The Sunday Mail
Although they are a pale shadow of the Glamour club that used to dominate in this country’s football matches, Premiership giants Dynamos insist they are happy with the progress made during this season’s rebuilding exercise.
Just like their compatriots and fellow Glamour Club, Kaizer Chiefs of South Africa, Dynamos are battling to end a long trophy drought that has stretched for five years.
Kaizer Chiefs, who are now banking on Warriors talisman Khama Billiat to fire them to glory, have endured four trophyless seasons.
However, they have now taken pole position in the league championship race.
But Dembare, who on Thursday marked exactly 21 years since they made history by reaching the CAF Champions League final, are now barely recognisable as the side that used to be serial champions.
On the night of November 7, 1998 and before a packed National Sports Stadium, Sunday Chidzambwa’s men reached their finest hour when they secured a Champions League final date with Cote d’Ivoire’s ASEC Mimosas, despite losing their final group game against Ghana’s Hearts of Oak.
However, Dynamos mid-table Premiership position in 2019, and their 40 points in 29 games, underline just how much the mighty have fallen.
They are 11 points behind leaders and bitter rivals CAPS United.
Of the 29 matches Dynamos have played, they have drawn 16 of them – a new record by the club’s standards.
Their highest number of drawn assignments, 15, last came in 1993.
Dynamos’ last eight league games have ended in draws.
As they look forward to regaining their winning touch in the last five matches of the season, club chairman Isiah Mupfurutsa told The Sunday Mail Sport that his leadership is happy with coach Tonderai Ndiraya and his men’s effort since the national Under 23 gaffer took charge in April.
Ndiraya has presided over 25 games, winning seven of them and losing two, with both defeats coming on the road.
Despite a long unbeaten run stretching 17 games, Dynamos have been held back by the draws, which have only ensured their safety from relegation. However, if the draws had been turned into wins, Dynamos could be angling for the ultimate prize.
Mupfurutsa said the team’s overall perfomance is encouraging.
Dynamos lost the bulk of the 2018 squad at the start of this year and have been relying on a bunch of rookies that was assembled by former coach Lloyd Chigowe.
“I would like to remind the Dynamos family that at the start of the year, we made it very clear that we were rebuilding after remaining with only about five to six players from the 2018 squad. These include Simba Chinani, Kudzanai Dhemere, Ma Rubber (Godfrey Mukambi) and Jimmy Tigere.
“The other one, Valentine Kadonzvo, eventually left for Chicken Inn and we then made a decision to embark on a rebuilding exercise. We got a few of our juniors and brought in a number of new players.
“This meant that the team also needed some time to gel. lf one looks at our opponents, some have had the same squads for two to three years or even more.
“So our first mission was to compete and avoid relegation while the team gelled. I think there has been commendable progress in that regard,’’ Mupfurutsa said.
The Dynamos boss also highlighted that so far, Ndiraya’s men have the least number of defeats this season – five.
“This team has shown potential and they have even posted good results against established opponents like FC Platinum and CAPS United.
“We are happy with Ndiraya and his technical team. He didn’t assemble this team but he managed to get them to produce some good results.
“If you look at Barcelona during the golden era of the likes of Iniesta, Xavi, Puyol, they were a great machine. But if you look at Barcelona now after they have brought in new players, their performance has gone down a bit. That happens in football.
“When we go into the second year of our rebuilding, with our squad stronger, we can then talk of one or two pieces of silverware as well as challenging for the league championship.”
Mupfurutsa went to apologise to the DeMbare supporters and lauded them for standing by the team despite having to endure a frustrating season that included the team’s first round exit from the Chibuku Super Cup.
“I would like to appreciate our supporters for being patient with the team and also for understanding that we are going through this phase. They have not abused the coaches, players or administration.
“The majority of the players are very young and are playing in the PSL for the first time
“We understand and appreciate the supporters’ frustration because we have gone for five years without winning the league. But despite that, the supporters have been travelling with us all over the country whenever we play at home and away. We also apologise to the supporters for the failure in the Chibuku Cup first round.”
Mupfurutsa also paid special tribute to the club’s sponsors, saying they have ensured there is tranquillity at Dynamos, a club that has a tradition of being volatile.
“I attribute the stability we have to the high levels of discipline, the coaches and players are focusing on their jobs. There is a lot of unity and transparency within the executive, and there is a lot of support from the board.
“More importantly, our benefactors and sponsors, including RG Tobacco and Nyaradzo, have ensured a tranquil environment,’’ Mupfurutsa said.
Dynamos are also hoping to cash in on their partnership with some Belgians amid revelations that Ndiraya and his technical crew will travel to the European country for an exchange programme early next year.