Denver a cog in DeMbare’s battle
DENVER Mukamba has played limited roles for Castle Lager Premier Soccer League giants Dynamos in the opening two match-days this season.
But the significance of his presence at the Glamour Boys could make the difference for a club that has been crying for the right inspiration to finally end a league title drought.
DeMbare last won the league title in 2014 and they are eager to avoid a record-equalling 10-year-spell without winning the title.
The only time that the Glamour Boys, in their entire history, spent 10 years without winning the championship was between 1997 and 2007.
And the current crop of players is fully aware that the giants will equal that unwanted record if they fail to deliver the crown this season.
The team look sharp though, having won their two opening games of the new season, scoring five goals while conceding none in the process to lead the race in its early stages.
In 2007, when Dynamos finally ended a 10-year wait for the league medal, they looked up to their pint-sized midfielder Murape Murape who had just re-joined the team from a lengthy hiatus.
It was a new-look Dynamos with a collection of good individuals including Justice Majabvi, Reuben Mhlanga, Edward Sadomba, Lovemore Mapuya, Sam Mutenheri, Brighton Tuwaya and goalkeeper Willard Manyatera, among others.
Only Murape had been part of the last Dynamos class of 1997 to win the league title.
“Monya for Hire” was not an outright star but he had the heart and this is a boy who could sacrifice every drop of his sweat for the cause.
And he duly inspired the Glamour Boys to the podium in a year he was also named the Soccer Star of the Year.
His leadership qualities were also key to Dynamos’ success story in the league written between 2011 and 2014.
Mukamba was also in that team from 2011 and 2012 before he moved to South Africa.
He was one of those junior players who looked up to Murape for inspiration.
And on his third spell at Dynamos, Mukamba is the only remnant of that last crop to have delivered the crown for the giants.
Murape is back in the fold on a different capacity as one of the assistant coaches and his presence has reminded Mukamba of the inspirational role he could play if Dynamos are to end their long wait for the league title.
And the fans are in agreement too.
Denver is still in the game.
It took his introduction 25 minutes from time for Dynamos to finally breach Hwange in their opening game of the season at Barbourfields.
With Elie Ilunga in possession, Mukamba made an intelligent run and Ilunga passed him the ball.
And magic followed.
He dribbled past two Hwange defenders before laying the ball for fellow substitute Tinashe Makanda who made no mistake.
And on Sunday, in DeMbare’s 4-0 win over Sheasham at the National Sports Stadium, Mukamba started on the bench before he was introduced late in the game.
He didn’t make a huge impact as the damage had already been done but everytime he touched the ball, fans whistled in excitement and often he would signal them to be louder, more of what Murape used to do back in the day.
While Mukamba is still associated with the bad-boy tag, he has acknowledged he needs to be exemplary if he is to help carry the Herbert “Jompano” Maruwa-coached charges over the line in this year’s championship race.
“It has since dawned on me that I am the only remnant from the crop that won the league title from 2011 to 2014,’’ Mukamba said.
“Of course, I moved to South Africa after I won my second championship. But I vividly remember how it felt.
“Then Murape Murape (now assistant coach) was still playing and I remember how he used to motivate all of us in the locker room and even over the phone.
“We had our own platform as players where we could talk at a personal level and things were going well for the team.
“I haven’t met a leader whose qualities are as good as Murape’s. We enjoyed our football and our supporters used to fill the stadium whenever we were playing,” said Mukamba.
“I see myself as a cut from the old block with a very huge responsibility to lead the young crop currently at Dynamos to glory.
“I am well-versed with the Dynamos philosophy, how the team should play and what it means to don that famous jersey.
“Of course, I have here and there been forced out of the team and I have played for other clubs like Chapungu, CAPS United and Ngezi Platinum. But all that hasn’t taken the Dynamos in me. I am very happy, especially after being embraced, yet again, by the Dynamos fans.
“As a person, I do make my own mistakes, as humans do. But, I am going to try by all means to shun controversy. I am now a grown-up person, a senior player for the biggest football team in the country and I am going to try, by all means, to be exemplary.
“I want to be the Murape Murape of 2023, the leader who motivates the junior players to deliver even when situations are tough.
“I learnt a lot from Murape back then when we were still playing in the same team. He is still around of course and for me it’s an added advantage.”
Mukamba said Dynamos have a good squad which can end the prolonged dry spell but he believes the difference will be the mentality.
“As Dynamos, I think we have a very strong squad which can win trophies. But a strong squad and a good technical team cannot win those honours without going the extra mile.
“You may have an impressive team with good individual and team players but you can still fail to capture anything if you don’t have the correct mind-set,” he said.
“In this game, mind-set is everything. A team can dominate the scene without the best players on land because they have the correct mentality. This is what we are trying to have in our team and I should say, so far so good in terms of that aspect.
“You don’t play well in every game throughout the season. There are some matches which can be more difficult than others but it is the mentality that can take you over the line. That is what Murape used to tell us back then and this is exactly what I also tell my teammates right now”.