The Sunday Mail
TONDERAI MATEYAUNGA knew exactly what Denver Mukamba intended to do. He had faced this situation a countless times.
But unlike previous occasions, this latest face off between Mateyaunga and Mukamba was not at a Dynamos training session.
It was the Harare Derby and Mukamba was not wearing the blue of Dynamos Football Club, but rather the green of Caps United.
The DeMbare goalie did what the textbooks say: he moved forward to narrow the angle.
However, as was usually the case when the two players were at a De-Mbare training session, Mukamba was able to curve the ball enough to beat Mateyaunga’s desperate dive.
Caps United 1, Dynamos 0!
As Mateyaunga berated his defenders for giving Mukamba too much space inside the box, the on-loan Caps United midfielder wheeled away in celebration.
There was only one destination for Mukamba – Bay 14.
There the Caps United supporters saluted the moment when the man with a Dynamos blue heart proved ready to die for the green badge of Caps United.
After what seemed an eternity Mukamba, came back from seventh heaven and started walking back to the field where referee Norman Matemera was patiently waiting for the Makepekepe lads to take their position ahead of a restart. As he passed his former teammates and the man who had sent him packing from the Glamour Boys, Mukamba did not look them in the eye.
It is hard to look the bereaved straight in the face.
Mukamba appeared to wipe away sweat from his face just as he walked past Lloyd Mutasa, the Dynamos gaffer who must have been ruing his decision to boot him Caps United’s way.
With that passage negotiated, Mukamba seemed to start his celebration all over again.
He sprinted towards Lloyd Chitembwe, and like a jubilant toddler when daddy returns from work at th end of the day, he jumped into his coach’s arms.
The meaning of that warm embrace between gaffer and player was not lost to anyone, including stunned Dynamos fans.
Mukamba had in one moment of brilliance repaid Chitembwe’s faith and was said thank you to the man who believed in him when everyone else labelled him a beyond redemption druggie.
That Mukamba lasted an additional seven minutes on the park before being substituted for Cabby Kamhapa was due to Chitembwe’s benevolence, really.
The Caps United coach gave his team’s fans additional time to cheer every touch the midfielder made, including a wild effort which turned out to be Mukamba’s last contribution – or non-contribution – to the Harare Derby.
There was warm applause as Mukamba exited the stage.
Mukamba chose to exit the pitch near Bay 1, a bay that is home to Dynamos supporters in miuch the same way Bay 14 is exclusive to the Green Machine faithful.
That gave DeMbare fans a chance to have a close look at Dynamos’ discarded rock which was Caps United’s cornerstone.
Makepekepe closed shop, preserved Mukamba’s precious goal, and ensured that indeed last Sunday turned to be “A day made for Denver” – just as The Sunday Mail Sport had published before the match.
“It’s only fair that Denver emerges from this game as the hero. He really wanted to prove a point and we are happy for him. He has proved that he is one of us now despite his Dynamos roots,” remarked Caps United skipper Stephen Makatuka after the match.
As per tradition the Makepekepe fans showered their Match Day hero with cash.
However, it’s a pity no one threw a mobile phone Mukamba’s way because it is one thing the midfielder badly needs at the moment.
Maybe, just maybe, this is the kind of stuff the marketing people at NetOne – the Makepekepe sponsors – are alive to.