Prince of the oldest kingdom

The Sunday Mail

Langton Nyakwenda

HIS princely performances have lifted Highlanders out of the mud and transformed them into top-eight contenders, yet striker Prince Dube still does not behave like the “Prince” of Zimbabwe’s oldest football kingdom.

He just loves Highlanders, and for him everything is all about this team that last won the Premiership title in 2006 – the year that Dube lost his father Danny.

The 22-year-old has scored a goal in each of Highlanders’ last four league games, a feat that won him the Castle Lager Player of the Month award for September.

He is also one of the key players in the Warriors squad that will face Lesotho in the second leg of the final 2020 CHAN qualifying round at Sesotho stadium in Maseru this afternoon.

ln addition, Dube is basking in glory after scooping the rebranded Footballers Union of Zimbabwe monthly award, which is now being bankrolled by Zororo Phumulani Funeral Plan, Doves’ subsidiary.

“I am doing all this for my late father. All the mistakes he made, I want to correct them. All the opportunities he missed, I want to grab them,” Dube told The Sunday Mail Sport soon after receiving R5 000 cash from Doves.

Dube seems to have regained the touch of class that saw him making a move to ABSA Premiership side SuperSport United in July 2017.

He was only 20 then, and still immature by his own admission.

Things did not go well at SuperSport and he was loaned out to Black Leopards before he unceremoniously returned to Highlanders in October 2018.

After a sluggish start of the 2019 season, the second half of the term has brought better fortunes for Dube and Highlanders.

Bosso are unbeaten in the last seven league games, they have moved up to 10th position on the log, seven points above the relegation zone and Dube is now dreaming big again.

“lf I get another opportunity to play in a foreign league, I will grab it with both hands.

“When I went there (SuperSport), things didn’t work out well. I was still young, but I also feel that I didn’t get the chance I deserved. But, I am a bit more mature now, I now know a lot of things so I think next time will be better,” said Dube.

Although everything is revolving around him at Bosso, Dube is choosing to praise those around him, refusing to take all the credit for his team’s resurgence.

“It’s all about the team, it’s all about Bosso and the coaches who are giving me this opportunity to play again.

“I can score goals, I can do many things, but I am not doing it alone. My teammates, both at national team and club level, are helping me,” said Dube, who is also enjoying a purple patch in the national colours.

He was on target when Zimbabwe beat Lesotho 3-1 in the first leg in Harare on September 22, having also scored a hat-trick when the Warriors thumped Mauritius by the same score line in the second leg of the CHAN first round qualifier at Barbourfields in August.

“I think my luck is back. I played the same in the first half of the season, but goals were just not coming. Probably the coming in of a new coach at Bosso is also signalling the beginning of my new career.”

Dutch mentor Pieter de Jongh is now in charge of Highlanders and has so far presided over two wins against Chicken Inn and TelOne as well as a draw against Herentals.

After his top performances, Dube retires to his family’s home, where “my loving mom is always there to embrace me”.

His mother Princesca has stood by Dube since 2006 when his father passed away.  “My father played football, but he didn’t get the chance to play at the top level. That’s why I am determined to do it for him.

“I am blessed to have a caring mother, she is always supporting me in both bad and good times. Even when things are not well at the team, she keeps pushing me. I dedicate all these (FUZ and Castle Lager awards) to my mom and late dad.”

Dube is eager to impress for the Warriors this afternoon. He feels the 2020 CHAN finals in Cameroon could provide another gateway to a foreign league, something he has been yearning for.

“It’s a new game altogether, going there (to Maseru) will not be easy. Lesotho will have home support, but we just have to play our normal game.

“If we score a goal or two, we are home and dry. Maybe the CHAN finals will be a chance for all of us, to go there and show what we can do. You never know who will be watching,” said Dube.