Has Dynamos lost its glamour?

The history book of Dynamos might have many pages but the one for the class of 1998 is probably written in bold.

That year, Sunday ‘Mhofu’ Chidzambga’s charges were 90 minutes away from conquering African football —in a fairytale CAF Champions League run which saw them reaching the final, where they collided with Ivorian giants Asec Mimosas.

The first leg, played at the National Sports Stadium on November 28, ended in a goalless draw.

The Félix Houphouët-Boigny Stadium in Abijan, played host to the second leg on December 12 —one of the most controversial deciders in the history of Africa’s premier club competition.

Dynamos went into battle without influential captain Memory ‘Mwendamberi’ Mucherahowa, who was allegedly head-butted into unconsciousness by Mimosas players in a brawl before kick off, for interfering with the hosts’ warm up.

The setback meant that the Mufakose-raised midfielder had to follow the match —by far the most important in Dynamos’ history since the club’s formation in 1963 —on radio from a hospital bed.

Ultimately, Asec Mimosas won 4-2 and were crowned African champions, dashing DeMbare’s dreams of conquering the continent.

Chidzambga still speaks glowingly of the DeMbare class of 1998.

“I think the experience and exposure I got helped a lot. Then, the players that I worked with at
Dynamos were disciplined and they had so much ambition to succeed,” Chidzambga told Star FM when he retired from coaching in March 2020.

Since the1998 fairytale campaign, the Harare giants have had their high and lows but are still the most popular and successful team in the land

Before they won a record four league titles in a row under Kalisto Pasuwa between 2011-2014, Dynamos reached the semi-finals of the Champions League under the late David ‘Yogi’ Mandigora in 2008, when their campaign ended with a 0-4 clobbering by Coton Sport de Garoua of Cameroon.

All of a sudden, Dynamos are a pale shadow of their former self in every aspect and one wonders if the glamour associated with the club for the last 59 years is still there.

While top-flight football has nosedived along with the country’s economy, the rate at which DeMbare is now failing to attract decent crowds at home matches, is alarming.

Over the years, when DeMbare collided with old foes Highlanders in the ‘Battle of Zimbabwe’, a capacity crowd was the order of the day.

But when the perennial rivals clashed in the latest instalment at the National Sports Stadium on Sunday, a paltry crowd of less than 4000 watched the drab goalless draw—shockingly, considering the hype the match had received.

The general consensus is that the local top-flight is in intensive care unit, as evidenced by the low turnout at the biggest game in Zimbabwe.

But those in the truth-telling business will argue that the reverse fixture at Babourfields Stadium in Bulawayo back in May, which was abandoned due to crowd trouble, had a full house.

Highlanders have also been attracting decent crowds at Emagumeni this season, meaning the low turnout at PSL matches is a Harare problem which shouldn’t be nationalised.

Dynamos fans have not been attending the club’s matches in large numbers as they used to over the years and Mucherahowa blames that on the tough economic conditions prevailing in the country, as well as the boardroom squabbles at the club.

“The issue of low attendance for me can better be explained by two things; functionalism at Dynamos, and the economic malaise in Zimbabwe,” Mucherohowa told Soccer24 from his base in Slough, United Kingdom.

“There are obvious factions at the club, which manifest whenever the future of head coach Tonderai Ndiraya is discussed. Some are for the coach while others don’t want him anywhere near the club, which is not healthy for a big institution like Dynamos.

“Those divisions turn off fans and they (the fans) end up losing interest. I have friends there in Zimbabwe who used to follow Dynamos everywhere it goes but now they don’t even know some players in the current squad,” he added.

Mucherahowa insists the Dynamos brand is still strong despite the problems.

“Well, I’m far away and I do not follow events regularly but I think the Dynamos brand is still strong,” reckons Mucherahowa.

“The difference between the Dynamos of our days and now is that the club is no longer the highest paying in the league, hence understandably, players simply go to the club which offers better remuneration,” he added.

Mucherahowa believes another difference between the Dynamos of the Chidzambwa era and the current crop is that with the latter, players don’t have the club at heart because they didn’t grow up in it.

“Some of these players don’t have the club at heart because they did not grow up in Dynamos like we did. They simply use the chance of playing for DeMbare as a stepping stone to get to clubs which pay more,” expained Mucherahowa, adding that Dynamos to them, was like a second home.

“We would also solve problems with a a lot of passion and dedication, unlike today’s youngsters, who will leave the club because of just one disagreement with the club leadership especially over money,” he said.

Justice Majabvi, another former Dynamos captain, believes the difference between the current crop of DeMbare players and classes from the past, is that the former lack motivation.

“During our days, we had pride at stake to defend the badge, play for the fans and the history of the club and win trophies,” said Majabvi.

“Currently, I think the the players just lack motivation they do not also set goals for themselves,” he added.

Majabvi is of the view that Dynamos fans no longer attend matches because the team plays unattractive football.

“What brings fans to the stadium are the results and an attractive game of football, and that is lacking at Dynamos. If the team is consistent and plays good football, then fans will start coming to stadiums to watch games,” he said.

Dynamos fans Harare Chapter Secretary-General Benevolent Vono blamed the low turnout at matches on ‘boring football’ and the National Sports Stadium not being an ideal venue.

“Dembare fans no longer attend home matches in numbers because of certain things. One of them boring soccer whereas we cannot even knit five to six passes, which we blame solely on the technical team,” said Vono.

“Secondly, some (the fans) don’t like the National Sports Stadium because they will be too far from the pitch. Dynamos fans prefer Rufaro Stadium,” added Vono.

While the debate on whether the economic climate has had and effect of the predominance of the club rages on, what cannot be contested is the fact that Dynamos’ fortunes are waning.

2 thoughts on “Has Dynamos lost its glamour?

  1. *Kutsvirei kana tea usina sugar* – takakanganisa patakangonyarara tichi pihwa zvirango ne Fifa ne CAF

    Now zvauraya bhora even motivation yacho hapasisina unotamba Uchida kuonekwa Nani n uchizoendepi?

    Now even maFuns hapana kana achateerera bhora racho kana kuda kunoona even ma Radio n TV stations they are reluctant to do a coverage yema Game acho

  2. Ndiyani angawana Mari yekuenda Ku stadium usina chekudya mumba .Kuparara kwenyika Kuparara kwe mitambo yese.Ma sponsors hakusisina .

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