HEROES and villains come in commensurate measure.
However, some heroes are unsung – those whose contribution is subtle, yet critical.
Critical like a pinch of salt to a meal.
Former FC Platinum goalkeepers’ coach Daniel Khumalo is one such unsung hero.
Khumalo parted ways with the Zvishavane side at the end of December last year after his contract expired.
The platinum miners did not see it fit to renew a 13-year-old flirtation with their former player.
Khumalo joined FC Platinum in 2006 as a goalkeeper and graduated to coaching in the subsequent years.
FC Platinum’s story is a glittering one and local football pundits often wax lyrical about it.
Three league titles in their eight-year dance with the country’s football elite.
But in all their effusiveness, Khumalo hardly gets mentioned.
Such is the story of unsung heroes.
No song for them.
FC Platinum has had a number of coaches since their promotion into top-flight football in 2011, seven to be specific.
Khumalo, has worked with six of those coaches as goalkeepers’ coach since 2013, after serving in the junior structures for a couple of years.
One constant feature in FC Platinum’s game has been a solid and ungenerous defense.
Last season the Zvishavane side gave away just 15 goals, the least in the league, an improvement from the 21 goals conceded the previous year.
Defenders, goalkeepers and of course the head coach often get plaudits when a team puts up a good defensive show.
No one remembers those in the background, who drill defenders and goalkeepers at every training session.
Such is Khumalo’s story.
An unsung hero, in all the beautiful symphonies football pundits have harped about FC Platinum.
It is one story that he shares with many goalkeepers’ coaches in the football world. Khumalo is very much alive to this lack of recognition that his ilk suffers.
“A lot of people think that it is all about the head-coach. They forget about us and the amount of work we put in.
“It’s not easy drilling goalkeepers, trying to keep clean sheets in every match. When results come, only one man gets all the recognition,” he said.
Khumalo has not only been part of a solid structure at FC Platinum, but he has mentored a number of goalkeepers who have gone on to make a mark in the domestic league.
Petros Mhari, Francis Tizai, Wallace Magalane, Talbert Shumba, Spencer Ngwerume and Godfrey Chisango, to mention a few, are some of the goalkeepers that have passed through Khumalo’s hands.
Yet not even a sonata for Khumalo from pundits.
After serving FC Platinum for so many years, as a player and member of the coaching staff, Khumalo has carved quite an illustrious career.
When Pure Platinum Play decided to cut ties with him one would be tempted to think Khumalo was left with a bitter taste in his mouth.
“I am grateful for the time I spent at FC Platinum. It was quite an enriching experience. I learnt quite a lot and I was also able to share my knowledge with others.
“The experience really made me a better person and for that I’m thankful,” Khumalo said.
Where to for Khumalo after FC Platinum?
He answered, “Lord knows where I am headed. Everyone wishes to coach at a more advanced stage. The national team, top leagues outside the country. Faith keeps us going”.