IndependentSport View – With Itai Dzamara
LAST week Dumisani Muleya featured in this column and ventured into the ongoing debate about the quality of soccer in the Zimbabwean and So
uth African premier leagues.
His view was – and he insists still is – that South Africa’s league is better than Zimbabwe’s for the specific reasons he articulated.
But the usual suspects from the shackled media once again came out of the woods, brandishing clichéd arguments which could not be supported by facts. In the end they helped to confirm our fears that they were caught in an ice-age time warp, hopelessly handcuffed to the past.
Angry obfuscations, highlighted by the use of abusive words such as “fool” and “idiot”, were employed to support a phony conclusion that South Africa’s league is a retirement zone in football when almost the whole of Zimbabwe’s national team is now playing there.
Debate over this subject has dominated this week again and spilled well beyond newsrooms. I happened to attend some social gathering over the Heroes holiday and for once, President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF’s stranglehold on this country was relegated to the periphery. The comparison between the local premiership and the one south of the Limpopo was the main event.
Responses to Muleya’s exploration of the subject last week through e-mail and phone calls were overwhelming, underlining saliently the emotion that Zimbabweans have regarding the unfolding events on the local soccer scene. Readers will remember that upon launching this column, we underlined the importance of debate and invited readers, among other stakeholders in the sporting fraternity, to also air their views.
Below are some of the comments:
Unless all these media reports are misleading me, there are no grounds whatsoever to compare the top-flight leagues in Zimbabwe and South Africa. Oh no, who calls the SA league a retirement zone?
Please give us a break! I have no doubt, going by what the media – including the biased state media – report that Zimbabwean soccer has generally gone to the dogs. I don’t have an iota of doubt that it is worse than what it was four years ago when I fled from tyranny to try and eke out a living.
Just try to count the knockout tournaments being played in the Zimbabwean premiership. I doubt if there is more than one, and compare this to SA. And, as was said in the column last week, the fact that the SA league consistently attracts talent from all over Africa – including indeed the bulk of Zimbabwe’s so-called Warriors – means that it has an edge above the rest. Above even those of Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon, Egypt and Tunisia.
So someone either misunderstands the meaning of the term retirement or they are fatuously taking propaganda too far. But just how could propaganda be used to spin the realities which glaringly exist in sporting matters? It boggles the mind.
Thanks for articulating issues objectively on the sporting arena through the column IndependentSport View, which, unlike others, doesn’t waste time on partisan agendas. The tackling by Dumisani Muleya (I didn’t know he could also do well in sport) of the issue regarding the local premiership and the one down south was inspiring. Never mind the propagandists, who, like they still insist that there is enough food in the country, will pronounce alive and with chances for survival anything Zimbabwean despite it already being in the mortuary – simply because we have to be “patriotic”. I have the privilege of watching SA soccer on DStv and just nothing about it can be compared to the nonsense that we call soccer in this country.
Just compare how Tinashe Nengomasha has been developed in SA to the manner in which talent – remember Samson Choruwa – is put to waste in Zim.
It’s like trying to compare the National Sports Stadium to Chibuku Stadium in Chitungwiza and offer both for bidding to host the World Cup.
Thanks once again. It is through columns such as yours that at last we get an alternative voice to the biased hogwash that is spread daily and weekly on some broadsheets. Remember, it takes the good to fold their hands and keep quiet for evil to prevail. It also takes the informed, objective and critical to remain silent for sinister propaganda to prevail and appear like reality.
Please, please save us from poisonous propaganda.
I am one of those who felt our game is better but the examples you gave led me to defect to the other side. The use of concrete examples such as the head-to-head clashes between clubs in the two countries was refreshing. The article too was balanced without any emotions (misdirected anger) as I have seen from those who claim to be authorities in the field. It was a worthwhile exercise.
People who say that Zimbabwean football is better than here in South Africa are looking at it with a poisoned mind.
To start with, football is now a business and with that in mind, the clubs have to bring the best players that their money can buy. We are talking of talented players not one-game wonders here. Having said that, the next thing that they do is to bring the best technical people to maximise the best that those players can produce.
So when players from Zimbabwe are signed, as in most cases, they will be the best in Zimbabwe, and with the best football environment on the continent, the South African clubs will be hoping that in turn these players will be sold overseas.
How can one compare football standards in Zimbabwe to South Africa when we have nothing to show that we are the best? The most that we as a country have done was our appearance in Tunisia – after how many years?
South Africans have been to every African Cup of Nations and every World Cup tournament since they were readmitted into the world of football, and someone can have the nerve to say that Zimbabwe is the best.
With the circus that is happening to our Zimbabwe soccer, all the pride that we had of our football is gone to the rubbish bins.
I have written about all the Zim players that are here in South Africa and at one point people were saying that I did not know football. I followed soccer in Zim from 1990-99 and I can tell that then we produced the best players without all the professional things that are associated with top-class soccer and when those players moved to South Africa, I knew they would make it though some did not, like Doctor (Tauya Murewa).
SA football is and will be the best in Africa. One of our best players ever, Peter Ndlovu, is here trying to get a club. Do I hear people saying that he is finished?
What about Sunday Marimo, coaching the least-known team in SA, Bush Bucks? Is our best coach finished?
Norman Mapeza, is he an old horse who is just looking for easy money?
It is the best league right now. Sundowns have just signed a player from Argentina and many more will come. One way or the other, SA football is miles ahead of us.
(Zimbabwean journalist based in South Africa).
If you still had hope for the revival of local soccer it must have vanished with the violent defence that it gets from propagandists in the state media.
That is despite our soccer being in a stinking state of affairs. Just what does this guy mean when he compares Zim premiership to SA’s? Now I understand where Chigwedere, Khan, Zimunya, Gwindi, Madzorere and their gangs of hangers-on get encouragement. It is the state case, no appeal!”
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