Having first graced the South African football scene 14 years ago, Black Leopards veteran midfielder Robert Ng’ambi is one of the few players to have played SA topflight football for over a decade.
Ng’ambi arrived at Leopards in 2005 as a 19-year-old from Zimbabwe Premier Soccer League club, Monomotapa United.
The move to the Zimbabwean side from Bakili Bullets was initiated by European scouts who adviced him to move from the Malawian Premier League to a more exposed Zimbabwean League.
But it did not take 3 months before he was recruited by the Lidoda Duvha scouts and signed on the dotted line. His never-die-attitude and commitment made him a darling with the Leopards supporters during his 7 years stay before being pouched by Platinum Stars in 2011.
He went on to play over 200 professional games for the then North West-based side (Now Cape Umoya) before they were sold in 2018.
Now in his second season back at Lidoda Duvha, The Flames former captain has credited his upbringing to his longevity in topflight football.
“Although I know that age is no longer on my side what I know is that if you love football you love football it doesn’t matter your age but for me I just want to give everything that I have especially now that I am going towards the end of my career,” says Ng’ambi, who’s now 33.
“My job now is to guide the players that are coming through and leave a legacy.
“I don’t think this generation is as disciplined as we were then but then it also depends on which background you come from as a player, how you have been raised in your family it’s not something that you can change now.
“I was helped because I come from a background where my parents were very strict and they didn’t want me to do things that I will regret in future so I think you also have to bring yourself along because when you play football you are not just playing football, you are representing your family”
“Discipline is very key, there are a lot of talented players nowadays but one thing that they lack is discipline and dedication,” he points out.
“There are a lot of players that I have always looked up to in terms of discipline, there is Teko Modise, I found Tinashe (Nengomasha) here, (Reneilwe) Letsholonyane – those are players that performed season in and season out because of discipline so those are players that you have to look up to not only on the field but outside of football because discipline is key,” Ng’ambi adds.
He’s been a regular since the arrival of coach Luc Eymael in September.
By Ofhani Munyai