Football - Absa Premiership 2014/15 - Black Aces v Orlando Pirates - Mbombela Stadium


Fungai Muderere
WHOEVER  penned the  Japanese Proverb: “Fall seven times and stand up eight” could have had Orlando Pirates forward Tendai Ndoro’s name in mind.

Ndoro, fondly known as Fire, previously struggled for game time at the Sea Robbers, a development that saw his critics saying he was not going to make an impression at the Soweto giants where a number of foreign players that include Zimbabwe’s Ralph Matema , Takesure Chinyama and Gilbert Mushangazhike also failed to set the football world alight.

The list of foreign players, mainly strikers, who failed to fire also includes bustling Zambian forward Collins Mbesuma , DRC’s Blaise Lelo Mbele, Nigeria’s Ezenwa Otorogu , Ethopian Tefera Fikru and Portuguese striker Louis Boa Morte.

“I admit it hurts to be on the sidelines. Like any other player I want to be in the starting line-up. That is why I never gave up. I had to continue working hard and guarded against thinking that foreign players will always struggle at Orlando Pirates. The coach (Eric Tinkler) had his plans for the team. Glory to God as I have finally got a chance to prove myself. I have done what strikers are hired to do and I believe through the grace of the Almighty God I will continue doing well for the club,” said Ndoro.

Tinkler says he has never doubted the ability of the Zimbabwean international who has had to endure a frustrating time on the bench but is showing his ability once given the chance.

Speaking after Pirates’ win over Kaizer Chiefs last weekend Tinkler said:

“We have always known and respected Tendai’s abilities. Give him a chance in front of goal and he will bury it. I was particularly impressed with his work ethic, he didn’t stop running and always looked for the ball. That is a sign of confidence and this is the confidence we hope we can build on to end the season on a good note.”

Indeed the nimble footed Ndoro seemed to be a slow walker, but he never walked backwards.

The former Chicken Inn striker scored a brace last Saturday to help the Buccaneers beat Kaizer Chiefs 2-0 in the Nedank Cup. Consequently he was named man of the match in the Soweto Derby courtesy of his impressive performance and South Africa’s  media headlines read, Sunday World: Ndoro sinks Amakhosi , Sunday Independent: Virtuoso Ndoro two-goal hero, Sunday Times: Ndoro sinks Chiefs, City Press : Ndoro Spanks Chiefs

“Scoring for my team in the famed Soweto Derby was not a mean achievement. I’m actually feeling on top of the world. I dedicated those two fantastic goals to my son Cristiano Valentino whom I warmly call CR7,”said Fire who is known to be an admirer of Cristiano Ronaldo,  a Portuguese professional footballer who plays for Spanish club Real Madrid and the Portugal national team.

No wonder just like Ronaldo, Ndoro, spots jersey number seven at Pirates. He also had a soft spot for the jersey number during his time at Chicken Inn.

It does not need any chameleonic caution to say football has given Fire fame but what about fortune?

“I’m a proud owner of two houses here in South Africa. I have one in Midrand and Kensington. I also have a four-roomed house in Bulawayo’s high density suburb of Cowdry Park. It’s all about property ownership. The likes of Benjani Mwaruwari invested in foreign lands they are able to take care of their families after they called it time in the game of football,” he said.

Midrand and Kensington are some of the leafy suburbs in Mzansi that are located in Johannesburg. They are however far removed from eGoli but have become popular areas to live in, offering affordable housing set in wide open spaces where it is still relatively easy to access the main hubs of business.

Now resident in Kensington, Ndoro counts childhood screen hero and former Yizo Yizo actor “Javas” as one of his neighbours.

“I didn’t know that Javas was my neighbour. I only discovered it recently. He was my childhood screen hero,” said Ndoro.

Married to Laiza Cristiana, Tendai (28) a twin brother to Mzansi’s Witbank Spurs goalminder Takudzwa , who had earlier on been linked with cash rich Mamelodi Sundowns before Pirates snapped him,   was the 2013 local league’s  Top Goal Scorer and Soccer Star of the Year finalist.

The Zimbabwe international reportedly signed a three-year deal <> at Pirates to join a strike-force with Kermit Erasmus, Lehlohonolo Majoro, Thamsanqa Gabuza and Lennox Bacela. However,  Erasmus is now based in France.

Tendai, who grew up in Bulawayo high density suburb of Nketa 8,  once had playing stints in Botswana and at local lower Division One clubs that include Railstars and the now defunct Kujatana.