|As little boys growing up in Chakari, we were all Falcon Gold by birth and either Dynamos or CAPS United by choice|
|Friday, 10 August 2012 21:11|
Sean Connor was finally axed at CAPS United, just hours after losing at Hwange, and if they sort out all his issues quickly, he could be home in time to watch the closing ceremony of the Olympics live in London tomorrow.
It’s summer time in Northern Ireland right now and Sean won’t feel much of a difference to the fine climatic conditions he was bathing in for the last eight or so months in Harare.
It’s sad that young Noah, his son who had become a common feature at his media conferences and was developing an attachment to CAPS United, will have to leave all that behind now in Harare.
Schools open in the UK next month, when the long summer holidays end, and Noah is set to brief his friends about Africa, as they call it in those parts of the world, and all the sights and sounds that accompanied his visit.
He will probably tell them about his pictures that suddenly started appearing on the back pages of the mainstream newspapers, turning him into a pop star of some sort, as he giggled with his dad at his media conferences.
Or the day he turned into the CAPS United mascot, dressed in green and white, and led the Green Machine out, to face a Rufaro full of life with 25 000 fans crammed in the stands, in the Harare Derby.
Or how he kept on shouting “Shinji”, “Shinji”, “Shinji” from his seat in the VIP Enclosure during that match, in his best pronunciation of Shingi, as in Shingi Kawondera, who carried the hopes for his father’s team in that Harare Derby.
He will probably tell them of a defiant wall of blue-and-white proud DeMbareans, crammed in the Vietnam Stand they call their spiritual home, and the noise they made, in a mission against daddy’s team, against his boyish dreams and against everything that the Connor clan wished for that afternoon.
He will probably teach them a funny celebratory dance he picked up in Africa and, even though it represented the enemy, it was cool and, now that his father has cut links with CAPS United, he can do the Zora Butter dance at school without worrying about the consequences should someone capture him on video and broadcast it to the world via YouTube.
Or he will tell them of a noisy army of green-and-white Green Machine patriots, as defiant a regiment as can ever be found, who refused to let their inferiority, in terms of numbers, be their Achilles Heel and took the terrace fight to their bitter rivals, all afternoon, in that Harare Derby.
He will probably talk about “Muposhitorey”, his best pronunciation of Mupositori, one of the die-hard CAPS United fans, a bald-headed man who led a group of disgruntled fans who stormed one of the media conferences his dad was holding one day in Harare.
Or “ZiShooper”, his best pronunciation of ZiSupa, the cheerleader in the CAPS United choir, a KepeKepe for life, or “Mavhayer”, his possible best pronunciation of “Mawaya”, as in Ray “Mawaya” Kapondoro, one of the Green Machine’s true fans.
When little Noah tells his school friends that the owner of his father’s team in Africa was called Twine, their little minds will probably think about a light string used on fishing rods by their fathers as and when they go on their fishing trips in the freshwater loughs of Beg, in County Londonderry, and Neagh, the largest lake in Britain and Ireland.
Or when he tells them that Twine’s partner was “Jerry”, his best possible pronunciation of Jere, as in Farai Jere, their little minds will probably wonder whether the team Sean Connor coached in Africa was owned by Tom and Jerry and not by Twine and Jere.
When he tells them that the common name of his father’s old team in Africa was “Cab-Cab”, his best possible pronunciation of KepeKepe, their little minds will be forgiven for wondering if the owners of the club operated a taxi fleet as their prime business.
There is a lot for little Noah to discuss with his friends when schools open in the UK next month although his father, Sean, is unlikely to find a lot to discuss with his pals, at his local pub, about his maiden experience with African football.
The results certainly don’t justify an investment in a foreign coach because a local one, at a far cheaper price, would have done far better than Connor who must rank as one of the worst coaches to ever take charge of CAPS United over a 16-game period.
Moses Chunga lasted 14 games at CAPS United last season before he was pushed out by a constituency that was unhappy with how their championship bid, which had started with a bang, had gone off the rails.
Connor lasted 16 games but CAPS United are in a worse position, right now, than they were when Chunga walked away from the club at the end of July last year .
CAPS United were just two points behind Dynamos, the eventual champions in the race, at the time Chunga left, and today the Green Machine are 11 points adrift of their biggest rivals who, to add insult to injury, have played two games less.
The difference between KepeKepe and Bosso was just a point, at the time their divorce with Chunga was sealed, but now Connor’s Green Machine have drifted a massive 17 points behind the Bulawayo powerhouse.
There were eight points between CAPS United and leaders FC Platinum, by the time the Green Machine fans waved the red card on Chunga after 14 games, and Connor leaves the Green Machine 17 points behind the leaders — double the number of points difference.
Only 15 goals, in 16 league matches, have been scored by CAPS United under Connor, just one more than the 14 goals they scored, in their first three league games against Zimbabwe Saints (5-3); Shooting Stars (5-2) and Shabanie (4-0) last year.
Poor Sean Connor, a typical story told by a fool, when you hear it, you get to feel the intensity of the sound and fury but, when you take time to think about it, you realise that everything meant nothing.
Connor Was Imported Failure
CAPS United are a huge football franchise, the third biggest soccer club in the country, the second biggest such team in the capital and a constituency that represents the dreams and hopes of millions of Zimbabweans.
When we were little boys like Noah Connor, growing up in the goldfields of Chakari in the ’70s, we were all Falcon Gold by birth, Rio Tinto by proximity and either CAPS United or Dynamos by choice.
There was also a sizeable number of Super Saints fans and a smaller number of Bosso supporters.
That CAPS United won their first championship, in the year we completed our Grade Three studies, appeared to boost the ranks of their fans at our primary school and while Dynamos had dominated the lives of our fathers, this new team appeared to represent the future.
Time has erased the key part of my memory bank to enable me to remember the team I was supporting during that time, CAPS, Dynamos, Highlanders or Saints, but my childhood friend Solomon Banda used to call himself Joel “Jubilee” Shambo, even though he played in central defence, and that tells you where he belonged.
Shambo, may his soul rest in eternal peace, brought a swagger to the way football was played in midfield, his charming features giving the package its lovely look, while Stanford “Stix” Mtizwa and Stanley Ndunduma, completed the axis of genius.
Makepekepe didn’t win another league title, after ’79, until we had long left school and were well established workers with a traceable record of paying our due taxes to the Government, when Steve Kwashi and his Dream Team captured gold in ’96.
But, during that barren search for the league championship, they still were a brand that was supported because they played football with a certain style and Liverpool, or Arsenal fans, probably understand what this means better than some of us who are spoiled by success.
Any team that featured the amazing skills of speed merchant Gift Mudangwe, the goal-scoring exploits of Never “Maswerasei” Chiku, the midfield artistry of Joe Mugabe, you name it, would certainly appeal to some fans, even if their trophy cabinet didn’t display a league title.
Given that CAPS United have won just four league titles in their history, at an average of one league title in every eight years, one would understand that a run of seven years, since their last triumph in 2005, doesn’t certainly, based on statistics, represent a disaster.
If that does, why then was CAPS United’s popularity at its peak in the period between 1979, when they first won the league championship, and around 1993 or thereabout when Shambo waved goodbye to the fans, after leaving a host of memories, and decided to venture into coaching?
Yes, they won a lot of trophies.
Castle Cup, BAT Rosebowl, as Zexie Manatsa would sing, “gore riye, vakatora mukombe, mukombe, we Rosebowl, Shaisa Mufaro, Makepekepe, Shaisa Mufaro, Makepekepe, Shaisa Mufaro,” Chibuku Trophy, you name it, but the big one wasn’t there in their cabinet.
But even when CAPS United were not winning titles, they were competing in a big way, they were not losing four games on the bounce against Dynamos, they were not losing back-to-back against Hwange, they were not losing six games in the last 10 minutes of the match. They had heart and they had spirit.
Even when the game, and an entire championship, appeared to be going in favour of Dynamos, as was the case that afternoon at Rufaro in ’96 after Kaitano Tembo had given DeMbare the lead, something would happen because the Green Machine spirit didn’t allow them to surrender.
So, Mphumelelo Dzowa would step up, to take a free-kick in the dying moments of the game, and with one swing of his right foot, release a thunderbolt so venomous noone saw it travel from the point of impact to the time it nestled in the nets.
Game over! 1-1! CAPS, and not Dynamos, are champions!
Therefore, when questionable coaches like Sean Connor, already weighed by that record of losing 23 or so matches on the trot back home in Northern Ireland, take charge of a team with such a rich history, they are quickly exposed.
Connor won four games in 16, that is a quarter of the matches that his team played, and lost seven, which is almost half of the games when he was sitting on that bench.
The log shows that the Green Machine have five wins, but they didn’t need to play against Motor Action to get three points, after the Mighty Bulls rebelled against authority and gave Connor three points on the plate.
So which games did Sean win?
He won 1-0 against Quelaton, the same team Bosso thrashed for seven, 1-0 against Blue Rangers, the same team DeMbare thrashed for half-a-dozen, 3-1 at home against a 10-man FC Platinum, the same team both Bosso and DeMbare beat at Mandava, 1-0 against Hardbody, the same team occupying the final relegation slot.
Let’s put his record in graphics — DLDLLWWWWW(alkover) DDLLLL — and that tells the big story, Sean, doesn’t it?
CAPS United need better coaches than pretenders like Sean because the heat in the kitchen will always be intense given that this isn’t a Mickey Mouse football franchise but a heavyweight one.
Domestic football badly needs a competitive CAPS United because the Green Machine brings a spark to the domestic Premiership and, just as well, they realised Sean wasn’t taking them anywhere?
The Giants Are Flexing Their Muscles
Highlanders, who are in the capital today for a huge test against CAPS United, have continued to defy the odds and their seven-goal destruction of Quelaton was a timely reminder of how far Bosso have transformed themselves since Kelvin Kaindu’s arrival.
It’s not easy to go for 16 games without losing, going to Sakubva and picking a big point, going to Zvishavane and beating both Shabanie and FC Platinum, coming to Harare and picking a point against the Mighty Bulls.
Anyone who tells you that this Bosso team isn’t championship material is day-dreaming.
But if there is a concern at Bosso, then it is related to how Highlanders will react, as and when they finally lose a match, because that will certainly shape their season.
Their main rivals, Dynamos, have already tasted defeat, not once but twice, and found a way to recover from that setback.
Noone knows if Bosso will lose a match this season and, in the event that happens, how they will react to their loss.
Two of their biggest away tests — in the second half of the season — were always going to be CAPS United, the match they play today, and Dynamos, and both are at Rufaro.
If Bosso can pick a point, or better still three points, today, then they would have done their championship battle a power of good.
If Bosso lose this game, it’s certainly not the end of the world, but everything will depend on how they can bounce back from a position they haven’t been in since day one of the season.
DeMbare have been quietly doing their job and they look a house working in unison and all that wild speculation, that Pasuwa would be fired, which didn’t help the team, has now been consigned to the dumping ground.
They had to play catch-up, playing three big league games against their toughest opponents in consecutive weeks, with two of them against Bosso and FC Platinum away from home, and the one at home pitting them against CAPS.
They took seven out of nine points and they go into the second half of the season knowing that Buffaloes will come to Harare, Bosso will come to the capital, FC Platinum will come to H-Town and Shabanie will come to Rufaro, too.
As long as Denver Mukamba stays they can mitigate the loss of Chinyama and, at this stage of the season, they look in prime position to defend their crown although, as we all saw last year, crazy things can happen in the second half of the campaign.
They also have a stable leadership now and I like this blend of youth and experience between Kenny Mubaiwa and Ray Kazembe occupying the two most influential positions of authority at the Glamour Boys,
The Friendly We Lost in Ndola
Nelson Mazivisa, the Shabanie forward who leads the goal-scoring charts in the Premiership, scored for the home-based Warriors in a 1-2 defeat to Zambia in Ndola on Wednesday.
Some said we were using this match to prepare for the 2013 Nations Cup qualifier against Angola next month.
I certainly didn’t get the idea because virtually all the players who went to Zambia are unlikely to feature in that game against Angola and, crucially, they were up against opposition, from the locally-based Zambian players, who were also part of the learning process.
Maybe, we were preparing for the 2018 World Cup but, then, Mazivisa is 26, Marlon Jani is thirty-plus, and a host of the players who featured in that game won’t be around for that campaign.
If we were preparing for the Angola game, it’s like CAPS United arranging a game against Shabanie last Wednesday, as part of their preparations for today’s game against Bosso, and fielding only their reserve team in that game.
Worse still, Shabanie also responds and field their reserve team in that preparatory match.
It defeats the whole logic of preparations and the only common denominator here, and it’s something that we have to live with now, was that even that meaningless game ended in defeat.
And, of course, you will hear the familiar songs like that the result didn’t matter because what was important was to assess the players.
Brian Mapfumo, Passmore Bernard, Charles Sibanda, still being assessed in this day and age, playing against Aaron Katebe, whom they meet week in and week out in Hwange colours in the local Premiership?
In the last few weeks we have played Botswana, Lesotho and Zambia, using the same crew that will disappear once the real battle against Angola starts, and we have lost two and won one, against Lesotho, of course.
Khumbulani Banda, remember him, he was prominent until he disappeared at FC Platinum last season, spending the big part of the campaign either on the bench or not in the team.
When, he finally played, he was used as a striker.
But, deemed not good enough to consolidate his place in the FC Platinum team, he still somehow bounced back, under the same coach who kept him out at club level, but now in a different environment of a national set-up, and played in Botswana.
The gods certainly must be crazy.
Thank God, The Olympics Are Over
Tomorrow, the curtain will come down on the London 2012 Olympic Games and the sporting festival would be remembered as the one where Michael Phelps consolidated his place as the greatest Olympian ever with 22 medals, 18 of them gold.
I don’t buy all that nonsense because while I have a lot of respect for the Games, I think some of the events like dressage, described as “the highest expression of horse training,” don’t make sense at all to be described as sport.
Phelps is called the greatest because he wins medals in 100m and 200m butterfly, 400m individual medley, God-knows-how-many-metres freestyle, etc, etc.
All of it is swimming and what is only different are the strokes and the distance.
What about asking Bolt to run 50m, 75m 100m, 150m and 200m, ask him to run backwards, 50m, 100m. 150m and 200m, run sideways 50m, 75m, 100m, 150m and 200m, I guess that will enable him to win as many medals, when compared to the guys in the pool, to also be considered the Greatest.
Or just imagine if football associations competed at the Olympics where do you think we would win gold medals?
Investigations, spying, suspicion, committees, a dance with the Messenger of Court, bailouts, arriving at airports without confirmed tickets, bailouts, the worst playing surface for a home ground, suspensions, you name it.
I guess we wouldn’t have been as bad as the group that went to London and, given our perennial battles for funding, you would be guaranteed we would not send a bigger delegation of officials than athletes.
Lighter Stuff of The Week
Your shoe size tells your age. Did you know that? Try this and see:
l Take your shoe size
l Multiply it by 5
l Add 50
l Multiply by 20
l Add 1012
l Subtract the year you were born
l The first digit (s) is your shoe size the last two digits are your age.
Prove me wrong mate.
To God Be The Glory!
Come on United!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Text Feedback — 0772545199
Email — firstname.lastname@example.org
Skype — robson.sharuko10
You can interact with ROBSON SHARUKO on Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp Messenger and Viber