The Sunday Mail
I KNOW many people are scared of me.They believe I am a juju master and contribute to their respective teams’ failure to beat Dynamos or the manner in which their players wet their pants when they come face to face with my team. They say I have survived this long at Dynamos not because I know my job as team manager, but because the team cannot do without my juju.
Since my appointment as Dynamos team manager in 2011, I have been a mysterious man to some, controversial to others and a supernatural guru to the majority who believe I am the DeMbare juju man.
However, those who have known me for the 60 years that God has blessed me with are aware that I am a totally different man from that imaginary Chihoro figure who is credited for masterminding Dynamos’ numerous Houdini Acts through his supernatural powers.
Juju, yes it is there – but it doesn’t work in football. At times I have been accused of sprinkling juju on the pitch but its all mind games. I know people are scared of me and I give them more reasons to be scared of me by toying with their minds in every manner I can.
In August 2014, at Barbourfields, I just picked up ordinary sand from the ground and sprinkled at the at the point at which Highlanders players were supposed to use to enter the pitch.
All hell broke loose!
I was insulted verbally and Highlanders players scaled the fence into the stadium – in their own backyard. They were scared and we won 1-0 on our way to a fourth straight league title.
Even at the end of that 2014 campaign, I jokingly advised the organisers of the league championship presentation ceremony to set the stage at the National Sports instead of Gwanzura because I was confident DeMbare would lift the title ahead of ZPC Kariba.
If you remember very well, ZPC Kariba needed just a point against a Caps United side that was playing for nothing and we needed an outright win against How Mine. Odds were heavily stacked against DeMbare but you saw what happened: ZPC Kariba lost and we won against How Mine!
Most of the teams are afraid of me to an extent that they do not allow me near their changing rooms, vanokwata, they become nervous and sometimes there are disturbances.
When I sprinkle pure water on the nets, or on the players’ boots it is viewed a juju acts but those are football mind games. I believe in hard work, unity and commitment at the training ground.
From my experience as both a player and coach, I have learnt that the game is not won on Sunday, you start winning it at the training ground. At the same time you have keep the players happy, keep them informed about the problems facing the club and do not wait for a strike to resolve issues.
All the players here at DeMbare like me, I am like their father and I know each and every player’s situation both on the pitch and at home. I visit the players at their homes, I hear their problems and sometimes their wives complain that money is not reaching home.
In some instances, I have had to hand deliver the money to the wives! Last week I turned 60, two days before our game against Harare City and I even told you (the reporter) that we would definitely beat City.
We beat them and from now onwards, teams should be scared of Dynamos because this is the time for the “Chazunguza Spirit”. The league title race will go to the wire; Dynamos are still firmly in and the current log-leaders, FC Platinum, can testify to that.
They thought they had won it in 2011 because they had opened a huge gap at this stage of the race but Dynamos is Dynamos, we are the lions of this league.
I can also firmly declare that DeMbare will not finish the race behind either Caps United or Highlanders. A big no!
Since 2007, we have fared better than our biggest rivals and that should continue this season. By the way, few still remember that I was part of that technical team that won the league title in 2007 after 10 years of waiting.
I was assistant to David “Yogi” Mandigora, alongside David George and we also reached the semi finals of the CAF Champions League in 2008. My association with DeMbare dates back to the late 1960s when I joined the club’s juniors before gaining promotion into the senior team in 1972.
I was a fearsome winger, a dribbling wizard who terrorized defenders on the flanks and that is how I got the nickname “Nyoka” from my teammate, the now late Shaw “Kojak” Handriade.
The misfortune I had was that I played the same position as five-time Soccer Star of the Year George Shaya and he was at his peak when I was promoted to the seniors.
I also played for Caps United – yes – on a season-long loan in 1983 when they wanted a replacement for the injured Shacky Tauro. Darryn T then offered me employment in 1984 and I joined a team that had the likes of Misheck Boroma, Mugove Munyorovi and the late Richard Kawondera.
In 1987 I quit Darryn T and ventured into coaching, starting off with a team that was called Cafca which was in Division 5. I joined Unique Select in 1993 but did not last there because the franchise would soon be sold to Regis Dzenga who renamed it Harare United.
I returned to coach the Dynamos juniors with the likes of Freddy Mkwesha (late), who was the director of coaching, David Mandigora, Elvis Chiweshe and Kenneth Jere (late). We started a serious juniors’ project.
In 2004 we were moved to the senior side, Mandigora was head coach with George and I coming in as the one of the assistants. We won the league title in 2007 but two years later, we all resigned following a string of poor results. I was back with the juniors in 2010 and a year later I was appointed team manager.
We won four league titles between 2011 and 2014 and that is no mean feat. It will take probably a lifetime for other teams to do the same. Why have I forgotten to talk about my family life?
Anyway, “Nyoka” is married to Hazvinei and has two daughters the first born being Angeline who is now 33 and Natasha (20). Richard Chihoro is the long serving Dynamos team manager. He spoke to The Sunday Mail sports reporter Langton Nyakwenda in Harare on Tuesday August 23, 2016 in Harare