Strange battle rages at the bottom

IndependentSport View With Darlington Majonga

IT might not be too early after all to declare Caps United the champions again. We can afford to forget about the championship – never mind that there are still

about 10 rounds more to go.

But the battle is still raging – not at the top, but at the bottom.

So convincing was the squeal about Dynamos salvaging their “rightful” place on the podium of domestic football that anyone who did not believe in the revival hullabaloo might as well have not believed he is his mother’s son.

The return of Sunday Chidzambwa to Dynamos was akin to the coming of the messiah to save a club that had struggled to reclaim the championship they last won in 1997.

But nine months down the line, it’s hard to believe Zimbabwe’s biggest football club is wallowing in the ignominy of relegation.

At a time we should be bracing for a photo finish at the top, all eyes are at the bottom of the premiership standings.

At a time we should be arguing over who would make it among the soccer stars of the year from Dynamos, we are wondering whether any of the footballers at the club will make the grade with any of the other teams in the premiership.

We are talking here of a club that has won the top-flight championship 17 times since their formation in 1963 and 11 times since Zimbabwe’s Independence in 1980.

Dynamos’ demise is a clear reflection of the off-field crises that have rocked the club, with the lack of a clear ownership structure being its nemesis.

Right now we are not sure who really calls the shots or owns Dynamos. Factionalism and battles for control are now threatening to bring down the club that means so much to Zimbabwean soccer.

For now, Dynamos’ only solace is that they have familiar company in the bruising battle for the awkward honour – to avoid the dreaded relegation to Division One.

Two-time champions Black Rhinos and 2003 champions Amazulu join Dynamos to make the relegation field look odd enough.

To imagine that in 1998 Dynamos were on the verge of becoming African Champions League winners when they became the first and only Zimbabwean side to reach a continental club competition final just makes the whole episode regrettable.

It’s only a year ago that Amazulu and Black Rhinos were representing Zimbabwe in African club competitions.

For the first time since Independence we have three former champions facing the chop from the Premier Soccer League. How things can change within a year!

Going into this weekend’s fixtures, Dynamos are languishing second from bottom on the 16-team log with 21 points from 20 games. They have won five games, drawn six and lost nine.

Black Rhinos have the same number of points as Dynamos but are third from bottom courtesy of a better goal difference. The army side have won six matches, drawn three and lost 10.

Amazulu are just a point better than the two Harare sides on 22, the same number of points as perennial strugglers Sundowns.

The only comforting thing for the struggling giants is that the gap between them and the middle-table teams is not much. Had DeMbare won against Buymore last weekend, they could have tied points with eighth-placed Shabanie.

But as it is now, it’s frightening because there is no guarantee that DeMbare will win their remaining matches, while those teams on top of Dynamos might not lose points easily.

Disturbing though is the fact that one of the players we spoke to this week believes Morrison Sifelani, who we labelled an enemy of Dynamos last week, is a better devil than the guys who are now in charge at the club.

“Sifelani was much better in terms of looking after us, the players. These new guys don’t care for our welfare at all and we won’t be surprised if we are relegated,” the senior player said.

We shall not speak anymore, but leave the last word to our readers:

l Thanks for your article about DeMbare last week. I would like to add my voice on this issue.

If Sifelani can sell Dynamos to a new owner, the better because it will end this madness threatening the club. For example, Kaizer Chiefs in South Africa are a former so-called community club.

I started supporting DeMbare when it was the only club to support, when Thomas Mapfumo was the only musician to listen to, and when Zanu PF was the only party worth talking about. All that is now history as you may be aware.

History normally repeats itself, and the glamour days will be back at Dynamos.

Jaonas Madovi

* I would like to begin by thanking you for taking time to drive home the very hurting truth about the person or people killing my beloved Dynamos, Sifelani and Bernard Marriott, and all those other money-mongers. Thank you very much for a well-documented piece chronicling the real enemies of Dynamos.

Please keep putting forth the truth and at least keep helping the cause of Zimbabwean football that willlose face if great clubs like Dynamos, Caps United and Highlanders disappear from the face of football.

Dynamos should have been the great entity it was poised to be if noble ideas like those Lloyd Hove had put forward had been implemented.

Now that Hove was given a marketing role together with Lincoln Mutasa, I hope the two gentlemen will help pull the beloved Dynamos out of the quagmire it finds itself in courtesy of the greedy executives Leo Mugabe imposed in 1999.

I support the enthusiasm Moses Chunga has and I wish that could be boosted by the silence and disappearance from football of those who have seen their days in it – Sifelani and Marriott – who should have been happy to see youngsters with progressive minds like Hove running the club they helped bring into existence. Their time is up, and they cannot be running Dynamos forever.

Life in the diaspora is tough, but we get solace when at the end of the day we read good news about Dynamos, the team I was born belonging to.

I sincerely hope my team will not be relegated to the lower echelons of football. Surely Division One haite fresh (is not suitable) for a great club like Dynamos.

Dynamos are Zimbabwean football, period.

Victor Mukweveri (UK).

The battle is getting fierce. Not at the top, but the bottom.