Zanu bids for Dynamos

BY TORBY CHIMHASHU HARARE - The ruling Zanu (PF), its support base dwindling drastically, is turning to two popular football clubs to help it regain some popular support. Most Zimbabweans have always been fervent supporters of the game. Political events usually feature soccer games between popular t

eams in order to attract public attendance. Two premiership teams – Dynamos Football club, Harare’s glamour side, and Bulawayo’s favourite Zimbabwe Saints – have been targeted for a management take-over by Zanu (PF) heavies. Soccer fans are worried that the clubs will go the way of everything else Zanu has destroyed. “It seems they are not content with having destroyed the economy, farming, employment, the informal trading sector, education, cricket and rugby – they now want to ruin our favourite game,” lamented a life-long Dynamos supporter this week. “You can be sure the political interference in soccer will not lead to an improvement in the game.” Dynamos, fondly called Dembare, because of its roots in Mbare where it was formed in 1963, has been always viewed as a symbol of power for the Shonas. For some time it has been rumoured that Zanu (PF) was at the root of the internal power struggle that has dogged the club for years. Things came to a head in December when Ignatious Chombo, local government minister, promised to bankroll the club and publicly paid tribute to the players for having saved it from relegation. After a disastrous season, Dynamos scraped through by beating the lowly Masvingo United 2-1 on the last day of the 2005 Buddie Soccer Season. The celebrations were attended by a number of Zanu (PF) business cronies, as well as labour minister, Nicholas Goche and deputy information minister Bright Matonga. Dynamos coach, Moses Chunga, who had been quoted in the state-owned press as saying some members of the club’s executive were “more Zanu (PF) than others”, was publicly rebuked by Chombo, who said “We will not tolerate such behaviour.” Retribution followed swiftly. Chunga was fired two weeks later, although there are apparently moves afoot to bring him back in. It has since emerged that Chombo and Ray Kaukonde, governor for Mashonaland East, are set to bankroll the club. Kaukonde’s Amalgamated Motor Corporation (AMC), which employs Richard Chiminya, the chairman of Dynamos Board of Trustees, and Innscor Limited, are said to be ready to inject funds. Meanwhile, Zanu (PF) Central Committee member, Esau Mupfumi is slowly but surely increasing his grip on the Saints. The Mutare-based businessman is said to enjoy the support of both Kaukonde and Zimbabwe’s king-maker Solomon Mujuru.

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