CHAOS erupted at Rufaro yesterday as scores of angry Dynamos supporters engaged in running battles with the police after the Glamour Boys’ poor start to the season reached a new low as they crashed to their first home Castle Lager Premiership defeat at the hands of FC Platinum. The country’s biggest and most successful football club, who have turned into an average team this season, slumped into 15th place on the Premiership table and only newboys Border Strikers have been a poorer team this year.
DeMbare have now played three league matches at the place they call home and only picked one point in a dull draw against Triangle and, crucially, they are yet to score in 270 minutes in their fortress in league action. In case you have just forgotten, they have also lost to CAPS United, for the first time in a league match in seven years, and yesterday the fans could not take it any more and exploded in rage as they disowned their men, the first time it has happened in history and gave a standing ovation to FC Platinum.
Then, outside the main VIP Entrance, chaos erupted. Gift Bello, a former Dynamos player, took advantage of poor marking inside the box and headed in the only goal of the match from a corner kick swung into the box by Elvis Moyo after only 21 minutes.
DeMbare never recovered from the blow and, with each passing minute, frustration was exploding in the stands. The Glamour Boys had one of their worst starts to the season under Paulo Jorge Silva, who was sacked on Thursday, with DeMbare only managing five points in five starts before the Portuguese gaffer was dismissed.
Silva was given a standing ovation by the fans in the Vietnam Stand when he walked into the stadium, and his popularity rocketed when he challenged a close call by the first assistant who ruled that Obey Mwerahari had strayed into an off-side position.
And the DeMbare fans, who converged outside the main entrance of the VIP Stand, then chanted Silva’s name, after the game, showing that they still believed in the Portuguese gaffer. With Lloyd Mutasa having been given the mandate to lead the side on the interim basis for the next five games, it appears DeMbare supporters now don’t know who to blame and where to turn to during this free-fall.
The angry mob yesterday blocked the main exit gate, chanting derogatory songs against their club’s leadership and calling for the reinstatement of Silva. “Mubaiwa usaite funny funny nevanhu,” they sang as they directed their anger towards their club president Kenny Mubaiwa, who was not at the stadium yesterday.
And, as their ranks swelled, the protest soon turned violent. Police, who were assisted by Dynamos marshals to clear the area, were overwhelmed by the stone-throwing mob for close to an hour and had to retreat into the stadium before calling in reinforcements.
The Harare City Council van, which transports cash from the stadium, was caught in the crossfire as it made its way out. The Dynamos team bus was trapped inside the stadium while FC Platinum and their coach Norman Mapeza were cheered when they left the stadium.
Eventually, teargas were fired into the air but the mob still fought back before they decided to disperse after more than an hour of pandemonium. The Dynamos leadership, which was also under fire from a section of supporters for appointing the Portuguese coach, will surely be seized with a new challenge in the post-Silva era. “For a result, it’s quite disappointing because we really needed to bounce back. Unfortunately we conceded what I thought was a simple goal coming from a set piece,” said Mutasa.
You always think that in these set pieces you need individual concentration but we were found wanting on that occasion.” The Harare giants virtually played second fiddle to the platinum miners, who have become a well-drilled unit under Mapeza. They were always second to the ball with the visitors’ Winstone Mhango, Rodwell Chinyengetere and Tatenda Dzumbunu controlling the engine room. Dynamos’ first meaningful shot at goal came in the 54th minute.
Again the DeMbare frontline had another miserable day in office after starting unchanged with Kudzanayi Nyakasaka and Rodreck Mutuma, a poor imitation of men who used to lead the club’s last line of attack. Nyakasaka had a good chance in the 15th minute when an overhead ball deceived the FC Platinum defenders and, with the goalkeeper off his line, chipped wildly over.
FC Platinum then benefited from poor defending when Bello, probably the shortest man in the box, somehow managed to get his head on the ball from a corner kick just when both sides were still trying to settle. The visitors seized the initiative and were all over the hosts and frustrated fans then started chanting Silva’s name.