Peter Ndlovu (born 25 February 1973) is a Zimbabwean former professional footballer and is currently the Team Manager at Mamelodi Sundowns F.C. a Premier Soccer League club in South Africa.
Peter Ndlovu originally comes from Binga district in North Western Zimbabwe. He was however born in Bulawayo, and played professionally as a striker from 1988 until 2011. He played for Highlanders in Zimbabwe, for Coventry City in the Premier League and in the Football League for Birmingham City, Huddersfield Town and Sheffield United. In South Africa he played for Mamelodi Sundowns, Thanda Royal Zulu, Highfield United and Black Mambas. He was capped 100 times by his country, scoring 38 international goals.
Ndlovu was originally spotted by John Sillett, prior to his official signing from Highlanders by Terry Butcher in July 1991. He made an immediate impact by scoring away at Arsenal and then became the toast of Highfield Road with a thunderbolt winner against Aston Villa in November 1991, endearing him to the Sky Blues fans.
Although he would go on to play a major role at several clubs in the Championship, it is his time at Coventry he is particularly known for given the club's top flight status at that time. He would play a significant role in two major teams, Bobby Gould's attacking team of 1992/93 and the expansive squad of the mid and late 1990s, during which time Ron Atkinson and then Gordon Strachan managed the club. Bobby Gould's team in 1992–93 are widely regarded as under-achievers, finishing 15th in the first Premier League season, having spent much of the season in considerably higher positions.
On 19 August 1992, Peter Ndlovu made history by being the first African footballer to play in the new English Premier League. Having acquired the legendary striker Micky Quinn in November 1992 they continued what had already been a blistering start, with away wins at Tottenham Hotspur (2–0) Sheffield Wednesday (2–1) and Wimbledon (2–1) to add to already impressive home wins against Middlesbrough (2–1). By the early autumn the Sky Blues briefly topped the inaugural Premier league and would only lose five league games prior to Christmas. The addition of Micky Quinn to the squad led to further outstanding home wins against Aston Villa (3–0) and Liverpool (5–1). In February 1993, they won 4-2 against title chasing, big spending Blackburn Rovers. However, a barren final few weeks of the season and a run in that would see back to back games against Man Utd, Liverpool, Chelsea and Leeds Utd saw them slip from fifth in the league in February to 15th in the final table. The season finished with a thrilling performance from Ndlovu in a 3–3 draw against Leeds Utd. Ndlovu was a key component throughout the season in Gould's fast pacey front line which included John Williams, Kevin Gallacher (until his departure to Blackburn) and Robert Rosario, who formed a worthy partnership with Micky Quinn. Peter Ndlovu's goal against Norwich City, in a 1–1 draw in late September, was a signature piece of Ndlovu flair which earned him the Match of Day 'Goal of the month' competition.
The 1993–94 season would see a managerial shift in the autumn as Gould resigned and was succeeded by his assistant Phil Neal - but not before the legendary curtain raiser to the second Premier League season. Bobby Gould's first day gamble would be to play without traditional full backs. This novel formation gave Peter Ndlovu full licence to play a large part in a memorable opening day triumph in the capital. The 3–0 victory at Highbury over Arsenal saw Micky Quinn score a hat-trick in front of the newly refurbished North Bank. It also ensured that the Sky Blues made one of their customary lightning starts to the season, so synonymous of this era. After an early Ian Wright threat on the Coventry goal, it was Ndlovu who made a darting run into the Arsenal penalty box which produced a clumsy challenge from Lee Dixon. The resulting penalty was calmly converted by Micky Quinn for the opener. The second half would see Ndlovu and Roy Wegerle lead the Gunners defence a merry dance, Wegerle in particular enjoying possibly his finest game for the club. So shocked were Arsenal by the 3–0 defeat that manager George Graham cancelled the proposed post-match lap of honour at the final whistle, which was to parade their League Cup and FA Cup silverware. The explanation given by Arsenal was 'Reasons beyond the club's control!'. It is reported that Coventry rejected a £4million offer from Arsenal for Ndlovu during the 1993-94 season - a deal which would have made Ndlovu the most expensive player signed by an English club. The dramatic resignation of Bobby Gould, after a 5–1 mauling at Loftus Road in October 1993, was reputedly inspired by the possible imminent sale of Ndlovu to a top six club.
However, Ndlovu stayed but the 11th-place finish secured that season was not repeated in the 1994–95 campaign. Phil Neal was replaced by Ron Atkinson in February. Big Ron was credited with saving the club from relegation in the spring of 1995, and brought in Gordon Strachan as his assistant. This second significant phase for Ndlovu would once again promise much - the 'new era' of big money signings heralded by Atkinson's appointment saw the arrival of Huckerby, Whelan, Salako and McAllister together with Neal's £2million signing Dion Dublin. Big Ron provided vital impetus early on, but the following season his stylish and classy team sheet rarely 'clicked' in the traditional sense. However, Ndlovu still scored some memorable goals for the Sky Blues during this period, including the first away player to secure a hat-trick at Anfield for 30 years. Other memorable goals in Sky Blue included a vital winning goal away at Wimbledon in a relegation six-pointer and a dynamic last minute rifling winner in a 3rd Round FA Cup tie at West Bromwich Albion.
Ndlovu gradually suffered due to inconsistency. The large and expansive side Gordon Strachan inherited, well equipped with attacking options, saw fierce competition for places from Whelan, Huckerby, Salako and Telfer. An increasingly cosmopolitan Premier league too would eventually see Coventry turn to Steve Froggatt and Moroccan internationals Mustapha Hadji and Youssef Chippo in the years following Ndlovu's departure. He was known as 'Nuddy' by Coventry City fans and his other nicknames being 'The Bulawayo Bullet' and 'Nsukuzonke' a isiNdebele word referring to his ability to turn on the style everytime/day he played.
Ndlovu eventually moved to Birmingham City in July 1997, signed by Trevor Francis for a fee of £1.6m. Ndlovu is generally considered a success by Blues fans, despite failing to reach the Premiership whilst "Nuddy" was in their ranks. Ndlovu's old-school wing play helped propel the Blues to two successive play-off appearances in Nationwide Division One, though both appearances would ultimately end in semi-final defeats. After spending time on loan for Huddersfield Town in 2000, he moved to Sheffield United in February 2001.
Ndlovu also enjoyed success at Sheffield United and was known to their fans as 'Nuddy'. With him playing on the right side of midfield, United managed to get to two semi-finals of major cup competitions, in addition to the final of the Championship (formerly Division 1) play-offs in the 2002–03 season.
He scored the winning goal against Leeds United in the 2002 Worthington Cup competition and scored a hat-trick against Cardiff City in 2003–04. He left the Blades in the summer of 2004 having scored 25 goals in 135 league games. In all, Ndlovu scored more than 90 goals during his 12 seasons and 338 appearances in the top two flights of the English football league.
In South Africa
Ndlovu signed for South African Premier Soccer League outfit Mamelodi Sundowns during the 2004 off-season. Thanda Royal Zulu have made one of their major signings before transfer window closes today by bringing former Mamelodi Sundowns striker Peter Ndlovu on board. Ndlovu was released from his contract by Thanda Royal Zulu at the end of 2008–09 after they were relegated from South Africa's top division. He stayed for two years without playing football.
In 2011 Ndlovu became the assistant manager of the Zimbabwe national football team. After Peter Ndlovu recovered from the accident which killed his brother Adam, he stayed for a short time as Zimbabwe Under's 23 coach and Assistant Coach for the national team. Peter Ndlovu was called back by Patrick Motsepe in July 2013 to Mamelodi Sundowns, he is now the Manager at this rich club. Since Peter Ndlovu's arrival Mamelodi Sundowns are doing well they are currently sitting comfortably on top of the South Africa premier league. Peter Ndlovu is now working with Pitso Mosimane who is a great admirer of Peter Ndlvou.
Peter's brothers, Adam and Madinda, were also international players. The brothers played on the streets of Makokoba, Zimbabwe, where they grew up. Peter also played in both his primary (Lotshe Pimary) and secondary (Mzilikazi) schools and his hometown team Highlanders before joining Coventry in 1991.
His surname is commonly mispronounced by British commentators and, as a result, fans as well. Throughout his career, he was referred to as 'Und-luv', when in fact, the pronunciation of his surname is closer to 'End-lo-vu'.
Ndlovu was left in a "critical" condition in hospital after a car crash near the Victoria Falls Airport in Zimbabwe on 16 December 2012. Ndlovu's BMW X5 had suffered a tyre blow out which caused it to come off the road and hit a tree. He suffered internal injuries, head injuries, broken ribs and a broken leg whilst his brother Adam, and a female passenger were killed. Ndlovu subsequently faced trial the following March for culpable homicide, with the prosecution claiming he was responsible for failing to control his car properly. He was acquitted in April 2013, with the court citing a lack of evidence to prove Ndlovu's responsibility.