Saturday, April 21, 2018


WHEN Lloyd Mutasa throws his rag-tag army into battle in the Harare Derby tomorrow in their latest tough test in a season where their adventure has started under the shadow of relegation, it’s clear his men will certainly be very short on expectations.
Burdened by the punishing weight of repeated failure at a club where such shortcomings are frowned upon, are an insult to the history of the success stories which have shaped this iconic football club, these misfits, dressed in the borrowed robes of the Glamour Boys stagger into yet another severe examination tomorrow.
Crippled by expectations which are beyond their capabilities, haunted by the shadow of failure which has been stalking them since the season opened, and deserted by some fans who believe they cannot bear to watch these poor clones disguised as their Glamour Boys, they plunge into a battle which very few believe they can win.
Dazzled by the sheer size of the mission, which has seen them stumble from one disastrous result to another, every failed adventure cruelly exposing their shortcomings to stand the heat which circulates in the kitchen of these Glamour Boys, and places severe demands on those who choose to be its occupants, they have been a classic exhibition of a wreck, a mess and a House of Horror.
Domestic football’s ultimate version of “How The Mighty Have Fallen,” consumed by their failure to rise to the expectations at a club where mediocrity has, until now, never been part of its DNA, weighed down by challenges which appear to be beyond their capacity to deal with and rejected by those who refuse to embrace them as true representatives of their real Glamour Boys.
At times they have been choked by the brutality of statistics, which are repeated at every given turn, which show they have just made history for all the wrong reasons in putting together the worst start to a league campaign by these Glamour Boys in living memory.
Sometimes they have been drowned by their limitations at an institution that has always attracted excellence and whose fans have been spoiled, for generations, by a steady supply of brilliant footballers into their fold – from the immortal George Shaya, the mercurial Moses Chunga, the artistic Vitalis Takawira, so good they had to call him Digital, to a doctor who could even fly – Tauya Murewa.
The magical Kenneth Jere, so brilliant they had to call him Computer, the wizardry Edward Katsvere, so classy they had to call him Twinkletoes, the rampaging Oliver Kateya, such a beacon of hope and excellence down the left channel they had to call him the Flying Saucer, the steady but commanding Desmond Maringwa, always influential, always dependable, they ended up calling him Gazza.
Their Gazza, like the English midfield genius Paul “Gazza’’ Gascoigne, whose individual brilliance illuminated the 1990 World Cup in Italy, dragging his Three Lions into the semi-finals with some spellbinding performances, the one whose tears – as he cried for his country after a yellow card in the semi against the Germans meant he would miss the final should they qualify – endearing him to his nation like no other footballer had done before.
And could do in the future.
Like the inspirational Edwin Zindoga Mucherahowa, a distinguished leader of men with the qualities of an army general and the talent of a football legend, the one they turned to for salvation for the most of the Golden 90s when they came within just one-and-half hours of being crowned champions of Africa, the one they called Memory, as if to archive the work he did for them in their Hall of Fame.
“I was christened Edwin Zindoga Mucherahowa after my birth on June 19, 1968, in Harare,’’ Memory says in his autobiography.
“How on earth I found myself stuck with the mysterious name ‘Memory’, which to me is feminine, I do not know. I loathed the bloody name. People would expect to see a female whenever it was called out and some would mock and laugh at me when I stood upon being called. Even during my playing career, some opponents used the name to unsettle me.’’
Of course, those who know him leading from the front as he fought some great battles for his Glamour Boys will always testify that he was more than a warrior – as battle-hardened and courageous a leader as they will ever come.
Now, in his place there are some questionable characters, who probably would not have been allowed to lead Kiglon back in the day because they were simply not good enough, or even Kwekwe Cables, those guys who came and had a short flirtation with the Premiership before disappearing off the radar, out of geography and straight into the history books.
And the DeMbare coach today finds himself in an exercise in futility like trying to convert Cleopas Kapupurika into the next Madhobha, for in those Twinkletoes a benchmark was set for players who fly down the left channel for these Glamour Boys, in itself as impossible an operation as trying to transform Dereck Chisora into the next Mike Tyson.
I had chosen not to write about Dynamos on this blog, if not in protest over the way the good name of this institution was now being abused in reference to some wannabe footballers, who are in reality, an insult to everything that this super brand represent in our football, then to afford this space to those who deserve it – the ones who are doing well – or are trying to do well, like those Bosso boys who have showered me with a lot of love in recent weeks.
But I have been getting a lot of bombardment from the Glamour Boys family, from those who care for this club, who claim that it’s such silence that gives an impression to those who are messing up their team that everything is in order and they have been saying that evil triumphs when all the good men decide to keep quiet.
Yesterday, we ran a quite revealing story on the events in Tanzania where another giant club, Simba SC, whose leadership had been holding on to the outdated model that they are a community side, have finally seen the light and sold 51 percent of the stake to the richest man in that country.
Simba SC, just like Dynamos and Highlanders, are more than just a mere football club to millions of their fans, but a way of life and it is estimated that more than 10 million Tanzanians are supporters of this grand old club.
They were formed in 1936 by some community leaders, who had been hanging on to their ownership of the club despite clear signs that things are changing, the tide is hitting them hard, their model of ownership is no longer sustainable in today’s age and they have become the hurdle which was preventing this club from developing.
Their establishment came exactly 10 years after Highlanders came into being and over the course of the last 80 years, they have established themselves as a very popular football club in Tanzania with a massive following.
They have also achieved a lot with 18 league titles, three Tanzanian Cups, six CECAFA Cups and in 1974 they became the first and the only Tanzanian side to reach the semi-finals of the CAF Champions League, then known as the Cup of Club Champions.
But for all their rich history, it has become clear the winds of change have caught up with them and they have not won the league championship in six years, while a number of clubs with massive financial support like Azam FC – who are owned by a multi-millionaire – have emerged on the scene to provide significant challenge.
They have suffered from serious financial challenges over the years, and the years when they were the team of choice for every Tanzanian young footballer have long passed because in today’s world, the players are now looking at where their interests are best served and not where they are likely to make a name for themselves with nothing to show for their efforts.
Something had to give and the elders at Simba SC, to their credit, decided to sell 51 percent of the club’s shareholding to the country’s richest man, billionaire businessman Mohammed Dewji, who paid $10 million for his shareholding and has started the process to change the face of this club.
Now, where they were poor, not so long ago, they can even afford to hire the services of Frenchman Pierre Lenchantre, who does not come cheap given that at the turn of the millennium he was the man who guided Cameroon to success in the Nations Cup in 2000.
That is the way to go and the sooner that both Dynamos and Highlanders realise they cannot remain trapped in the past where they considered themselves community clubs, and – instead – appreciate that times have changed, and someone who puts his big money has to come in and find a way to keep them competitive, the better for these two giants because time is moving:
Until 2010, Barcelona had gone for 111 years without a shirt sponsor because they used to believe it was taboo and tantamount to selling their soul to have a name of a corporate partner on the chest of their iconic jersey.
The Catalan giants even decided to donate that part of their jersey to Unicef, the world organisation that caters for the welfare of children, as a humanitarian effort in appreciation of the job that this body does and, for five years, their jerseys had the Unicef logo.
However, in 2010, things changed and mighty Barca – who were then at the peak of their athletic powers and were ruling the world – could not resist the changes and a 111-year tradition ended when Qatar Foundation came knocking with 125 million pounds to be their shirt sponsors, then a world record.
The rest, as they say, is now history and right now we see Barca shirts with the name of a Japanese firm, Rakuten, which is emblazoned across their shirts and is worth about 55 million euros a year, while they have gone even a step further by selling a part of their sleeve to Beko for 17 million pounds a year.
Now, if Barca, the great Barcelona, can see that they can’t survive trapped in the past where they believed in purity or whatever they considered to be the toxicity of commercialism, surely, how can Dynamos, of all teams, believe they can go on like they used to do in the 60s, 70s and 80s when Moses Chunga could play for them for peanuts?
The elders of Orlando Pirates saw it a long time ago and handed the franchise to Irvin Khosa and the rest is history, the elders at Simba SC have seen the way and have handed the franchise to Dewji, the only billionaire in Tanzania according to Forbes, and just check where they will be five years from now.
Nothing remains the same in this world, even the dinosaurs disappeared from this earth because that’s the way it is my old man Ben Marriot and your colleagues.
Dynamos were formed in 1963, which makes then 55 years old today and 20 years have passed since these Glamour Boys went on their most successful adventure on the continent when they reached the final of the CAF Champions League.
Is it a mere coincidence, or is it proof that they are indeed a special project when one considers that in the very year they were formed the following happened:
The Viet Cong, then fighting against the South Vietnamese government and their United States allies in the Vietnam War, won their first major victory in the Battle of the Ap Bac in January 1963 where five American helicopters were lost.
Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa was first exhibited at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, in the United States in 1963.
Black student Harvey Gantt made history when he became the first student of colour to enter Clemson University in South Carolina in 1963, the last American state to hold on to racial segregation.
James Meredith became the first black student to graduate from the University of Mississippi in the United States in 1963 and it was the year that the first matches of the Bundesliga were played in the then West Germany, while in England, the Great Train Robbery, where 2,6 million pounds was stolen, took place.
Martin Luther King Jnr told the world in 1963 that “I Have A Dream”, standing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial before 250 000 protesters and it was also the year George Wallace Jnr, the racist 45th Governor of Alabama, in his inauguration speech told the world that, “today I have stood where once Jefferson Davis stood, and took an oath to my people. In the name of the greatest people that have ever trod this earth, I draw the line in the dust and toss the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny and I say segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.’’
Four times, he would the try to run for the American Presidency and four times he would fail as his foolish words kept haunting him.
It was the year the Beatles released their first album, “Please Please Please,” as Beatlemania started while Dr No, the first James Bond movie was also released.
Indigenous Australians were, for the first time, allowed to drink beer legally in New South Wales in 1963. Alcatraz Prison was closed that year, the Organisation of African Unity was formed in Addis Ababa while the spacecraft Vostok carried the first woman cosmonaut, Valentina Tereshoka, into space that year.
Lee Harvey Oswald pulled the trigger and assassinated President John F Kennedy in Dallas, Pope John XXIII died that year and thousands of black children marched in Birmingham, Alabama while protesting segregation and provided inspiration to those kids who would later rise up in Soweto.
An Italian car manufacturing firm introduced the Lamborghini to the world in 1963, while Jose Mourinho, Michael Jordan, Vanessa Williams, Seal, Ronald Koeman, Gary Kasparov, Jet Li, George Michael, John Barnes, Mark Hughes, Whitney Houston, Peter Schmeichel and Bradd Pitt were also born that year
Oh, by the way, it was also the year the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland collapsed.
I’m not sure how old my old man Marriot was back then, but he should remember some of these events and get to understand that, maybe, it wasn’t just a coincidence Dynamos were formed in 1963.
Nothing stays the same Mudhara, even the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson had to leave Manchester United one day and only yesterday we learnt that Arsene Wenger, finally, is walking away from Arsenal after 22 years.
To God Be The Glory
Come on Warriors!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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