BY MICHAEL KARIATI THE Harare Derby arrives at the National Sports Stadium this afternoon without the excitement and power of attraction of the past.
Once regarded among Africa’s top derbies like the one in Kenya between AFC Leopards and Go Mahia, the game between Caps United and Dynamos has become so ordinary that only a few notice its arrival.
With Caps United under the weather and Dynamos on a downward spiral at this time of the season the first of the Harare derbies on Sunday looks like it’s not even there at all.
Fine, Dynamos have skilled individuals in Bill Antonio and Emmanuel Paga and Caps United have big game players like William Manhondo, Phineas Bamusi and Ronald Chinyengetere, but their inconsistency has failed to light up Harare.
In fact, the Harare derby has been losing its glamour and glitz over the past few years due to a combination of factors, one of which is that the matches are becoming less and less exciting.
Former Dynamos goalkeeper Labani Kandi observes that there is too much emphasis on winning to the extent that both Caps United and Dynamos have forgotten that spectators also need to be entertained to earn the value for their money.
There is no team spirit to talk of anymore, no individual class, and what remains are the too many gate cashiers who have little job to do even for the modest US$3 gate charge as spectators are also staying away.
Gone are the days when the stadium was packed to the brim, the days when Moses Chunga, Stanley Ndunduma, Vitalis Takawira, Stix Mtizwa, Farai Mbidzo, Tauya Murewa, Joel Shambo, Edward Katswere, Friday Phiri, and Memory Mucherahowa, turned on the style and left a story to tell for years to come.
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The days when Shacky Tauro, Gift Mpariwa, and Stewart Murisa, came up with great goals and not forgetting the duels involving Shacky Tauro and Misheck Marimo, and later on Alois Bunjira and Kaitano Tembo.
The days like the one in which Caps United massacred Dynamos in a 7-1 win and Dynamos trying to avenge that humiliation, but without success for many years to come.
Today, Caps United are going into the Harare Derby having lost all their past five matches to Triangle, Cranbourne Bullets, FC Platinum, Chicken Inn, and Bulawayo Chiefs.
Dynamos have also not won their past three matches losing to Highlanders and drawing against Herentals and of all teams, Bulawayo City, who are in 17th place in the 18-team assembly.
Worse still is the fact that Caps United have not scored a single goal in their last four matches, the same going for Dynamos who have not tested the nets in their last two outings.
This was unheard of going into the derby and clearly shows how the once heavily followed and much talked about Harare Derby has gone off the boil.
Instead of this interesting new statistics conjuring up excitement, there is, in fact, skepticism that the show today could be one of the most boring Harare derbies in history.
The game also arrives when both sets of players are crying over unpaid bonuses with Caps United having taken the drastic action of offloading vocal voices while the bomb at Dynamos is still ticking.
However, there is no question that die hard Dynamos supporters like Mike ‘Chuchu’ Chindowa and Chris ‘Romario’ Musekiwa and the Caps United band of Mercy ‘Mai Valle’ Kudzedzereka, and Shingirai Miti, will be at the National Sports Stadium to rally behind their respective teams.
The onus is now on the players of both teams to prove critics wrong by producing a match worth to be called the Harare Derby – a match that would be talked about for years to come.
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