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The Dynamos circus returns

When other Premier Soccer League teams are busy on the transfer market, Dynamos are busy in the boxing ring, this time, the contestants being board chairman Bernard Marriot and club president Solomon Sanyamandwe.

Inside sport with MICHAEL KARIATI

When champions FC Platinum were announcing the arrival of Godknows Murwira at the club from Ngezi Platinum Stars, Dynamos were making an announcement that club president Sanyamandwe had been fired by Marriot.

Sanyamandwe is leaving the club barely six months following the departure of Keni Mubaiwa, who resigned after his attempts to fire coach Lloyd Mutasa were thwarted, coincidentally, by Marriot.

What is ironic is that Dynamos still went on to fire Mutasa soon after Mubaiwa’s departure, raising questions whether it was a case of Mutasa or a matter of a show of who was more powerful than the other.

What is clear from the goings-on at Dynamos, is that the unity of the founding fathers — the unity that built Dynamos to be the biggest football club in the country — no longer exists and the likes of Jairos Banda, Richard Chiminya, Freddy Mkwesha and Morrison Sifelani could be turning in their graves asking whether this is the Dynamos they fought so hard to build.

Whatever the case is, the latest developments, coming at a time when Dynamos are in depths of despair, do not give a good picture of what the future holds for the team that claims to have more than 7 million followers.

Dynamos should this time of the season be spending time on strengthening their team instead of the political football game of chess that has destroyed the club over the past three seasons.

For the sake of the future, the Dynamos family should reflect on the goings-on of the past three years and identify the source of all their problems and come up with a binding solution before their team sinks to Division One and eventually into oblivion.

With the way things are going, it will not be surprising to see Dynamos, once again, spending most of the season fighting relegation. So far, there has not even been a single player signing, the focus being on the administration as if they are the ones who wear the famous blue and white jersey.

FC Platinum have nothing to fear about Tunisian side Esperance might be three-time African champions, and Orlando Pirates, winners of the Caf Champions League in 1995 — at that time known as the Africa Cup of Club Champions — but Zimbabwean champions FC Platinum have nothing to fear about the Blood and Golds and the Buccaneers whom they were drawn with in the same group.

Names and history count in African and world football, but in reality, Esperance are not as strong as they were in the past and neither are Orlando Pirates, who have even struggled in their home Absa Premiership until of late.

Fine, Esperance won the title in 2017, after a 4-3 aggregate win over Al Ahly of Egypt, but there is no guarantee that the Tunisians — winners of the competition in 1984 and 2011 — will roar again this year while the 1995 show was Pirates’ best performance in the competition.

In fact, Pirates have been overtaken as the flag bearers of South African club football by Mamelodi Sundowns, who are also still in the competition but in a different group.

However, the fact that FC Platinum are playing teams with rich history in the competition, is enough motivation itself because the Midlands side know that victories over Esperance and Orlando Pirates would see them get recognition across the length and breadth of Africa.

What is even more encouraging is the fact that even though they are playing at Barbourfields Stadium, Norman Mapeza’s side have been given the advantage of playing their first group game at home — something that should give them a headstart should they win that January 12 match and pick up three points.

More importantly is the fact that a win over the South African giants would not only give them the confidence they need, but would also scare their next opponents who are Esperance in Tunis on January 18.

African football history dictates that teams that win convincingly at home usually go further in major tournaments and what the Zimbabwean champions need to do is to win all their three home matches convincingly, without looking at the results of the other teams in the group.

Even the coach of top South African side Mamelodi Sundowns, Pitso Mosimane, has made it clear that they only need to win all their home matches and probably pick up two points away from home to sail through to the quarter finals of Africa’s richest club competition.

Unfortunately, Kugona Kunenge Kudada have not been all that convincing at home, struggling against little Cnaps of Madagascar, whom they beat only 1-0 before stuttering to a goalless draw against AS Otoho D’yo of Congo Brazzaville.

At least the Zimbabwean champions did not lose those two matches, but they need to improve greatly if they are to win at home not only against Esperance and Orlando Pirates, but also against AS Horoya of Guinea, the other team in the group.

In fact, it is Horoya which FC Platinum should be wary of Teams that are seen as no-hopers are usually dangerous as Caps United would testify. The Green Machine were on the verge of qualifying for the quarter-finals of the 2017 competition until the team they least expected, Al Ahli Tripoli, ruined their chances with that 4-2 destruction of Makepekepe at the National Sports Stadium.

In 2008, Dynamos thought they had reached their second Caf Champions League final when they faced Cameroon’s Cotonsport, only for DeMbare to be thrashed 5-0 over the two legs, losing 1-0 at Rufaro Stadium and 4-0 in the return leg in Yaounde.

That is now history as FC Platinum have been presented with the chance to write their own piece of history. Nine points from all their three home games could probably put them in a strong position to reach the quarter-finals of the Caf Champions League — and become the first Zimbabwean team to do so since 2008.

Dynamos set the bar in 1998 when they reached the final of Africa’s biggest and richest club football competition when coached by Sunday Chidzambwa and the semi-finals in 2008 when under the coaching guidance of David Mandigora.

For FC Platinum, a quarter-final berth would be worth the celebration.

For your comments, views and suggestions, email mkariati@gmail.com or WhatsApp on 077 3 266 779.

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