‘Make derby a carnival atmosphere’
Petros Kausiyo-Sports Editor
AS the famous Harare derby between Dynamos and CAPS United headlines the return of Premiership action to the capital, hosts DeMbare have rallied their multitude of fans to show their force and turn the National Sports Stadium into a cauldron of blue and white.
The top-flight league has this week been celebrating the end of a four-month enforced hibernation from Harare owing to the closure of the National Sports Stadium to pave way for some repair work that needed to be undertaken at the facility.
Premiership clubs in Harare have had to endure the trouble of looking for alternative venues due to the non-availability of a certified stadium as another stadium — Rufaro — remains closed with Harare City Council still dragging their feet to conclude on-going refurbishment of the capital’s traditional home of football.
Dynamos and CAPS United who have had to squat at Barbourfields and Bata in Gweru respectively, will square off in the latest edition of the famous Harare derby that has already generated excitement among the two giants’ fans.
Of course genuine concerns continue to hang over as the game comes just a fortnight after domestic football turned on its ugly side with the mayhem that forced a premature end to the premium clash between Dynamos and Highlanders after just 38 minutes of action.
The orgy of violence and hooliganism has since resulted in both Dynamos and Highlanders being hauled before the Premier Soccer League ‘s disciplinary committee, where they are due to appear next Tuesday.
But away from the Barbourfields mayhem that was as bad an advert as any Zimbabwean game could get, the Dynamos management want their fans to turn on a different leaf and show the brighter side of the country’s flagship sport.
Club vice-chairman Vincent Chawonza yesterday told Zimpapers Sports hub that they have been appealing to their fans to put on a carnival atmosphere at the National Sports Stadium.
Chawonza said it was imperative that the two clubs use the derby to showcase the power of football in a lively atmosphere that is trouble-free.
“As we return to the National Sports Stadium for our home games for the first time in four months the Dynamos Football Club management extends a warm welcome back to all the DeMbare supporters and fans alike to come in our numbers and show our full force as the giants of Zimbabwean and African football,’’ Chawonza said.
The Dynamos vice-chairman also paid special tribute to their Bulawayo fans whom he said helped inspire Genesis Mangombe and his charges to keep pace with the title-chasing pack.
“As we engage our old city rivals CAPS United in the famous Harare derby on Sunday, we take this opportunity to pay special tribute to our Bulawayo Chapter of supporters for the sterling work they have done in driving the team during the period in which we had play our home games at Barbourfields.
“Were it not for the marvelous backing the team received whenever we played at Barbourfields, we would probably not be in the mix for the title chase and long may that kind of support and spirit continue.
“Now the baton has been passed back to those in and around Harare to continue to be the Glamour Boys’ 12th man.
“While we call upon all the Dynamos supporters in particular and football enthusiasts at large to come and watch our new brand of entertaining football, we reiterate that VIOLENCE and HOOLIGANISM have no place in our beautiful game.
“We urge you all to make the latest edition of the derby a carnival atmosphere, one that will showcase the Dynamos tradition and our stature as the biggest club in the country.’’
Chawonza said although they were pulling all the stops to handle an expected bumper crowd, he urged the fans to also avoid a late rush to find their way into the stadium.
While acknowledging that football fandom is part of the fabric that drives this game, Chawonza insisted on the need to respect match officials and their decisions as part of efforts to avoid violence.
“Let us also come early to avoid undue pressure at the turnstiles and enjoy a fine family outing and we urge everyone to respect the decisions of the match officials and to accept the outcome of the game whether it is a draw, defeat or win for us.
“May the best team on the day win.”