Thulani Biya Ncube is a legendary football player who during his heydays played for Highlanders Football Club as a defender. He is regarded as one of the best defenders to have donned the black and white jersey at Highlanders. He rose to become a great defender that at one point he was captain of Bosso, the Under-23 national team and the Warriors.
Thulani was born and raised in the home of footballers Bulawayo. He went to Inzwananzi Primary School before going to Inyanda Secondary School. While still at primary, he played for a local team in Gwabalanda called Cambridge Stars.
While still at primary, he played for a local team in Gwabalanda called Cambridge Stars. He played there for three years then moved to play for Zimbabwe Saints when he was in Form One and he was 14 years that time. He played there for two years then moved to Highlanders Football Club juniors. That time he played as a forward and sometimes as a midfielder. At Zimbabwe Saints he played with Richard Choruma, Gift Lunga Jr and one of his best friends, Mlamuleli Ncube who ended up playing for Saints’ first team and Hwange.
He played under Ali Baba Dube for one year and when he went back to Highlanders he went with him. He moved to Bosso juniors in 1993 when he was in Form 3. Biya was a versatile player as he went on to play as a defender after Ali Baba moved him to that position.
He played with the likes of Melusi Ndebele, Zenzo Moyo, Melusi Sibanda, Master Masiku, Siza Khoza, Mkhuphali Masuku, Simon Sibanda and Kelvin Maseko. He also played with the late Lenny Gwata and Ozzie Sibanda who ended up playing for Hwange.
During Biya’s time Highlanders proved to be unstoppable winning three championships. He won the championship in the 1998-1999 season, 2000 and 2001 and played under the late Eddie May. He cherishes the feeling of lifting the league trophy three times. He left Highlanders in 2002 to join South African side Ajax Cape Town. Not only was Biya a calculative central defender, he also initiated attacks and could score crucial goals as well in the process. He also possessed good leadership skills when he captained three sides (Highlanders Football Club, the Warriors and the National U23 side) simultaneously. Despite his career being cut short by injury, Biya is remembered as one of the players who was committed to Highlanders and to the national team.
Since moving to the US in 2003, Thulani has been training and grooming young talent.
I came here in 2003 and it’s not too bad. I work with schools and junior teams, academies, something like that. Right now I am a director of coaching. There is a club called MC United. I am the director of coaching on the boys' side. Most of the time I work on developing young kids, like from the age of eight going up to the age of 18. Most of the time it’s just developing them on knowing how to play (soccer), especially the younger ones … knowing how to play the ball, knowing how to pass the ball so that when they get older they will know those things.
- Sukoluhle Mthethwa, , Southern Eye, Published: 22 September, 2013, Accessed: 6 May, 2020