FORMER Warriors skipper Peter Ndlovu, tennis legend Byron Black and the late football great Freddy Mkwesha, the Tsimba brothers, Kennedy and the late Richard, are likely to be among the five athletes who will be inducted into the Zimbabwe Hall of Fame tonight during the Annual National Sports Awards banquet in Harare. The Sports Commission have decided to induct a second batch of yesteryear greats into the Hall of Fame after they inducted the first batch of athletes in 2005.
Dynamos legend George Shaya, former sprint king Artwell Mandaza, former shooting star David Westerhout, cricketer Dave Houghton, former diver Evan Stewart, former bowler, the late Florence Kennedy, former golfers Dennis Watson and Collin Harvey and former rugby player Ian Robertson are the first athletes to have been inducted into the Hall of Fame.
The “Golden Girls” hockey team which won gold at the Olympic Games in Moscow in 1980 was also inducted into the Hall of Fame at the same time with these legends.
However, the Sports Commission is set to recognise five more athletes in the land’s highest honour bestowed to athletes who would have serviced their particular discipline with distinction and honour.
Last month, Sports Commission during the unveiling of the ANSA nominees ceremony, said they were still in the planning stages and were going to honour the deserving athletes next year.
But yesterday they made a U-turn and announced that the ceremony to honour former great and retired sporting icons for having excelled in their disciplines whether they are still alive or posthumously will coincide with this year’s ANSA.
Sports Commission corporate communications officer Tirivashe Nheweyembwa said they are glad to be adding more former athletes into the Hall of Fame.
“This is the highest form of honour that any country may bestow on its yesteryear athletes and officials and we are happy to be inducting more of them into our Hall of Fame,” said Nheweyembwa.
Ndlovu led the the Warriors to their maiden appearance at the Africa Cup of Nations in Tunisia in 2004 and inspired them again in Egypt two years later. He was one of the longest serving African players in England where he played for Sheffield United and Coventry City.
The late Mkwesha, who died last week, was the first black Zimbabwean to play football in Europe.
The Tsimba brothers were inducted into the international Rugby Board of Fame a few years ago and now stand to be inducted locally following their fine achievements for the Sables.
Former Davis Cup player Byron, who formed the core of the Zimbabwe Davis Cup team with his young brother Wayne, was an accomplished player who was ranked the world’s number one in doubles in February 1994 with his partner and was a doubles finalist in other major tournaments such as the 1994 and 2001 Australian Opens and 1996 Wimbledon among his career highlights.