Robson Sharuko

Senior Sports Editor

THEY hadn’t won the league championship for 10 years — the longest barren spell in their club’s long, at times turbulent but, generally proud, history.

During that same period, their two biggest rivals, CAPS United and Highlanders, had won seven league championships, with the resurgent Bosso even going the extra mile, to match their record of four titles on the bounce.

Their last Soccer Star of the Year winner had come 12 years earlier, in 1995, when Tauya Murewa captured the award.

And, the previous month, they had lost virtually their entire first team, to the new boys calling themselves Shooting Stars, in the biggest mass defection from the Glamour Boys since the Black Rhinos revolution of the early ‘80s.

Fifteen months earlier, their club had faced the grim possibility of relegation, needing victory against championship-chasing Masvingo United, at Mucheke, in their final league game, to preserve their status.

A 90th minute goal from Elliot Matsika, at Mucheke that had been transformed into a muddy pool by pounding rain, secured the priceless victory, and the guarantee of life in the domestic Premiership.

But, while a sixth place finish, the following season, represented a sign of both life and progress, it also meant Dynamos would go into the next campaign without having been crowned champions for a decade.

Having won the league, in their maiden campaign in ‘63, in ‘65, ‘70, ‘76, and ‘78, the six year gap between their success stories in ‘70 and ‘76 had, until the turn of the millennium, represented the longest barren spell, without a championship.

Between ‘80 and ‘89, these Glamour Boys won seven of the 10 league championship races, in a ruthless domination of the landscape, before winning again in ‘91, ‘94, ‘95 and ‘97.

But, the ‘97 triumph, on their way to an historic march which saw them reach the semi-finals of the Champions League, the following year, would be the last in a decade.

Yet, on the eve of the new season, in 2007, the Dynamos leaders were not talking about how their club had drifted so far away from the enclosure of champions.

Or the massive 19-point gap between the Glamour Boys and champions Highlanders, the previous season, which was another reminder of how far their train has reeled off the rails.

Instead, amid the consumption of some beers, and the ironic celebrations of having won a Supreme Court case that have given them ownership of the club, they spent time talking about a fridge and a stove.

And, how proud they were that they had recovered these two club “assets,” which they had taken back to their rented offices, in the Eastlea neighbourhood of Harare.

For a team, which had by then won 16 league championships in 34 years, at the rate of roughly a league title every two years, the agenda of their annual meeting in February 2007, was a reflection of everything that was wrong about this giant football club.

It was their first annual meeting since the Supreme Court had ruled, in favour of the founding fathers, as the owners of this iconic football franchise in what was the latest, but certainly not the last, courtroom battle, for the ownership of this club.

There was a wave of optimism, at the Glamour Boys, that after the club’s depressing failure on the pitch, in the past decade, coupled with the backroom chaos which had seen the High Court become their battleground, the Supreme Court determination would open a new chapter.

That was why there was so much focus on the club’s annual meeting on February 25, 2007, at their rented offices in Harare.

But, any hopes that this could provide a new chapter, for the Glamour Boys, were quickly dashed by what unfolded at that indaba.

Most of those who took part in that meeting, including the then board chairman, Richard Chiminya, and his deputy, Freddy Mkwesha, are now late.

Chiminya died in November 2012, at the age of 76, while Mkwesha died in December 2015, at the age of 74.

The others — Jairos Banda, who died in February 2011, Nathan Maziti, who died in July 2015, Charles Gwatidzo, who died in June 2020 — are also late.

However, others are still alive and they include legendary coach, Sunday Chidzambwa, Simon Sachiti, Cremio Mapfumo and Richard Chihoro, who is now the team manager. Former coach, David George, was scheduled to attend the meeting but sent an apology alongside the late Patrick “Amato the Devil’’ Dzvene.

“The chairman welcomed all members to the annual general meeting — the first of its kind after the Supreme Court of Zimbabwe handed Dynamos Football Club to its genuine owners, the founding fathers,’’ minutes of that indaba reads.

“The following items were stood down from the agenda (a) minutes of the previous annual general meeting 9b) matters arising from those minutes (c) chairman’s report (d) honorary treasurer’s report.

“These items could not be discussed because of the absence of the secretary to the board, Mr (Ernest) Kamba who could not table the necessary documents.

“An impromptu report was verbally given by the chairman. The reading of the judgment from the Supreme Court of Zimbabwe was deferred, instead, after deliberations, members agreed to have a summary of judgment read out to them.’’

Then, the chairman, explained to the members the challenges they had faced to get back their club.

“The chairman went down memory lane, painting a (grim) picture of how they struggled, and battled, to have the club handed back to them,’’ reads the minutes.

“Sponsors like Innscor, through their Bakers Inn brand, and Savanna Tobacco were not (convinced) during the early days and attacked too many strings to their aid.

“However, the outlook is looking brighter right now.

“Some of the club assets, like the fridge and stove, were recovered and are now at the new rented offices in Eastlea.

“The meeting expressed their appreciation to Messrs Chiminya, (Brian) Kashangura and Chidzambwa for furnishing the club offices and other help rendered to the club.’’

The club’s executive, back then, led by chairman George Shaya, vice-chairman Simon Sachiti, secretary Brian Kashangura and treasurer Eric Mvududu, were introduced to the members.

The members resolved that the club’s technical team had to be remunerated “for a job well done,’’ for finishing sixth in the previous campaign, and handed contracts by the executive committee while former players should “assist in manning the gates.”

The club’s executive committee was tasked with drawing up a constitution for the registered fans, “along the lines of Kaizer Chiefs Football Club of South Africa,’’ while the chairman would look into the issue of having a club magazine. A proposed twin arrangement, with Spanish la Liga side, Valencia, was discussed but, 13 years later, nothing has happened.

“The assembly expressed the need for all members to (a) remain focused (at the) business at hand (b) remain united and avoid rumour mongering.’’