HARARE – For most Zimbabwean football lovers the name Butholezwe Ncube does not ring a bell but former Warriors assistant coach Joey “Mafero” Antipas believes he has unearthed a gem.
Antipas believes Ncube can be the next Warriors midfield enforcer in the mould of Willard Katsande, who called time on his international career after the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals in Gabon.
The AmaZulu coach recently recommend the forgotten Ovidy Karuru to Warriors interim coach Norman Mapeza for last month’s 2019 Afcon qualifier against Liberia.
Karuru had last played for the Warriors way back in 2014 but put in a decent effort after he was introduced as a substitute in the second half against the Lone Stars.
The former Kaizer Chiefs midfielder was then selected to be the captain for the Warriors side at the ongoing Cosafa Castle Cup in South Africa, where he has already scored five goals in three matches.
“Butho is a great player and when I came to AmaZulu he was one of the first foreigners I brought to the club,” Antipas told the Daily News on Sunday.
“He had a good season and played 90 percent of the games; he was sidelined a bit because of injury and suspension but definitely he will come good in the season to come.
“I recommend that coach Mapeza and his technical team take a look at him because definitely he is one to watch for the future for the national team and can easily fill the void left by . . . Katsande.”
The 25-year-old holding midfielder was playing for Tsholotsho in the Castle Lager Premiership before he was signed by Usuthu in July last year.
However, his ball-winning skills and crunching tackles have made Ncube a darling of the Durban-based side that is hoping to win promotion from the South Africa National First Division next season after finishing in fifth place.
Antipas’ side had a slow start to the season but managed to turn around their season and only finished two points outside the play-off positions.
Meanwhile, after managing to resurrect Karuru’s career at AmaZulu, Antipas is convinced the former Boulogne and OH Leuven midfielder is still a valuable asset for the Warriors.
“Ovidy is a homeboy; he’s work rate is just up there. He has played in France and Belgium and after he terminated his contract with Kaizer I would not scratch my head to sign him,” the former Motor Action coach said.
“He came to AmaZulu managed to rediscover his form and now he’s gotten back into the Warriors fold and no doubt he still has a lot rolled on his sleeve for both club and national team.”