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Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 September 2006, 15:31 GMT 16:31 UK
Ndlovu's return raises eyebrows
Farayi Mungazi
BBC Sport

Peter Ndlovu
Ndlovu is now playing for South African side Sundowns
The inexplicable trend of players retiring and then making a U-turn is set to be continued by Peter Ndlovu.

Ndlovu quit international football after the 2006 Nations Cup finals in Egypt and vowed never to come back.

But the former Zimbabwe captain has apparently been talked out of retirement by coach Charles Mhlauri.

The 32-year-old, a mere eight-month retiree, is now set to play against Malawi in an African Nations Cup qualifier next month.

"I think I should give way to the younger players coming up," Ndlovu told BBC Sport when announcing his retirement back in January.

He added: "I have done my best for Zimbabwe by leaving behind a legacy and I have no plans of changing my mind."

So why has the curtain gone up on one of the most successful footballers in Zimbabwe's football history?

And whatever happened to that old adage, "when you're dead, you stay dead"?

As you can imagine, Ndlovu's imminent 'second coming' is causing a lot of anxiety in Zimbabwe and beyond.

In common with others with no axe to grind, I also find the over-the-hill striker's decision to come out of retirement hard to comprehend, never mind defend.

It has been written so many times about so many footballers that I hate to write it now, but here goes: retirement has become such a non-issue nowadays.

Ndlovu is of course not the only footballer to come out of a brief and pointless retirement. He will not be the last either.

There are countless others who have tried to relive it up - none more successfully than Roger Milla, the Cameroon forward who set the 1990 World Cup alight.

Yes, I realise there are those who will criticise me for even daring to question someone's desire to continue doing something they love.

But not all sporting comebacks are magical, especially when age has diminished your skills and stolen a few yards of pace.

Ndlovu's place among the greatest Zimbabwean footballers of all time is assured but he is nowhere near the player he used to be.

He will forever be a player of iconic value in Zimbabwe but Egypt 2006 proved beyond doubt that Ndlovu's best days in a Warriors jersey were clearly behind him.

Which is why I see no point in risking disgracing himself by playing one international game too many.

Ndlovu's legacy may not be tarnished by his return, but the sequel will almost certainly be less than magical.

Stay retired, Peter!


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