More than just a game

Chapter 17 of Memory Mucherahowa’s autobiography “Soul of Seven Million Dreams” talks about the intensity of the clashes between football sides Dynamos and Highlanders.

As players, we knew that it is in these matches that heroes or villains are made. (Vitalis) Takawira and Moses “Razorman” Chunga would promise fireworks on this day weeks before the game and in most cases they would do that.

“. . . when it came to matches against Highlanders, it was more than just a game,” wrote Mucherahowa.

At the unveiling of the NetOne sponsorship deal for Caps United, Dynamos and Highlanders in Harare on Valentine’s Day, Highlanders chair Kenneth Mhlope stoked the flames of this age-old enmity.

“Both Caps United and Dynamos were founded but Highlanders was established,” Mhlope boasted as he prepared to read his acceptance speech.

Today’s ZNA Charities Cup final between Dynamos and Highlanders will have very little charity on the field of play. It is worth more than the US$15 000 that the winners will walk away with.

And it’s all happening at the National Sports Stadium.

Kick-off is 3pm and the cheapest ticket is going for US$3.

A youthful Highlanders side, which has earned itself the nickname “ECD”, dispatched Chicken Inn 2-1 in the semi-final, in a two-day match that began last Sunday and ended the following day.

The match was stopped in the 55th minute due to a heavy downpour with the Gamecocks leading 1-0 courtesy of a Clement Matawu strike.

The last 35 minutes were played the following day and Bosso’s “kids” sensationally overturned the deficit through goals from Adrian Silla and Peter Muduhwa.

In Harare, Lloyd Mutasa also sent on a “Kidznet” side out against Caps United in the other semi-final after Dynamos’ senior players boycotted the match for financial reasons.

As Bosso youngsters Nigel Makumbe, Thabo Lunga and Ben Musaka were charming the crowd at Barbourfields, the story was the same in Harare where DeMbare’s 19-year-old Kudzanai “KD” Dhemere announced his arrival in grand style. The highly rated linkman scored the solitary goal, a beauty, as Dynamos stunned Caps United who fielded a full-strength side.

Midfielder Tanaka Makuvatsine – who was replaced by the gifted Tatenda Muringani – also gave an impressive show for a sleek Dynamos machine.

It was a full house on Thursday and Friday’s training sessions as the senior players ended their week-long strike, leaving Dynamos coach Lloyd Mutasa spoilt for choice. There are fitness concerns over skipper Ocean Mushure, vice-captain Obey Mwerahari and central midfielder Gift Saunyama.

“Everyone was there on Thursday and Friday, putting maximum effort and the choice is now on us coaches. However, there is a feeling at the club that the youngsters who played against Caps United should be given a thank you.

“This is their cup, they played well so expect the majority of those who took part last Sunday to be in the final 18,” said Mutasa. The Dynamos gaffer might throw in new boy Marvelous Mukumba in central midfield to compliment Dhemere while Mushure could start on the bench as cover for left back Romario Matova.

Cameroonian import Christian Epoupa trained the whole week but will not be part of proceedings today.

Epoupa wants his US$10 000 per year signing-on fee while his work permit is yet to be renewed.

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