It’s about time Bosso
Sharuko on Saturday
THEY are both icons of the south and share a history built on a foundation of royalty.
From the Ndebele Kingdom, King Lobengula and his grandsons, to the Kingdom of Naples, King Ferdinand IV and his royal family.
Highlanders and Napoli!
Along the way, they have both transformed themselves beyond being mere football clubs into something close to a way of life for their disciples.
A symbol of identity for their people, an endless source of pride for their passionate followers and a shining beacon of hope for those who believe in them.
Bosso and Gil Azzuri!
The ultimate clubs of the south, the perennial challengers of the big boys of the north, the likes of Dynamos and Juventus.
More than football clubs, they have become powerful institutions with roots firmly spread among their people.
They are symbols of both power and bravery, islands of both hope and a relentless pursuit for greatness, which will never stop.
Maradona and Madinda!
Theirs is a powerful tale of legends who came to grace their dressing rooms and wrote chapters of glory, which will be told forever.
Where you have Mertens at Napoli, you have Mercedes at Bosso and where you have Cavani in Naples, you have Watson in the City of Kings.
And, somehow, the football gods ensured that Napoli and Bosso had to be twins, born in the same year, back in 1926.
One was nicknamed I Ciacciarelli (The Little Donkeys), the other was nicknamed Mantengwane (The Beautiful Bird).
The other day I was listening to the Napoli anthem, O’ surdato ‘nnammurato which, translated into English, means ‘The Soldier In Love.’
I couldn’t help, listening to the lyrics, feeling how much the message appeared to have been written by a Bosso fan, somewhere in the Diaspora, who misses the sight and warmth of his or her favourite club.
“You are far away from this heart, I fly to you thought, I hope and want nothing more than always keeping you by my side.
“Be sure about this love, as I am sure of you, oh life, oh my life, oh heart of this heart, you were the first love and the first and last you will be for me.
“How many nights have I not seen you, not felt you in my arms, not kissed your face, not held you tight in my arms but waking from these dreams, you make me cry for you.
“I can only think of you, one thought comforts me, that you only think of me, the most beautiful woman of all, is never more beautiful than you.”
In three years’ time both Bosso and Napoli will hold their grand Centenary Celebrations to mark a century in existence.
It’s been quite a remarkable journey for both of them.
But, thanks to the strength of their roots, they have weathered many storms, including internal rebellions, to remain a part of geography rather than a piece of history.
Napoli’s biggest rivals in Italy are Roma.
On May 30, 1984, when Roma hosted Liverpool in the European Cup final at Rome’s Stadio Olimpico, it’s very likely that many Napoli fans were backing the Reds.
A maiden European Cup success story by their fiercest rivals would not have been good news for the Napoli fans.
And, it didn’t help that, as was later confirmed, Roma had bribed the referee, in the second leg of the semi-final, to edge a battling Dundee United.
The Liverpool hero that night, in a 4-2 penalty shootout win, was Bruce Grobbelaar and his spaghetti legs.
It’s very unlikely that the Napoli fans knew that the man who cheered their spirits that night, by helping condemn Roma to a painful defeat, cut his football milk teeth at Highlanders. Their Siamese twin from Zimbabwe, which was established in the same year as their Napoli, in 1926.
FOOTBALL HAS BEEN CRUEL TO BOSSO
There are football clubs that are easy to hate for a number of reasons – they are huge, they dominated a certain era, they appear to get a helping hand from referees and their fans, spoiled by success, are an arrogant lot.
One such club is Manchester United.
They are so arrogant they can pay Phil Jones a fortune for just being a squad member for years but cannot rehabilitate Mason Greenwood to bring him back into the team after his court case collapsed.
It doesn’t help that they have a manager whose arrogance is as pronounced as a bald head which is home to a computer box which fooled him that a player who had dismally failed at Burnley could provide a solution for United’s search for goals.
As expected, it didn’t work out and, after 17 Premier League games, including seven as a substitute, Wout Weghorst left without a league goal.
When one takes into consideration his time at Burnley, that’s a combined 37 league matches and a return of just TWO goals, at an average of a goal every 18 games.
Somehow, I am a United fan, as proud as they come.
Then, there are football clubs that are easy to love — they respect their fans, represent them with distinction and, even though the odds are seemingly always stacked against them, they battle with everything they have.
Napoli are one such club and Highlanders also belong to this club.
On May 4, this year, Napoli won their country’s premier football prize, the prestigious Serie A title, after a 1-1 draw against Udinese, ending a lengthy wait stretching 33 years.
When the first half of this domestic Premiership campaign ends tomorrow, Highlanders will be top of the table, dreaming of winning the league title which they first won 33 years ago.
The question to be answered tomorrow is whether Bosso will be sitting just a point clear or seven points clear of the chasing pack.
It’s the defence which wins championships and if Peter Muduhwa and his men can maintain their form, then they could have a big shout in the destiny of the title.
Four goals conceded in 16 games, at an average of a goal every four matches, is the stuff which champions are made of even though concern remains about the impotence of their attack.
Fourteen goals, in 16 games, is a very poor return and that is highlighted by the fact that Herentals, who regularly field the oldest player in the league to lead their attack, have scored more goals than the misfiring Bosso forwards.
That they have scored the least number of goals, among all the teams in the top half of the league, and a good chunk have come from defenders and the ‘keeper, puts into perspective the fatal flaws, which Brito must address.
When you have a strikeforce, which is scoring as many goals as a Hwange side which will celebrate should they avoid relegation, it should raise concern if the mission is to win the championship.
If only Brito had someone, half as good as Zenzo Moyo, in terms of scoring goals, then this championship would have been his to celebrate.
SEVENTEEN, NUMBERS DON’T LIE
If I was asked to name a club I would prefer to win the championship this season, I would go for Bosso, without any hesitation at all and, crucially, without any sense of shame in saying that.
Let me quickly add that, as someone who supports all the football clubs in this country, I wouldn’t mind if any other team, which is not Bosso, were to win the championship.
But, it’s the grand Bosso celebrations, in the event of such a success story being written, which will certainly cheer my spirits more than this title being won by any other side.
Simply because I feel that football owes Bosso a favour after this club, somehow, ended on the wrong side of the battle for the championship in 2012 and 2013.
In the two campaigns, Bosso finished with the same number of points as champions Dynamos but, on both occasions, they lost because of an inferior goal difference.
Kelvin Kaindu was in charge of Highlanders in those two years.
He is probably the only coach, in the history of world football, whose side finished with the highest number of points, in two successive seasons, but was never crowned champion.
Kaindu is definitely the only coach in the history of local football to lose just one match, in the entire campaign, but still fail to be crowned champion.
That happened in 2012 when Bosso only lost once, in a 0-3 defeat to Monomotapa at Rufaro, with that loss coming in the 24th match of the season.
They went for 23 games, without defeat, became the first team, in the era of the modern Premiership, to go the whole season without losing at home, including winning their last EIGHT home ties.
In the two seasons, in which an inferior goal difference denied them the championship, Bosso won more games (36) compared to Dynamos (35) but still didn’t win the title.
Maybe, if the football gods are fair, they should ensure Highlanders win this year’s title, on the 10th anniversary of the year when 16 wins, compared to 14 wins for Dynamos, still ended up not being enough for Bosso to be champions.
The two giants ended with the same number of points (54), as had been the case the previous season (69), but on both occasions, the title went to the Glamour Boys because of a superior goal difference.
In every year, which ends with a THREE, Highlanders have been very competitive in the championship race.
Thirty years ago, Bosso won the Premiership’s maiden championship in 1993 and, 20 years ago, Highlanders finished second, just one point behind champions Amazulu, in 2003.
Ten years ago Bosso again finished second but, this time, only because of an inferior goal difference.
I’m someone who believes in the power of numbers and I don’t think that the number 17 is just floating around, when it comes to the Bosso story, for no apparent reason.
Their Siamese twin, Napoli, ended their lengthy wait for the Scudetto this season and, if you believe in fate and numbers, this could be telling us something about Bosso.
Marek Hamski holds the record for the most appearances for Napoli after featuring in 520 matches for the club.
Last month, at the age of 35, Hamski announced his retirement from all forms of football.
His shirt number at Napoli was 17.
That’s the number of years which have passed since Highlanders last won the league championship.
And, when you consider that’s the number of league games, which Weghorst played for Manchester United, without scoring a goal, you can understand that it has been very, very long.
Scoring is an area which Bosso have to deal with if they are to realise their dream of winning the championship this season.
To God Be The Glory!
Peace to the GEPA Chief, the Big Fish, George Norton, Daily Service, Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse and all the Chakariboys still in the struggle.
Come on United!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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