Marriot spending too much time dreaming Bernard Marriot

Sharuko on Saturday

THE last time Dynamos featured among the big boys of African football, in the CAF Champions League, was TEN years ago.

That was on March 9, 2014.

The top selling smartphone in the world was an iPhone 6 Plus, the top Samsung phone was a Galaxy Note 4 and BlackBerry’s top model was the Passport.

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared in one of the world’s biggest aviation mysteries and, a decade down the line, what really happened is yet to be established.

Sepp Blatter was still the FIFA boss, Issa Hayatou was still in charge of African football and Muhammad Ali, the greatest boxer of all-time, was still alive.

The Stade Tata Raphael in Kinshasa hosted DeMbare’s farewell match and a penalty by Daddy Birori, also known as Etekiama Agiti Tady, settled the match in favour of AS Vita.

With the first leg having ended in a goalless draw, in Harare seven days earlier, Etekiama’s 38th minute penalty won the Congolese giants the first round match 1-0 on aggregate.

It was DeMbare’s third first round elimination, in four consecutive seasons in the CAF Champions League, in a dismal run in which their best performance was a second round appearance in 2012.

But even that second round appearance has to be put into context because it will be an insult to reality if it was coated in the colours of glory when the truth is that it was another advertisement of abject failure.

Probably, more than any other game, that second round blowout showed how much the Glamour Boys had drifted from the arena of champions and were now trapped on an island of misfits.

They conceded SIX goals in Tunis, in a demolition job that was as painful to watch as it was a mockery of everything which this proud club used to represent, as they crashed 0-6 at the hands of Esperance.

The aggregate score was 7-1.

When one considers that it took 40 years of playing in the Champions League for Dynamos to finally be eliminated in the first round, in 2011, the humiliation by Esperance illustrated how much the Glamour Boys had lost their way.

Until 2011, DeMbare had been so competitive in the Champions League they had NEVER been eliminated in the first round of the competition.

In ’98 they had reached the final and, ten years later, under David George’s guidance, they reached the semi-finals of the same tournament.

The 1-7 humiliation was as if Esperance had been told that their other nickname was Seven Million and, in that demolition job, the Tunisians were handing each million of DeMbare’s fans a goal, to really rub it in.

Somehow, they started telling us that they were now the African Brazil because, in the same year, the Samba Boys also crashed to a similar 1-7 defeat in the World Cup semi-finals at the hands of Germany.

For a decade now, DeMbare have not featured in the Champions League, or even in the second-tier CAF Confederation Cup as they wandered in football’s wilderness.

Somehow, their legacy remains intact, as if to mock them of how much they have fallen, and if you go to Wikipedia, and search for them, you get this response:

“Historically, Dynamos have been considered one of the great African teams.”

It’s a testament of the great work which successive generations of players, officials and players put into Dynamos, to transform it from being just a mere township club into one capable of fighting to become champions of Africa, over the years.

That was until Bernard Marriot became club board chairman, in April 2014, in what was effectively the first step in his secret project to steal the people’s team and convert it into his family’s personal property.

He took over power a month after DeMbare’s last appearance in the Champions League and, under his watch, the Glamour Boys have not returned to the arena where the real football heavyweights on the continent battle.

In a few months’ time, they are going back to play in a CAF inter-club competition, of course, not in the Champions League but in the Confederation Cup.

Marriot will argue that this represents the first step, in their bid to go back to where they used to belong, and I think it is only fair to give him the benefit of doubt for his hallucinations.

 SO MUCH NEEDS TO BE FIXED AT DYNAMOS                     

 This week, speaking to this newspaper, Marriot said all the club’s efforts should be channelled towards ensuring that DeMbare will make a big splash on their return to the big time.

He called for a united front, from his executive, with all focus being cast on the grand return to the jungles of African football.

I didn’t understand what he really meant by that because what I know is that Marriot is the executive and the executive is Marriot.

Yes, we have men who occupy positions within the Dynamos executive but the reality is that all their decisions have to be endorsed by Marriot.

They have to sing their master’s song, all the time, and what they have become, in all fairness, is the closest thing that humans have had to parrots.

Don’t get me wrong – we have brilliant individuals, well-educated and who have done well for themselves in their lives, in the current Dynamos executive.

But, the challenge is that they cannot use their wisdom and vision to transform this club because whatever decision they make has to be endorsed by Big Brother and many brilliant ideas end up being shot down.

For example, if these guys come up with a resolution to open the club to investors, who can come and pour in their money in return for a certain reward, they will be told that they want to invite vultures who will steal the club from Marriot.

So, they keep soldiering on even when they know they are operating in a wrong environment where the club pays the board chairman his monthly salary, and a DStv subscription, when it can’t pay its players winning bonuses.

Hearing Marriot say that all the focus should be on their return to the CAF competitions reminded me of how much Dynamos really lack sound leadership from its strongman.

Focus for Dynamos should be on strengthening their side so that the Glamour Boys can compete again, on the domestic scene, at the same level as the likes of FC Platinum.

Yes, they won the Chibuku Super Cup last season but this is a tournament that has been won by the likes of Harare City in the past and it’s not an endorsement of greatness.

The brutal reality is that these Glamour Boys are not in the right shape to compete again on the continent and the immediate task for their leadership would have been on strengthening the club – both in terms of its playing, coaching and leadership staff.

When all your club’s wins this season have come against newly-promoted sides, including one when they needed a ghost goal, and a boardroom decision against Chegutu Pirates, the focus should not be on the return to the African tournaments.

When your club has won once in your last seven league matches, with the win coming against a club playing for the first time in the top-flight league, the focus should not be on the return to the African tournaments.

When your club has failed to beat Chicken Inn, Ngezi, Herentals, FC Platinum and ZPC Kariba, in your last seven league matches, the focus should not be about potential battles against the likes of Zamalek, Esperance and TP Mazembe.

When your club needed a ghost goal, in the final minute, to beat a homeless Chegutu Pirates playing their first season in the Premier League, surely you can’t be dreaming of continental glory.

When your club has picked just eight, out of a possible 21 points, in their last seven league matches, for a failure rate of 38 percent, in which 62 percent of value has been lost in a maze of mediocrity, you can’t be talking about the CAF competitions.

There is so much that needs to be fixed at Dynamos before Marriot starts dreaming of his club doing well in the CAF competitions and that should be his focus.

I saw the pathetic number of people sitting in Vietnam last Sunday, during the ZPC Kariba match, who I could have possibly counted, and I told myself this just doesn’t look like Dynamos.

This is what Marriot should be fixing, trying to find how he can get the fans back to the stadium because Dynamos, without its crowd, is not DeMbare but DeMarriot.

For years, what used to make the difference for the Glamour Boys was that they had the CROWD and when it was in full flow it would also be a match for the opposition just the way Moses Chunga and company were a match on the field.

That was Dynamos and its leaders then had a right to dream of doing well in the CAF Champions League.

Not this Dynamos, not this leadership under Marriot.

It’s probably not a coincidence that the Glamour Boys’ beautiful romance with the Champions League ended just a month before Marriot took over as board chairman.

 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 Chegutu Pirates!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Zaireeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

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You can also interact with me on the ZTV football programme, Game Plan, where I join the legendary Charles “CNN” Mabika on Wednesdays

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