With Marshal Machazane in the line-up, former Premier Socer League champions Dynamos were simply hard to beat last season.
By Munyaradzi Madzokere
In the 25 league matches he featured in the heart of defence in 2017, the Glamour Boys lost twice, a narrow 1-0 defeat to rivals CAPS United in Harare as well as a 2-0 setback against Ngezi Platinum at the Boabab.
A Highlanders graduate, Machazane is easily one of DeMbare’s unsung heroes from the last league campaign that ended with a runners-up accolade.
Last week, the stylish defender stood tall, brandishing the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) Charities Shield after captaining a youthful Dynamos side to success, beating his former paymasters Highlanders in the final at the National Sports Stadium.
In the middle of a crisis after the majority of the senior players downed tools in protest over outstanding salaries and allowances on the eve of a semifinal encounter with Caps United, Machazane filled in the boots of captain Ocean Mushure with much ease.
The “crisis” turned out to be a blessing in disguise for the youths in the team as they shone, to hand DeMbare pre-season silverware.
“It felt great lifting the cup, brother, an awesome feeling indeed because it’s every player’s dream to win trophies at every level,” the Dynamos stand-in captain told The Sports Hub.
Machazane was part of the Bosso class of 2006 that won the league championship the same year he made his league debut as a 19-year-old.
Since then, the top defender has been to teams such as How mine, Mochudi Centre Chiefs (Botswana), Mbabane Highlanders (Swaziland) and Whawha.
With that background, Machazane never thought he would one day play for DeMbare, let alone be fast-tracked into a cult hero in the famous blue and white stripe.
But it was probably bound to happen, considering his love for the Zimbabwe Saints blue as well as that of English champions Chelsea, the two teams he supports
“It never crossed my mind that I would wear the Dynamos blue and white jersey, and possibly end my football career at the club, but as fate would have it, I am here. But I have never had a problem with the colour blue because I support Zimbabwe Saints here in Zimbabwe and Chelsea abroad, so maybe it was bound to happen,” he said.
Dynamos coach Lloyd Mutasa has been a staunch admirer of the player since their days at Whawha back in 2015 where he was named the captain of the team.
It took Mutasa just two months after assuming the reins at Dynamos in May 2016 to pick up the phone and give Machazane a job.
“We have worked together before at Whawha and he (Mutasa) is one of the best coaches I have worked with in my career so far. I don’t regret coming here because I am really enjoying myself at Dynamos and am looking forward to achieving great things here,” Machazane said.
His target at DeMbare is simple.
“I want to win the championship with Dynamos and I think it’s very possible considering the quality, experience as well as the talented youngsters coming up in the team. The mood and morale in the camp is excellent. We are taking it one step at a time, with hard work and determination we will conquer this season,” he said.
Born in Shurugwi and bred in Bulawayo, Machazane began his football career as a midfielder at Highlanders juniors along with his younger brother Kudzanai, based in Botswana, and has played in the local league for Bosso, Triangle and Tsholotsho.
The player, who idolises Brazilian Chelsea defender David Luiz, has earned four Warriors caps to date and would be fancying another dance with the national team.
Apart from the league title with Highlanders in 2006, Machazane has been a finalist in the CBZ Cup 2007, Independence Trophy 2008, Nestle Charity 2008 and league runner-up last year at Dynamos.
And now he can add the ZNA Charities shield to his résumé.
In a career spanning close to 15 years that includes a dance in the CAF champions League and the CAF Confederation Cup, the 31-year-old was named the one player who has proved to be a handful to keep in check.
“The most difficult player I have faced is Edward Sadomba. He is one of those players who have got pace and are extremely slippery and I can say he is one person I found difficult to mark,” Machazane revealed.
In Machazane, Dynamos boast of a clean-tackling defender who has just one red card in his career, one whose skill at reading the game and organising the defence is excellent.
And lately a leader has been uncovered, one with an insatiable desire to win every time and hates only one thing:
“I hate losing football matches. On the other hand, winning drives and motivates me,” he said.