Robson Sharuko Senior Sports Editor
THE irony of it all is that Dynamos’ strange and frustrating season – which has flirted between mediocrity, disguised as defiance, and the occasional spark of life and ray of hope – could still have an obscure happy ending.
In the event, tomorrow, these Glamour Boys – a group who have transformed themselves into a unit that doesn’t lose, but also, barely win – find the magic to throw the knock-out blow that effectively ends CAPS United’s league title hopes.
Denying their biggest city rivals a chance to, fittingly, mark the 15th anniversary of Charles Mhlauri’s record-breaking campaign of 2004 – the highest points tally in a 30-game season (79), the lowest number of defeats (1) and no loss on the road – with another triumph in the race that defines greatness.
Cruelly, ensuring the Green Machine won’t close the season, which marks the 15th anniversary of the year they lost Blessing Makunike, Shingi Arlon and Gary Mashoko, with a victory party to ease the pain inflicted by that tragic accident.
Somehow, making sure the 40th anniversary of the first year CAPS United won the league title in 1979, won’t be marked with yet another championship for them to provide a fitting tribute, to some of the heroes of that landmark campaign they lost along the way.
Like the legendary Shacky Tauro, the club’s greatest goal-scorer, and a serial scorer of great goals who, exactly 10 years ago, died – just 11 days before celebrating his Golden Jubilee.
For a man, whose life will always be defined by this game, it’s hard not to wonder why the number (11), synonymous with football given that’s what makes a team, would feature prominently when he finally said goodbye to this garden of the living on June 17, 2009.
Known as Mr Goals, for those whom Ginimbi accused of being obsessed with English, or Chinyaride or Bere, for those who prefer their mother language, Tauro also because the first CAPS United player to be crowned Soccer Star of the Year exactly 40 years ago.
He was part of the pioneer crew of the Green Machine’s greats, who first challenged DeMbare’s ruthless dominance, of not only the capital but also the domestic football landscape, and laid the foundation for the attrition that has come to be associated with the Harare Derby.
And, somehow by design – or by default – fate has, on different occasions this season, appeared to be scripting a tale that would ensure the Green Machine would fittingly honour his memory with a league title.
The great man isn’t the only one whom these Glamour Boys could ensure won’t be remembered, in the best way possible, at the end of the season should, in the latest chapter of the Harare Derby, find a way of derailing Makepekepe’s charge towards to the league title.
There’s also CAPS United’s reunion party with Nyasha Mushekwi, another gunslinger from the Green Machine’s past, who – like the immortal Tauro – used to lead the team’s attack and is a reminder of a past these Glamour Boys would rather forget.
For the sake of their former old boy, Sam Mutenheri, whose career effectively came to an end that April afternoon at Rufaro in 2009 when, repeatedly fooled by Oscar Machapa’s wizardry down the right channel, opened the highway through which the Green Machine found a path to feed Mushekwi.
And, twice that day, the gangly forward struck in the 2-0 win for his side.
Four months later, in the reverse fixture, Mushekwi struck again, in the 1-1 draw, and the five points DeMbare surrendered in those two matches, eventually made the difference between them finishing second to Gunners, as they did, instead of as champions.
Mushekwi is now set to unveil a US$120 000 luxury bus he acquired for his old club to mark 10 years since he left their payroll and, should DeMbare throw spanners into the Green Machine works tomorrow, they will ensure that old boys’ club reunion won’t be transformed into a league championship victory parade.
Football, what a bloody beautiful game, the more it gives, the more it takes away, so many gifts for its believers, so much pain for its followers.
But, that’s why we love it – because of all its unpredictability where, just like that, Jose Mourinho ends up taking charge of Tottenham Hotspur in the week Khama Billiat transformed himself into the Lion of Lusaka, in the Zambezi Derby, and powered the Warriors to their first AFCON victory over their bitter rivals.
The feel-good effect from the Warriors win in Lusaka means there could be a big crowd at the giant stadium tomorrow for the Derby, that is, if the rains – which have been pounding the capital in recent days – can give the fans a chance to converge for the showcase.
The forecast isn’t good with heavy rains expected in the capital on Super Sunday and, with the National Sports Stadium pitch in very poor condition – likely to be worsened by a two-day church service – it’s unlikely to provide the stage for a free-flowing match which this occasion demands.
Pressure is on the Green Machine – everything demands that they should win this match and keep themselves in control of their destiny in the league championship race where the leaders have become specialists in failing to impose themselves, of late.
Darlington Dodo and his men failed terribly to withstand the pressure the last time they played a league match, surrendering a two-goal lead against a plucky Yadah Stars and then settling for a draw when a win would have taken them four points clear of the chasing pack.
‘‘It’s either CAPS United will win or Dynamos will lose,’’ the Green Machine said on their official Twitter handle yesterday.
‘‘We are into it for maximum points, nothing more, nothing less.’’
Chicken Inn, who could go top today if they beat Bulawayo Chiefs, were quick to reply, ‘‘you will lose.’’
This is what makes championship races so exciting – loose alliances are built, and broken, depending on the interests and there will be thousands of CAPS United fans supporting Bulawayo Chiefs today hoping the Amakhosi can stop the Gamecocks.
Then, tomorrow, all eyes will be on the Harare Derby – CAPS United in the green corner, Dynamos in the blue corner, only if it was that easy.
Because, somewhere in that blue corner, you can also see the Gamecocks, you can also see FC Platinum, all joined in spirit, praying the Glamour Boys, at worst, stretch their unbeaten run to 20 games, with another draw or, at best, they win the Derby.
After all, nothing is impossible, because – just four days ago – a fine group of Warriors showed, in another Derby, any team can win a football battle.