Senior Sports Reporter
EXACTLY 18 years after limping off while on national duty in an AFCON qualifier against Eritrea, Johannes Ngodzo has finally set the record straight on his knee injury.
Ngodzo said it was not true he went to the national team carrying the injury from a social football contest.
The talented former Highlanders midfielder’s injury has been a subject of speculation with some claiming he aggravated his injury on national duty.
Bulawayo used to be a hive of social football matches during off season with a number of Premiership players taking part in money games.
The Horsepower tournaments were particularly a star attraction.
Tshisa, as he is affectionately known, limped off during a June 3, 2003, match which the Warriors, under Sunday Chidzambwa, won 2-0 at the National Sports Stadium through a Peter Ndlovu brace as they marched towards their maiden AFCON finals appearance in Tunisia.
Due to the injury, Ngodzo, who was a key member of the team alongside his Bosso teammates Thulani Ncube, Dazzy Kapenya and Richard Choruma, missed the trip to Tunisia as a result of the injury.
Even though he made a recovery from the injury, he was never the same player who dazzled the local football scene with his deft touches.
“I have heard all this nonsense that I was injured while playing social soccer in my hood,’’ he said.
“People can always say what they want but the truth is that I sustained that injury while representing my country.
“It’s just unfortunate, and even painful, that people would say such unsubstantiated claims.
“I remember, clearly, that when I went for that match, I had played literally all games for Highlanders and, maybe, fatigue had also taken its toll on me.
“Those close to me know and are aware that I was injured on national team duty, the other talk is just from people who have their own unknown agenda.’’
Earlier this week, the 2016 ZIFA Southern Region Division One championship-winning coach lambasted players who were violating lockdown orders by playing money games.