Biya goes down memory lane

HE is regarded as one of the best defenders to have donned the black and white jersey at Highlanders.

Sukoluhle Mthethwa
Sports Reporter

Former Highlanders captain Thulani Ncube who was popularly known as Biya, became a household name among Bosso followers before leaving for South Africa and eventually the United States at the peak of his career.

He rose to become a great defender that at one point he was captain of Bosso, the Under-23 national team and the Warriors.

Biya now based in United States, celebrated his 36th birthday yesterday and he opened up to Southern Eye about his rise tofame and dreams and his love for the game in Zimbabwe.

He went to Inzwananzi Primary School before going to Inyanda Secondary School.

While still at primary, he played for a local team in Gwabalanda called Cambridge Stars.

“I played for Cambridge Stars when I was 11 years old,” he said. “I played there for three years then I moved to play for Zimbabwe Saints when I was in Form One and I was 14 years that time.

“I played there for two years then I moved to Highlanders juniors.

“That time I played as a forward and sometimes as a midfielder.

“At Zimbabwe Saints I played with Richard Choruma and one of my best friends, Mlamuleli Ncube who ended up playing for Saints’ first team and Hwange.

“I played under Ali Baba Dube for one year and when he went back to Highlanders I went with him. I moved to Bosso juniors in 1993 when I was in Form 3.”

Biya was a versatile player as he went on to play as a defender.

“Ali Baba is the one who moved me to play as a defender,” he said.

“I played with Richard Choruma, Gift Lunga (Jr) we moved at the same time to Bosso juniors.

“I played with the likes of Melusi Ndebele, Zenzo Moyo, Melusi Sibanda, Master Masiku, Siza Khoza, Mkhuphali Masuku, Simon Sibanda and Kelvin Maseko.

“I also played with the late Lenny Gwata and Ozzie Sibanda who ended up playing for Hwange.”

During Biya’s time Highlanders proved to be unstoppable winning three championships.

“I won three championships. Rahman Gumbo was the best coach to me,” he said.

“The guys I played with were very supportive, that is why it was so easy to captain that team.

“I won the championship in the 1998-1999 season, 2000 and 2001 and I played under the late Eddie May.

“There was no better feeling than lifting that trophy — just imagine three times.

“I think team work contributed. All those guys used to fight for each other. We were like a family.

“I left Highlanders in 2002 to join South African side Ajax Cape Town.”

Not only was Biya a calculative central defender, he also initiated attacks and could score crucial goals as well in the process.

He also possessed good leadership skills when he captained three sides simultaneously.

Biya sponsored a football tournament for youngsters in the city last year.

Despite his career being cut short by injury, Biya is remembered as one of the players who was committed to Highlanders and to the national team.

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