Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Senior Sports Reporter
UNITED Kingdom-based former Dynamos captain Memory Mucherahowa says any fixture for the Glamour Boys in the City of Kings was never an ordinary football match, but literally a warzone both on and off the field.
So intense was the atmosphere that it sometimes took them more than half an hour to drive from their hotel to Barbourfields Stadium or Luveve Stadium, while the time taken to get back after the match depended on the results regardless of the team they would have played against.
“I remember one time we were playing AmaZulu at Luveve Stadium and Highlanders were playing out of Bulawayo, but some supporters somehow ganged up and waited for us by the filling station coming from Luveve and they started attacking us with stones and everything you can think of. All the windows of our bus were shattered and we had to go underneath the seats. It was horrible you know,” said Mucherahowa.
Prior to the birth of AmaZulu, DeMbare would come to Bulawayo to play against Eagles, Zimbabwe Saints and Highlanders and the 1994 Soccer Star of the Year remembers vividly that it didn’t matter which opponent they were playing, but their presence in the city was never pleasant.
“If you refer to my book, Soul of Seven Million Dreams: The Memory Mucherahowa Story, about this riot at Barbourfields Stadium, I wrote about it and when we played Zimbabwe Saints and Highlanders and those days when I started it was Eagles, but we didn’t experience the same treatment when we played either Zimbabwe Saints or Highlanders. For instance, Zimbabwe Saints didn’t have so many supporters, but it was always difficult to make our way to the stadium against them and I think it’s because the Highlanders’ supporters were also involved,” said Mucherahowa.
“I still remember the other time, it took us about 30 minutes for the gate to be opened. We were not allowed at all to go near the entrance, even warm-up; it was difficult because we were blocked. There was fighting everywhere and these were Zimbabwe Saints officials mainly and I remember the other time when Dhidhidhi and Homela nearly exchanged blows and had to be separated. So for Saints it was mainly the officials. However, as for Highlanders, it was a different matter altogether; it was really bad because even from the hotel to the stadium and back the supporters would be throwing stones at our bus. I am sure you even remember that incident involving Makwinji Soma-Phiri and Liqwa Gama, such was the intensity one could touch it,” he said.
In 2015, Mucherahowa stoked fires after accusing five-time Soccer Star of the Year George Shaya of giving them a raw deal during his time as DeMbare chairman.
Mucherahowa accused Shaya of embezzling about US$16 million which was part of the club’s share for reaching the 1998 Caf Champions League final. He said Shaya gave them soup, while he (Shaya) devoured all the meat.