HomeSportDynamos fall to hit small rivals hard

Dynamos fall to hit small rivals hard

Enock Muchinjo

THE looming relegation of Dynamos Football Club from the Premier Soccer League will usher a new era in Zimbabwean football.

-serif”>The effect of Dynamos relegation on the local top-flight league would be much deeper than imagined. It is not an overstatement that DeMbare’s relegation will in many ways change the complexion of the premier league, chiefly in terms of revenue generation and football tradition in this country.

Dynamos are probably one of the most important teams in the league by way of revenue to the PSL through gate-takings boosted by the club’s support base. It is arguably the most supported team in the country and smaller and financially vulnerable teams in the league have depended on Dynamos’ countrywide magnetism to improve their gate-takings whenever the former champions visit them.

The collapse of Dynamos will therefore be a heavy financial blow to smaller teams in the league. Apart from community-based teams such as Hwange, Masvingo and Shabanie Mine which attract substantial local crowds at their home grounds, the other teams will certainly feel the pinch.

No wonder minnows Kwekwe Cables were only happy to play their home game at Rufaro Stadium last season. Last week, an official from Gweru side Chapungu told IndependentSport how the club raked in their largest ever returns when they hosted Dynamos at Ascot Stadium in the Midlands town.

Never mind that the majority of those who filled the ground were Dynamos supporters.

Yet in terms of competition, it is disputable that Dynamos’ exit will make any difference to the league. The former champions have been all but pathetic on the pitch in the past two seasons, as endless squabbles have taken a massive toll on the popular club’s performance.

There have been a few high-profile cases of relegation in major footballing countries. Despite the huge commercial and professional gulf between them and local football, Dynamos could relate to such cases.

Italian giants AC Milan were demoted from the Italian Serie A in the 1983/4 season. While Milan were already a giant in European football at the time of relegation, Italy had other big guns like Inter Milan, Juventus and Lazio who attracted large crowds of their own and did not depend on anyone to enhance their revenues.

While revenues are part and parcel of sports, tradition is one thing that makes football a great passion that it is. When Milan was relegated, the tradition of Italian football suffered. There is nothing that motivates an Inter Milan supporter than a win over their greatest rivals AC Milan, and Italian football cannot be real football without derbies between the two Milan rivals.

In the same manner, Dynamos relegation will have that kind of effect on Zimbabwean football. Can the local game be itself without the derby between Dynamos and Caps United?

What about the traditional cheering by fans in the streets of Harare before games, and the electrifying atmosphere inside Rufaro Stadium. Even Highlanders will miss the Dynamos rivalry and the satisfaction of getting one over the Harare side.

The most terrifying thing for Dynamos as they stand on the brink of a famous plunge is the history of once great sides that were relegated in a state like DeMbare is in.

Arcadia United were bankrupt when they went down in the late 90s. Now they are languishing in the unfashionable Division Two. Once an invincible side in local football with a loyal following in the mixed-race community of Harare, Arcadia has almost lost their original identity and now play their home games in Chitungwiza.

Black Aces, relegated just seven years after being crowned league champions in 1992, have also fallen into a stupor.

Arcadia and Aces are different cases from Black Rhinos and Chapungu, two sides which managed to bounce back after they were relegated. But these teams have clear structures and an orderly support system which make it easier for them to harmonise a vision, unlike at Dynamos.

Even Zimbabwe Saints, relegated last year after a disastrous loosing streak in the premiership, have realised the need of getting structures right and are on the verge of an immediate return to the premiership.

The saddest thing about the downfall of Dynamos is the complex nature of their wrangles, and the numbers of the antagonists in the battle for the club which makes it difficulty to pick the culprits.

Many questions will be asked about Dynamos when they are finally gone. Who is to blame? Morrison Sifelani? Richard Chiminya? Ignatius Pamire? George Shaya? It will be difficult to come out with the answer.

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