Defender Mbongeni ‘Mbola’ Ndlovu is the youngest of the three Ndlovu brothers who have turned for the club as defenders – although in different generations.
The eldest brother Bekithemba ‘Super’ who is now in the technical set up of the club was brought to the Highlanders first team by legendary former player and coach Madinda Ndlovu back in 1997 as a 21-year old and excelled as a right-back.
It is Madinda who also promoted Mbongeni to the Highlanders first team from the club’s developmental side, Bosso 90 in 2018 as a 20-year-old youngster.
The other brother, Dumisani ‘Fazo’ joined the club in 2012, as one of former coach Kelvin Kaindu’s recruits in the first year of his three-year stint as the Bosso gaffer.
He served Bosso for three years, helping the club to win the coveted Mbada Diamonds Cup in 2013, and finishing as league runner-up to rivals Dynamos in 2012 and 2013.
During that period, Dumisani, who is considered by many to be the least talented of the three Ndlovu brothers, together with then club captain Innocent Mapuranga formed one of the memorable central defence partnerships in the club’s recent history.
Although Bekithemba is the most decorated of the three, having won four championships and a number of knockout tournaments with the club between 1997 and 2004, also representing the national team at the highest level, Mbongeni believes he is the most talented of the three.
Bekithemba was part of the first-ever warriors squad to compete in the prestigious Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) tournament in 2004.
However, all those achievements don’t intimidate Mbongeni, who believes with the right attitude, he can surpass Bekithemba’s achievements.
“I am the most talented among the three of us even though Bekithemba has achieved many things in his football career.
“With the right attitude, I know I will achieve more because age is still on my side,” said Mbongeni.
This, however, comes after Bekithemba told a local weekly publication – the Sunday News in 2018 that he doesn’t believe his younger brothers are better than him, challenging them to work hard and surpass his achievements.
“I will never agree that they [Dumisani and Mbongeni] are better than me, I won four championships with Highlanders so it pushes them to work harder.
“I want Mbongeni to achieve more with Highlanders, it’s a challenge to him to achieve more than me, and he has to work hard.
“He has already played for the Junior national team, it shows he has a bright future, I think he will play for the national team, ” said the former club captain.
Ironically, Mbongeni grew up admiring Gift Lunga Jnr and Bruce Kangwa who played with Bekithemba and Dumisani respectively.
He admired their amazing work rate on the pitch.
However, his brokers have always been supportive and when he broke the news of his promotion to the first team in 2018 they lectured him on hard work and discipline.
“They advised me to always work very hard if I wanted to achieve my dream of being a professional player. I remember they also told me to always maintain discipline on and off the pitch, ” said Mbongeni.
The 22-year-old left-back has established himsel as a vital cog in the team, becoming a regular feature in the team’s first eleven.
He has grown to enjoy the pressure and responsibility that comes with playing for a club of Highlanders’ magnitude.
“I love the fact that Highlanders is a big club and it has a large fan base. The fans are very demanding so each game is a final. There is no room for mistakes, ” he added.
In his first two years with the Bosso first team, Mbongeni has won the Independence and Chibuku Super Cups, also scoring two goals for the Highlanders.