WHEN struggling Dynamos fired Portuguese coach Paulo Jorge Silva about two and a half years ago, in a fit of rage he warned that the Harare giants would be playing Division Two football in two years if they did not sack his former assistant Lloyd Mutasa.
BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
Dynamos kept Mutasa and are not playing lower league football yet, but they are currently swimming in the murky waters of relegation this late in the championship race as they risk being relegated for the first time in their history.
Now coaching in the lower leagues in China, Silva is not happy that the prophecy he made is having a self-fulfilling effect.
In an exclusive interview with The Sports Hub from his China base, Silva, who had a tempestuous three-months stint at Dynamos, declared his undying love for the club and even made a prayer for the fading giants.
“From China, I pray [that] God help Dynamos and I also implore DeMbare fans [to]support the team during this difficult period. I hope Dynamos stay in the league. That’s what I want to say for now. Regards to all DeMbare fans,” Silva said when asked about the declaration he made.
Silva has been the juniors coach and assistant coach for Club Ping Xiang for two years and is mulling a return to Zimbabwe preferably to rejoin Dynamos next year.
“I love Dynamos and it has been in my heart since I left Zimbabwe. I could have worked for other teams that offered me contracts in Zimbabwe, but I turned them down. In Zimbabwe I can’t work for anybody else except Dynamos,” he said.
“Two years for me in China is enough, now I want to come back to Africa next year. Our season here finishes in December and I am coming to Zimbabwe to visit. I actually have plans to open an academy in Zimbabwe.”
The Portuguese, who has coached in Nigeria, Zimbabwe and Zambia, says Africa is always his destination of choice in pursuit of his goals as a football coach.
“In China, football is good business and there is good money but the quality of players is not so good compared to Africa. About Africa, I love the people, the food and the raw football talent, for me it is the best,” he said.
“I also have a dream to play in the CAF Champions League one day and I believe I will do it. The sad thing about clubs in Africa is that they are not organised and they don’t know how to make good business from a club. They have to improve in that area.
“The starting point is to have a good marketing office and then make good conditions for young players to thrive so that you will sell and make big money.”
For the first time since he left, Silva opened up about his time at Dynamos and the circumstances leading to him leaving the club.
“I really feel sorry for Dynamos because they fired me. I know I am a very good coach and I was going to do a great job for Dynamos and Zimbabwean football. In me Dynamos lost a good coach,” said.
“Everywhere in Africa people talk about Dynamos when it comes to Zimbabwean football. They are a big club like Barcelona in Spain and Benfica in Portugal, but they have nothing, not even a clubhouse,” he said.
“When I came to Dynamos I had a model to make young players break into the European leagues and make money for the club. Some clubs in Angola and Mozambique make $3-5 million sending young players to Portugal and Spain. That could be Dynamos and I wanted to facilitate that for the club so that they could have their own stadium in the long run.
“Sadly, they did not want to listen to me because the club makes good business for a few individuals. The plan was to make the club big, which is good for supporters and club.”
Silva, whose coaching credentials were also questioned during his stint in Zimbabwe, revealed how on many occasions he had to pay for the training ground and buy food for the players.
He also brought a couple of foreign players including one from Portugal, Carlos Branco, for trials, which were unsuccessful.
“I paid for everything for those players to come to Zimbabwe and it’s not like they failed trials. I just said to them you have to go back (because) this is not a good place,” he said.
His relationship with his former assistant Mutasa was frosty and he accused the Zimbabwean coach of sabotaging him when he was fired.
Silva did not have many kind words for his former assistant, who he says does not have a good understanding of the game.
“Mutasa is a very good man, but he does not understand football at all. It was easy to see that with him as coach the team will not achieve anything. But overall he is a good man, only that football is not his thing,” he said.
Interestingly, Silva still has a video clip of Dynamos fans chanting his name in solidarity with him when he was under fire at the club.
Perhaps it is the simple reason why he has not been able to forget the club that easily.