By Simbarashe Musaki
MKHOKHELI Dube’s pace, talent and an unmatched enthusiasm in front of goal propelled him through football ranks to become a darling of soccer fans in Zimbabwe and the United States of America, where he was inducted in Michigan Bucks Hall of Fame for his efforts for the Major League Soccer (MLS) franchise.
Without scratching the surface, The BusinessConnect hooked up with Mkhokheli Dube, popularly known as Mshoza/ Mkhoza, to dig up his rise to stardom
Dube, a boyhood supporter of Highlanders FC was born on June 18, 1983, in Bulawayo. He attended Mahlabezulu Primary School, Gloss High School, Pumula High School and Mzilikazi High School.
At Secondary school, Dube, who was introduced to football by his father, Main Dube, after seeing him as the most promising athlete in the family, played alongside his best friend Honour Gombami, Castro Ndebele, Vusimuzi Nyoni and Stanford Ncube.
His first junior club was Tshabalala Pirates coached by the late Dube “Dread’ in 1996 before moving to Richard Ndlovu coached Dunlop FC juniors in 1997 joining the likes of Bruce Tshuma and Thamsanqa Mvundla.
“I was born on 18 June 1983 and I started playing soccer while at primary school and my father was my cheerleader. I then played for Tshabalala and Dunlop FC juniors in 1996 and 1997 respectively,” said Dube.
In 1997, Dube joined Highlanders FC juniors then coached by the late Benjamin Moyo and he scored prolifically, leading to his elevation to the senior team in 1999 playing alongside the late Adam ‘Adamski” Ndlovu, Thulani ‘Biya’ Ncube, Charles ‘Chief’ Chilufya, Johannes “Signature’ Ngodzo, Chewe Mulenga and Dazzy Kapenya, among others.
He helped Highlanders FC to a treble as the team ended the premiership title drought, winning PSL championship consecutively in 2000, 2001 and 2002, not forgetting the ZIFA Unity Cup in 2000 and the Independence Trophy in 2002.
In 2002, he did not disappoint his paymaster by scoring 12 goals and won the Highlanders FC Golden Boot Award.
Dube, who was an elegant and a good ball controller played for the Under 20 national team, which won the Vodacom tournament in 2001 and 2002, and as Nelson Matongorere’s trusted player up front, he scored 9 goals for the team in 17 matches.
He also played for the Under 23 national team and his name was on the score sheet 10 times in 23 matches.
His senior national team debut was at the ‘4 Nations Tournament’ in Botswana in 2000.
Dube became an integral part of Zimbabwe’s national teams, rising to international attention during Nations Tournaments and won the hearts of USA clubs where he got a chance to play alongside some of the world’s greatest players such as former Napoli captain Ousman Dabo, Corry Gibbs, Sharle Joseph and Matt Reis after leaving Bosso in 2004.
In 2004, he signed for Lindsey Wilson FC and continued with his strong performance, helping his club to win NAIA IN 2005.
A year later, he was a key player at Michigan Bucks FC and his team was crowned PDL champions prior to moving to Delaware Dynasty FC and Coastal Carolina FC.
In 2007-2008, Dube’s scoring spree continued at New England Revolution FC and was the top goalscorer with 11 goals and 8 assists, helping the club to win 2008 Superliga Cup.
His last illustrious performance in American football league was in 2012, playing for Chicago FC and had a successful stint raising Zimbabwe flag high by winning the 2005 Michigan Bucks top goal scorer, a record four-time player of the week in 2007, Big South player of the year 2007, 2008 Rookie of the year finalist, 2009 new England Revolution FC top goal scorer and assist, 2010 inducted in Michigan Bucks Hall of Fame.
“In America, I did not disappoint as I played for the country’s biggest clubs for 9 years and winning several awards,” he said.
In 2012, he joined South Africa’s Amazulu FC, joining fellow countrymen Tapiwa Kapini, Ramson Zhuwawo and Carlington Nyadombo.
Dube returned to Zimbabwe in 2013 and signed a two years contract with Chicken Inn FC and helped the team to win the NetOne Charity Cup together with the likes of Clement Matawu, Devine Lunga, Zephania Ngodzo and Kuda Mahachi.
In 2015 he joined Bulawayo City FC and that same year he missed a chance to play in Vietnam after a Hanoi club, which had invited him for trials later announced that it was signing free agents only.
In 2017, he was snatched by FC Platinum to partner with one of the country’s most decorated striker Takesure Chinyama and the club became indomitable, winning the PSL championship that same, and also in 2018, 2019 and the PSL Challenge Cup tournament in 2017 and 2018.
Dube who is a holder of Brazilian Futball (BFut) level 4 coaching certificate, CAF certificate and Zimbabwe level 3 coaching certificate, rejoined the club which gave him fame (Highlanders) and is expected to continue with his scoring magic when the season resumes next year.
By Simbarashe Musaki