ngwenya (32) is a product of the now defunct Njube Sundowns juniors.
The media-shy Plumtree-born former US Major League Soccer player returned in 2010 from DC United, his last club in the US top-flight league and trained locally mostly with Railstars — his last club before he went to the US where he played college football for Coastal Carolina Chanticleers from 2000-2003.
At the time in 2011, Ngwenya told our sister paper NewsDay Sport that he was returning to DC United as they prepared for their 2011-2012 season, but said he still had some issues to attend to back home.
The midfielder-cum-striker, who attended Mzilikazi High School and led them to the 1999 National Association of Secondary School Heads championship was to stay in the country for some time and few know that he has returned to the US and has not hung up his boots, making waves in the US Pro-League where he is playing for Richmond Kickers, based in Richmond, Virginia.
Ngwenya returned to the US and signed for Kickers in April this year and was last month honoured by the US Pro as one of the top performers in the league and was selected to the All-League First Team with three teammates, goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra and defenders Henry Kalungi and William Yomby.
“Richmond newcomer Joseph Ngwenya cemented himself as the club’s leading scorer this season, notching his 11th goal in the Kickers’ 1-0 win over Dayton in the USL Pro Quarter-finals. Adding six assists for 28 points overall, the Zimbabwean international brought eight years of MLS experience to Richmond, and finished ninth in the league with 23 points during the regular season,” the Kickers website last month read.
The dreadlocked Ngwenya, who never played in the local top league, caught the attention of the former Warriors Brazilian gaffer José Valinhos and was named in the national team for the 2010 World Cup qualifiers starting against Guinea and played his first home game against Namibia.
At Coastal Carolina, Ngwenya was top goalscorer in the National Collegiate Athletic Association with 21 goals.
In his college years in the US he also played in the USL Premier Development League (PDL) for Cape Cod Crusaders, a team he led to the PDL title banging in 17 goals in 13 matches.
In 2004 he joined MSL side Los Angeles Galaxy and two years later Columbus Crew.
He held trials with Spanish First Division side Getafe in 2006 and the following year joined US side Houston Dynamo.
A major highlight of his career was when he trained with German giants FC Bayern Munich in 2008 and played in the unofficial German Supercup against Borussia Dortmund.
He rejoined Houston Dynamo in 2010 before he moved to DCUnited.