Up close with DeMbare captain Mukarati Frank Makarati with wife Paidamoyo Matanhire and their kids Kayden and Kendrick

Langton Nyakwenda

THE last four months of the year 2023 came with some significant blessings for Dynamos captain Frank Makarati.

His second son, Kendrick, was born in September, a few days before Makarati got a call-up to the national team.

Makarati was included in the Warriors squad for a friendly match against Botswana, but was later sacrificed by coach Brito, to enable him to play for his club Dynamos, who were still in the race for the 2023 Castle Lager Premier Soccer League title.

Sadly, DeMbare fizzled out and surrendered to Ngezi Platinum Stars who claimed their maiden championship.

But, Makarati and his troops got a huge consolation as Dynamos atoned for the championship pain with a famous 2-0 victory against Ngezi Platinum Stars in the Chibuku Super Cup final at Baobab on December 3.

The 29-year-old centre back, became the first Dynamos skipper to lift a major trophy since 2014, when the Harare giants won their last Premier Soccer League title.

He could lift a second trophy in as many months, if DeMbare do the double over Madamburo in today’s Castle Challenge Cup, which features the league champions and winners of the Chibuku Super Cup.

Baobab is the scene of this latest battle and kick off is 2PM.

“As the captain I am prepared for everything, but at the end of it all I should be on the winning side,” Makarati told Zimpapers Sports.

“What we want is for the team to start the year with a major cup. If we win, everyone can have a gold medal for this Challenge Cup, so it will be a plus for everyone.”

Wearing the Dynamos captain’s armband doesn’t come cheap.

A lot is expected of you, on and off the pitch.

More so, given the fact that a number of iconic players like Francis Shonhayi, Angirayi Chapo, Memory Mucherahowa, Desmond Maringwa and Murape Murape have worn this armband before.

However, for Makarati, the therapy for this incessant and inevitable pressure has come from his home.

His wife Paidamoyo Matanhire has been a pillar of strength and a perfect fit for the old adage — behind every successful man there’s a woman.

The couple has two sons, Kayden who is four years old and the baby Kendrick who was born in September.

Makarati finds comfort from his wife and two sons

“Since I got married my career took a good turn,” says Makarati.

“My wife understands that I am a footballer, so when things are not okay at the team she takes her time to comfort me.

“My wife and the kids make my life, these are my people. If they are happy then my things move in the right direction.

“She is a God fearing person and I thank the Almighty for giving me a wife like her. She has changed a lot of things about me,” adds Makarati.

Dynamos and Ngezi Platinum Stars met thrice last season, twice in the league and in the Chibuku Super Cup final.

Madamburo won the first league fixture 2-1 at Baobab on May 28 before DeMbare turned the tables with a similar victory at the National Sports on October 18.

Dynamos then got the better of Ngezi in the Chibuku Super Cup final.

And Makarati feels his former team is under pressure to avenge for that Cup final loss.

“We beat Ngezi Platinum Stars twice towards the end of last season, including the Cup final, so I think they are under pressure going into the Castle Challenge Cup,” he said.

Dynamos are entering their 10th year without winning the league championship and today’s Cup game could give a glimpse of what to expect from the Harare giants, ahead of the 2024 season which kicks off next weekend.

DeMbare have managed to retain the core of the squad that finished third last season including Soccer Star of the Year runner-up Donald “GD 6” Mudadi.

Key players like Tanaka “Kante” Shandirwa, Emmanuel Jalai, Elton Chikona and Issa Sadiki are also still at DeMbare.

Of the 11 that started the 2023 Chibuku Super Cup final, only Junior Makunike has left Dynamos.

“Continuity is critical in any football team,” says Makarati.

“As you know we are Dynamos and we are expected to win all the times.

“But that doesn’t put us under pressure, we will just treat this match as a football game that will not be easy for both teams.”

Although the Dynamos skipper thinks today’s game will not be a real measure of his team’s pedigree, he agrees a victory could boost their confidence ahead of the 2024 Castle Lager Premier Soccer League.

“This game serves as part of preparations for the upcoming season, but we also want to win the Cup.

“That’s why we have been training extra hard,” said the former How Mine player.

X: @LangtonGuraz

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