IT was Rumble in the Jungle in the Dynamos-Hwange match on Sunday afternoon at Rufaro Stadium. There may have been no sign of Mohammed Ali and George Foreman but Rufaro had everything else: the 20 000 plus crowd, the fanatic chanting and the excitement.
Above all, besides the football, it had the punches and the uppercut to spice it up. But no boxing gloves, bare knuckles sufficed. No, really, Monday’s sport pages of the country’s dailies proved it. For there, splashed across the back pages were pictures of Hwange coach Nation Dube who was sandwiched between two paramedics who were escorting him to an ambulance. The other pictures had the match commissioner Wilfred Mukuna, and the police trying to persuade a livid Hwange secretary Burzil Dube not to forfeit the match.
They say a picture tells a thousand words but these ones didn’t. They only told half of the story. For out of the picture, Hwange assistant coach Manelo Njekwa was also nursing injuries, injuries that were not caused by rowdy fans as is the norm. These injuries were not caused by a mishap in the dressing or a stadium stampede.
No, the Hwange coaches had been assaulted by Dynamos marshals in the latest and most surreal installment in the heartrending love story of Dynamos and their habit of shooting themselves in the foot.
The Hwange coaches had to be driven away to hospital, leaving Hwange coach-less as team manager Tenant Chilumba was away in Zambia. The kit manager Andrew Zulu and fitness trainer Kenneth Nyape took over the coaching duties after the Rumble in Rufaro caused a 45-minute delay.
Some declared that Dynamos should have lost, insisting that the regulations allowed Hwange to refuse to play in fear of their lives. The referee should have abandoned the match and the Premier Soccer League should have given the match to Hwange on a 0-3 score-line. But Dynamos having part of the negotiations with Hwange officials, match officials and police for the match to kickoff meant that would not be the case: the referee has the authority to delay the game, in agreement with both teams.
“We are very disappointed with this kind of behaviour. Such hooliganism should be condemned. We played the match under protest because we did not want to disappoint the sponsors of the game. We should have called off the game because our coaches have been assaulted. This is intimidation and this is not good for football,” said Burzil Dube - the one man to have come out of the affair with his reputation enhanced.
Well, him and the Dynamos’ team. Dynamos won 4-1 with Takesure Chinyama scoring a goal which according to the Herald “could be a contender for the top goal of the season”. Roderick Mutuma scored a brace and Denver Mukamba weighed in with the other one. Eric Chitepa scored Hwange’s only goal.
The Zimbabwe Soccer Coaches Association (Zisca) was furious and described Dynamos as the “perpetrators” of the violence.
“We strongly condemn such behaviour where our members are needlessly and ruthlessly assaulted while conducting their duties. We call upon the PSL to take stern measures against the perpetrators and in this case their principal which is Dynamos,” said Zisca chairman, Bheki Nyoni.
In the streets, the ordinary football fans were also seething; to them here was more evidence that Dynamos is run by thugs. Thugs who made then Highlanders assistant coach Dumuza Dube run for dear life last year when Dynamos bouncers charged at him. They also manhandled Sunday News senior sports reporter, Mehluli Sibanda.
Run by thugs you think? That is far from the truth. The truth is even worse: no one runs Dynamos. Not even the board of directors made of the founding fathers. What about the executive? They are just figureheads. Dynamos are a club that is played for by geniuses but run by nobody.
The founding fathers make matters worse by being there when it suits them and not being there when it does not suit them to be there. The Sunday fiasco saw them hiding their heads in the sand. There is an institutional vacuum; Dynamos are a club who do not know who owns them, the “owners” are constantly scheming boardroom coups and where there are fights over shares that do not exist.
On Monday Dynamos chairman Kenny Mubaiwa insisted that Dynamos would act on the problem.
“I personally do not condone that. Those are primitive yesteryear actions. We will however issue an official statement as a club once I am fully briefed,” said Mubaiwa.
Dynamos secretary Ray Kazembe said: “We are going to investigate what happened. I also hope to get a briefing from the chief of security for the team to establish what
It was just a pity they wouldn’t even act on their own marshals; that there was no authority to rein the bouncers into line or propose a solution and force it through; that on a match day they allowed their marshals to put the fear of God in Hwange; that they did not learn from last season’s mistakes and disbanded the marshals.
This was another mistake from Dynamos authorities who, far from protecting and promoting the game, damage it at every turn. The decision not to disband the marshals has come back to haunt them. That decision could cost Dynamos dearly; they could end up with a huge fine on their hands. Without an attempt to be harsh on Dynamos this was a match of shame.
In fact most things about Dynamos are a shame these days. A classic example of that happened during the pre-season. When their season was headed for disaster last season, they sacked Lloyd Mutasa and replaced him with Callisto Pasuwa who delivered the championship from a position of weakness. But Dynamos being Dynamos wanted to replace Pasuwa with Keagan Mumba during the off-season in a clear sign that the club that was once a model is now a mess: someone put an “in” in stability.
The NetOne Charity Shield cup final is another example that Dynamos have gone to the dogs. It was marred in controversy as Dynamos breached the sponsorship agreement after the club at the 11th hour refused to wear a kit with a NetOne logo opting for its club sponsored kit with a BancAbc logo.
According to NetOne, Dynamos who faced Motor Action had no problems in using the kit but made a u-turn the day before the match. The match was almost abandoned until NetOne allowed the match to go ahead. This behaviour did incalculable damage to the sponsor’s image, Dynamos’ reputation and of course the standing of the sport.
All this rot is caused by the continuous chopping and changing of the Dynamos leadership by the founding fathers. That is the problem, Dynamos have no core; the foundation is shaky. That conclusion that scenario that nagging doubt, eats away at everything. If Dynamos do not have leadership, they have nothing. All that glorious past, all that effort is a result of the players and fans, not the leadership.
After the Sunday controversy, the Dynamos leadership took tried to take centre stage but from its not so convincing statement it was hard not to avoid the feeling that the Dynamos leadership has no bite. It used to start some fires and put others out, now it just puts them out. Now it just gets burned by people around it. The problem is not just what the Dynamos leadership does; it is about what it does not do.
This ever changing executive is a caricature of the Dynamos leadership of old – the Lincoln Mutasas of old are gone never to return. Dynamos’ problems are deeper. Some insiders think that in the long-term their title win last season was a disaster because it enabled the wrong people to survive, just at the time when Dynamos needed a change.
The status quo was maintained and on Sunday afternoon Dynamos fans sang and chanted themselves hoarse and declared that they are the best team in Zimbabwe. They also held a banner as they always do in every match. It declared “Dynamos will never die!” Sadly they were wrong, if Dynamos continues on this path, it’s headed for the dustbin.