17 January 2019

Zimbabwe: Dembare's 30 Years of Turmoil

THE boardroom turmoil at Dynamos, which recently saw club president Solomon Sanyamandwe being kicked out of the club's management team, has always been a cancer that has been devouring the soul of the Glamour Boys.

Incredibly, 30 years have now passed since the seeds of these power battles were sown at Dynamos and, more than half-a-century later, the same script continues to be seen at the club.

This has also prevented them from enjoying the kind of transformation that has seen the likes of Orlando Pirates transform themselves from being mere community sides into very profitable business ventures.

DeMbare remains stalked by never-ending battles for the control of the team while Pirates, who used to be a community club like them, have been transformed by wealthy businessman Irvine Khoza into a multi-million rand football institution.

There has been serious resistance at the Glamour Boys, to change the old way of doing business, even when the world around them is changing fast and community clubs like them have been disappearing from the scene.

Last year, not for the first time in recent times, the country's biggest football club found themselves dealing with the humiliation of having to battle relegation.

And, analysts believe this season could be another one in which they are likely to struggle amid concerns over the ability of their coaching staff, led by head coach Lloyd "Mablanyo" Chigove, to transform a club that struggled badly last season into possible champions.

Their failure to attract quality players, because the club does not have the financial resources to compete with the platinum and diamond miners who are now part of the top-flight league, and a reluctance by the leadership to open the team for investment, because they want to hang on to their positions, has also crippled them badly.

DeMbare continue to be run on a template drawn up in 1963, when they were formed, which is a mockery to reason in a changing world where what worked back then cannot work right now.

And, club legend Memory Mucherahowa, who as captain led the Glamour Boys to three league titles in 1994, 1995 and 1997, while also guiding them to the final of the CAF Champions League in 1998, says his team has always been a house torn apart by strife.

Ironically, he believes the turmoil started exactly 30 years ago and, more than half-a-century later, nothing has changed at his club.

"Dynamos FC has always been a club in turmoil, but the year 1992 proved to be a spectacularly tumultuous and tough year," he wrote in his autobiography, 'Soul Of A Seven Million Dreams."

"The seeds of discontent had been sown towards the end of 1987 and 1991 when the players used their power to ruthlessly sack coaches at the club.

"The club chairman, who in my opinion, was behind the sacking of the Pawadyira-led executive leading to his appointment in 1989, was now facing the same spear he used. He had lived by the sword.

"The problems reached their zenith when two factions arose from the team threatening to break into two clubs, Dynamos FC and Dynamos United.

"Former club chairman (Josiah) Nhekairo had been dethroned and his vice chairman Simon Makaza was on control. Two teams emerged out of the chaos.

"Morale was at its lowest ebb at the club and despite winning the 1991 championship, the club had been engulfed in chaos leading to the suspension of a number of players. There were so many committees running the club and confusion was reigning supreme. "Players got frustrated because when results are not coming that means there is no money. If players are not happy, they are prone to manipulation. In this case, they wanted the Nhekairo executive out."

He said while he was in agreement with his fellow players, on a number of issues, he disagreed with them when it came to other issues.

"Though I agreed with my teammates that the way the team was being run was wrong, I did not agree with the idea of the team splitting into two teams," he wrote.

"The club was being run by a rogue Mafia from Mbare and players got angry because winning bonuses were not coming. Coaches were being changed (the way) Kim Kardashian changes underwear.' "I wanted the team to remain one united Dynamos FC. That time I was nursing a knee injury and recuperating at home from the terrible injury so I was not attending training sessions.

"It was through Clayton Munemo that I heard of the plan to form a breakaway team if Makaza and his executive did not resign to pave way for Nhekairo who had been dethroned.

"Experienced players such as Gift Mpariwa, captain (Angirayi) Chapo, Francis Shonhayi, Vitalis Takawira, Simon Chuma, Taurai Mangwiro and Eddie Muchongwe were behind the plan. I heard the players were aware I was not going to support their plan.

"The situation was getting out of hand and they started organising matches under the name Dynamos United. The players played one warm-up match under that name. The second match could not be played because the person with the keys to Rufaro Stadium disappeared."

Mucherahowa recalls how he was forced to remove a plaster and play a game for Dynamos in Bulawayo, just a few days later, just to prove a point against the rebels.

"The match ended in a 1-1 draw but it was the rousing welcome I received from the supporters that made me realise that we had to fight harder for a united Dynamos FC," he wrote.

"It is my opinion that this match heralded the beginning of the fall of Dynamos United. The High Court (then) barred the rebels from using the name Dynamos United."

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