Zimbabwe: We're Sinking and Very Fast

24 April 2019
opinion

WE are sinking fast.

I had always believed that the only person who could take Dynamos FC to the top is Sunday Chidzambwa and his firing in 1991 had been wrong.

In my view, Sunday is the greatest coach to have emerged from Zimbabwe.

He had many formations which mesmerised the opposition and also possessed an eye for talent.

He is the one who turned me into an anchorman, previously I used to play behind Max Makanza, the number nine.

He made stars out of ordinary players.

He had a passionate love for the club, blue DeMbare blood flowed through his veins no doubt, he was the king who had been dethroned, forced to abdicate and hounded out of town, and wrongly so.

Since his ouster, the team had not been doing well, in 1992 the team finished on position seven, in the 1993 season Dynamos finished on fifth position, having garnered 34 points, six adrift of eventual league champions Highlanders and we had no silverware.

That was a total disaster by Dynamos standards and that is why I took it upon myself to fight for the return of Chidzambwa for the 1994 season.

Dynamos has always been a club in turmoil, but the year 1992 (ironically, the one which Lloyd "MaBlanyo" Chigowe boasted of taking over as caretaker coach) proved to be a spectacularly tumultuous and tough year.

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.

While I was pushing for the return of Chidzambwa, the executive decided to bring in a white "coach" Roy Cook.

We had never heard about him, we asked each other if anyone knew about him, but nobody did.

I still think that they believed more in his skin than his previous results.

To me, Cook's appointment was just a joke, there was and probably remains a weird belief that a foreign or Caucasian coach automatically brings better results than a local or black coach.

With all due respect, the guy's knowledge of football was non-existent, we later learnt that he was a businessman who owned Matombo Gallery.

Brilliant players such as Tauya Murewa had joined us, but results were simply not coming and, subsequently, Cook and (Cremio) Mapfumo were fired.

I thought Chidzambwa was going to be rehired, the executive had other ideas and I argued with them and kept pressing for Sunday to return but, instead, Bob Lines was hired to replace Cook.

I had nothing against Lines as a person, but his approach to training was just atrocious and during his reign, training sessions became a joke.

I did not know that I was later to lose my job at the Dynamos sports shop because of my resolve to bring back Chidzambwa, but that did not stop me from advocating for his return.

I was met with a lot of resistance mainly from Mushakwe, (Morgan) Femai and (Simon) Makaza who argued that Chidzambwa was cursed.

He would make us lose, they argued absurdly, I do not know where they were getting all that, but I argued that all the same, the team was not winning even without him.

I did not rest and, in August 1993, I was suspended along with Elvis "Chuchu" Chiweshe and Clayton Munemo.

The accusation was that we had incited players to boycott training sessions in demand for better remuneration.

The main reason, however, was that we wanted to push for Chidzambwa's return to the club. For a whole week, the players boycotted training sessions and the club's disciplinary committee headed by the late vice-chairman Tony Gara, made the decision to suspend us.

One day in the middle of the 1993 season, (Clayton) Munemo, Chiweshe and I were called for a meeting with the executive's representatives comprising Femai, Mushakwe, Mutumbi and (Alois) Masepe.

"We have decided to appoint Chiwese as the team's coach," announced Femai.

Chiweshe eventually lost the job before the 1993 season ended, he was replaced by (Moses) Chunga on an interim basis and, towards the end of the season, we were getting help from Rafik Adam and Jimmy Finch.

I was so determined to see Chidzambwa return to Dynamos that during the 1993 off-season I had several meetings with him to convince him to rejoin the team.

Once Chidzambwa agreed to return to Dynamos as the team's head coach during the 1993 off-season, I had no doubt in my mind that glory days were beckoning.

After a slow start that saw us dropping points in the first three games, we went on a 20-game unbeaten run and ended up winning almost everything on offer and I was named the Soccer Star of the Year, Chidzambwa was the Coach of the Year while Tauya Murewa was among the 11 Soccer Stars of the Year finalists.

Highlanders, who had won the championship the previous season, trailed us by a massive 11 points, we had whipped them, that's where they belonged, behind Dynamos, behind the masters of Zimbabwean football.

As for bringing the king home, history recorded that I was right, I was vindicated, no doubt.

Memory Mucherahowa is a former Dynamos captain and landed his voice to the turmoil at the Glamour Boys on Twitter while we have also used some extracts from his book, "Soul of Seven Million Dreams," for this article.

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