CHAMU Musanhu is a concerned man after coming face to face with the fallen standards of the Harare Derby.
The Dynamos legend, who is temporarily in the country from his base in the UK, found time to watch the derby between his former club and CAPS United at the National Sports Stadium on Sunday.
The two giants played out a 1-1 draw in their final match of the Castle Lager Premiership football season in a game that had no bearing to the position either finished the season on.
Dynamos were already four points behind second-placed Chicken Inn while CAPS United, who finished 11th, had no chance to close in on 10th place.
That rendered the big game more academical while there were also some bragging rights to fight for.
Given both teams punched below their weight, in a season the local football fans deserted the game, supporters were expected to turn their backs on the usually breaming derby.
Despite some efforts from both sides, including a lately-organised road show to drum up support in the streets, the derby lacked the glamour normally associated with it with a record low attendance.
And Musanhu, a member of the trailblazing Dynamos class of 1998 which reached the CAF Champions League final, was left puzzled not only with the lack of interest in the big match but with the standards displayed on the pitch by both sets of players on Sunday.
He said the “dead rubber” nature of the game wasn’t the only reason fans shunned this game but the general lack of quality in the field of play.
“I was surprised not to see any Dynamos flag when I was driving to the National Sports Stadium on Sunday. I was a bit taken aback. But I just realised there is no longer that hunger at Dynamos or CAPS United,” said Musanhu, who flew into the country on Saturday.
“There is no longer the DNA which used to define these two giants. Anyone would know the line-ups for both clubs but I don’t even know the name of even the two strikers playing right now. It all comes down to the issue of identity which these teams are lacking”.
The former Young Warriors centre-back said teams ought to revive the vibrant junior policies which used to define the big brands.
“Both CAPS United and Dynamos used to have strong junior policies which were well-run.
“Secondly, these two teams recruited players from communities which also had vibrant community teams.
“In Mbare, we had Mbare United, Mabvuku had Mabvuku United and the like. Players would get the basics in these teams and they would gel before even joining junior teams at the big clubs.
“Then, a group of players, mainly from the same community would grow up in the system, for example, at CAPS United or Dynamos. Actually back in the day, you would find out that at Dynamos the players were predominantly from Mbare and Mufakose while at CAPS United, the players were mostly from Glen Norah, Mufakose and Mabvuku.
“That means these players understood each other and the chemistry was top-notch. There was identity and every player would feel they belonged to the club and they would literally die for the team.” Musanhu appealed to the authorities to reconsider the curtain-raisers who used to play before big matches.
“By the time the players would graduate into the senior team, they would have become used to the crowds and the demands of playing for a certain team given the vibrancy in terms of junior football.
“Look, junior teams would play curtain-raisers in front of huge crowds and they would grow up used to these fans.
“That, in a way, improved the players confidence and you would see quality when they eventually graduated into the senior teams.
“Back then, players had the passion to play football and they were talented. There was talent all over and you would enjoy the game. So many talented players were at Dynamos and CAPS United. At CAPS United, you would see the late Joe “Kode” Mugabe, Stewart “Shutto” Murisa and Morgan Nkhatazo, among others, while we had Memory Mucherahowa, Tauya Murehwa and others.
“You would find that these teams had an identity. Even without putting their colours, you would see this is Dynamos playing or CAPS United. That was because these teams had identity for reasons I have already mentioned”.