BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
CAPS United midfield maestro Joel Ngodzo’s omission from the Zimbabwe CHAN squad last week drew widespread condemnation for coach Sunday Chidzambga, who has since resigned from the post.
The team was announced barely 24 hours after Ngodzo had left football fans spellbound with a magnificent show in the big Harare derby, where he scored his seventh goal of the season.
The player, popularly known as Josta, has been in top form so far this season and the Harare derby was just a platform on which he merely won over the few remaining naysayers.
And bowing to public pressure, the Warriors technical team eventually included the former FC Platinum and Highlanders player in the squad. However, Josta could not travel for the national assignment due to an expired passport.
But this is a player whose career was almost over reportedly due to alcohol and drug abuse, brushes with the law and general indiscipline following a mega money transfer to FC Platinum in 2011.
After he was rejected by Highlanders in 2014 for being overweight, Ngodzo joined CAPS United in 2015 and slowly got back to his best.
Ngodzo is arguably playing his best football at the moment.
“Football is all about focus and my focus has been doing my best every time I get into the field to play. And remember I have been playing football for over 10 years and one can only get better as they grow up, so I guess it’s also maturity. I would like to thank the CAPS United family and the coach Lloyd Chitembwe for having faith in me,” he said.
Ngodzo’s seven goals make him the third highest scorer in the league while he probably has the most assists so far having been a regular supplier this season.
The 30-year-old playmaker has set a target of 10 goals this season and is only three goals shy of that before the season reaches the halfway stage.
He is pleased.
“My target is to score at least 10 goals this season and having scored seven after 14 matches is brilliant for a midfielder. I am happy with my performances more so considering that it’s early in the season and there are many games still to be played,” Ngodzo said.
The technically gifted star comes from a footballing family with brothers Johannes, Petros and Zephaniah rising to prominence before him.
Johannes is touted as one of the most skilful midfielders to emerge from the local football scene.
Joel Ngodzo remained modest in the wake of a national team call-up which eventually came as a result of public outcry.
“I have been there before playing for the national team and I am always ready to play for my country. I played for Zimbabwe when I was much younger and I don’t mind being left out, I just want my country to do well,” he said.
The CAPS United star gave an update on his passport situation which he is expecting on Monday and could play the return CHAN fixture against Mauritius next week.
“Zifa is now assisting me with my passport and I have been told that it could be out by Monday. So I hope it will be out because I have been struggling to get it for myself,” he said.
While he is in the twilight of his career, Josta has identified his successor in the form of young CAPS United defensive midfielder Blessing Sarupinda.
Ngodzo revealed that he has been helping the 20-year-old prodigy and tips him to be better than him.
“I help him a lot at training. He is a very talented young player and his career is just beginning. I want him to be better than me and I believe that he is going to be a better player. Already he has done well for a player of his age and he is one for the future for Zimbabwe,” he said.