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Bosso, Dembare clash in uncertain times

by Staff reporter
29 Sep 2019 at 12:23hrs | Views
DYNAMOS FC and Highlanders clash in a cup game for the umpteenth time with history and the form book irrelevant.

The two giants clash yet again but this time in the first round of the Chibuku Super Cup at Rufaro Stadium. The venue, the ceremonial home of Zimbabwe football has played host to so many titanic clashes involving the two clubs boasting the largest following in the land whose influence transcends beyond our borders. Social media traffic gets to be at its peak in the build-up of the game, during the match and depending on the performances of individual players, it stays topical for ages.

While this afternoon's clash in terms of ranking, may be at the bottom of the ladder with none of the present day stars anywhere close to hordes of greats from past encounters, there is still something about the clash. That on its own is a Dynamos versus Highlanders FC match, it is still something the nation will be pregnant with expectation of a humdinger.

In days gone by the lots or draw ball would have conveniently avoided the two meeting so early as the tie would be a cup final before the real one. A dream draw either in the semis or final would be what the doctor ordered as thousands from all over the country and others from abroad would find their way to either National Sports Stadium or Rufaro Stadium expecting a top drawer cup final.

The match on its own drawn from the ethnic and historical rivalry ranks among the top 10 duels in Africa in a league with the Al Ahly - Zamalek and the Kaizer Chiefs - Orlando Pirates among them that draw great crowds and the great match feel.

Today a bunch of boys most of whom's pedigree defines mediocrity ever to don the famous blue and the black and white strips for the two teams. There is hardly a player in the two teams' line-ups to be paraded whose name is known beyond the seventh house in his neighbourhood.

Yet in the clubs' defining years, their players were role models whose praises were sung everywhere, with children, young players and even professionals called after the big Bosso and DeMbare stars. Long before computers were known by a majority in this country many budding youngsters called themselves Computer after the 1980s Dynamos midfield star Kenneth Jere, the combative but yet skilful presence of David "Yogi" Mandigora, Licoln Mutasa's midfield creativity and the workmanship of Shaw Handriade and Kuda Muchemeyi made Dynamos a household name with the Mastermind George Shaya's genius upfront and goal-banging instincts of David George, Max Makanza, Kembo Chunga and Moses Chunga.

It may be a matter only the Registry Department may answer. There is no doubt that some children born in the 1980s were given names like Willard, Madinda, Douglas, Tito, Alexander, Peter, Tobias and Mercedes after the Highlanders heroes of the cup tournaments dominating squads.

The Chibuku Super Cup tournament whose first round clash sees Dynamos and Highlanders meet this afternoon, provides redemption for the two struggling giants.

The statistics for both clubs point to mediocre returns in the revived Delta Beverages sponsored event. Previously for almost 20 years it was the Chibuku Trophy, the silverware a sheer brilliant piece of artistic genius but after an absence of over two decades Kennedy Ndebele did well to secure sponsorship for the tournament to return as the Chibuku Super Cup to promote a new product line introduced to the market.

It is surprising that Bosso and Dynamos have not reached the finals of this very tournament first played in 2014.

Present form does not give a hint of either going as far as the final - how the mighty have fallen to enter any tournament as bookmakers' favourites not to go beyond the quarter-final stages as company sponsored teams have taken over the show.

But it is the old Chibuku Trophy that will always be remembered for great football by many Sunday News readers. It is the tournament that gave Highlanders a lifeline to enter football royalty of the country after years of dominance in the Bulawayo African (Amateur) Football Association when winning the 1973 Chibuku Trophy.

The 3-0 victory over Mangula, a feared lot headed by the Chieza brothers, Lovemore Nyabeze and Alex Masanjala, got Zimbabwe waking up to the birth of a new giant coached by the charismatic and legendary Silas Ndlovu.

Highlanders had been promoted from lower division the previous year with their only stint in the elite football division being in 1971 when they were promoted from Division Two but relegated at the end due to poor performances.

As always with tournaments, new stars are born. Tymon Mabaleka, a new arrival from Eastlands was the star of that campaign with Tommy Masuku, Josiah Nxumalo and Cavin Duberly tormentors in chief upfront.

That match saw Bulawayo giants Highlanders and Zimbabwe Saints wet their palates for George, Winston, Harry, Itai and Tendai who would eventually cross the Shangani River for stints here.

Of the brothers Itai made his mark at Highlanders and Saints as a striker while Chikwata's history would be incomplete without Mudara Tendai both as a player and coach.

But for the Bosso family two other cup finals come to mind, the 4-0 drubbing by a Max Tshuma and Gibson Homela-inspired Chikwata which they are quick to forget and the similar margin destruction of Rio Tinto in 1980. This was to be Highlanders' first tournament win and a first by an elite club in independent history in a year they also reached the final of the Rothmans Cup a two-legged affair in which they conceded four goals in each of the two matches before the 3-1 win in the invitational Heroes Cup over Dynamos.

Many Bosso faithfuls will be hoping Highlanders evoke the spirits of the 1984 side that came up against DeMbare. Dynamos had successfully won the league championship four times in a row since 1980 and had the bulk of the national team. Coaches actually had a headache of who to leave out of the polished Mbare side as they had the best side for measure of quality.

On the other hand, Highlanders has had a barren run all of 1981, 1982 and 1983. It is no hidden fact that in 1983 they were firm relegation candidates until Bobby Clark's patience with youth paid dividends on the home straight of the league race.

The 1984 Chibuku Cup final Bosso's fourth in the tournament, was akin to a Goliath versus David fight. Dynamos oozing with confidence with Moses Chunga establishing himself in the side with seasoned campaigners like Misheck Chidzambwa, Kembo, Oliver Kateya and Edward Katsvere appeared yet another afternoon of a routine win at Rufaro Stadium.

Highlanders had employed Barry Daka a few months earlier to replace Scot Clark. Daka had won the Rothmans Shield with Olympics and was not expected to make an immediate impact at the side worse in the final. Their semi-final opponents Bata Power did not give them the much needed confidence boost ahead by way of profile and competition.

On the day Highlanders tore the form book with Willard Khumalo, then a schoolboy international and the mercurial Madinda Ndlovu rising to the occasion not only with their goals but superb individual performances that had the packed Rufaro Stadium falling in love with them. Highlanders won the Chibuku Cup final 2-1.

Peter Nkomo was at his best in goal, Douglas Mloyi and Richard Ndlovu uncompromising in defence, with Dumisani Nyoni and Mercedes Sibanda outstanding on the wings and Bigboy Ndlovu leading the attack.

That cup final added value to the Highlanders brand and inspired great performances that continued for almost a decade and birth of more legends with two league titles and countless tournament wins.

Today Highlanders and Dynamos find more questions lingering in their supporters' minds.

How far will their teams go in this tournament? One giant will fall unfortunately and there is also the question of survival in the PSL Castle Lager race.

The challenge to these boys is that today presents an opportunity for the football faithful to stop living in nostalgia and look at these boys as present day still half baked stars waiting for their turn to blossom.

Source - sundaynews

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