I risked my life for Dynamos: Dinyero

HARARE - Masimba Dinyero does not regret risking everything for the famous Dynamos team that reached the African Champions League final for the first and only time in 1998.

Dinyero featured in that DeMbare side which braved the hostile conditions in Ivory Coast to put up a spirited fight against Asec Mimosas in the second leg in Abidjan.

Sunday Chidzambwa’s side went on to lose 4-2 against the Ivorian giants, who boasted the likes of Kolo Touré, Didier Zokora, and Aruna Dindane, men who would later become household world-class players.

That Dynamos outfit had its own stars in the form of such players as Gift Muzadzi, Calisto Pasuwa, Lloyd Mutasa, Makwinji Soma-Phiri, amongst a robust and varied array of talent in the Glamour Boys rank.

It is however the off field antics displayed by the West Africans that still draw sad memories.

“It was war out there,” Dinyero nostalgically recalls in an interview with the Daily News.

“That’s the day I will never forget, we risked our lives for Dynamos on that trip. We were tormented from the onset. They even sent revellers to where we had been camped to make sure we wouldn’t get any sleep.”

Dinyero narrates how captain Memory Mucherahowa had to be sent to hospital before the match after his chick bone was fractured in an off-field incident before the match.

“Memory was head-butted by an Asec player during the warm-up, that’s how intense things were. He later on fainted during the national anthem and had to be ferried to hospital. We almost boycotted the match, but the match commissioner, who was from North Africa, gave us a deaf ear."

“There was also an issue about Pasuwa having gone to the other side of the pitch. We were warming-up, but suddenly we saw Pasuwa being mobbed. We rushed over and we retaliated. Whilst all this was happening, the TV cameras had been switched off so no one saw anything.”

Despite the off field mischiefs, the Glamour Boys had themselves to blame after missing a glut of chances to conquer Africa.

Dinyero dismissed conspiracy theories that have cropped up in recent years blaming some Dynamos players of fixing the match.

“For the majority of us, we played our hearts out. We fought like soldiers, we dominated play and we should have brought home the title that day,” Dinyero says.

The bulk of players who represented Asec Mimosas that year, such as Toure and Zokora, were swooped by European teams.

This was not the case for Dynamos.

“We had been invited to take part in an invitational tournament in France together with Asec Mimosas after the final, but Mhofu refused to go. I believe he didn’t want to build a new Dynamos team from scratch because had we travelled to France, most of the players would have attracted the attention of scouts. Opportunity only knocks once, so we missed out on being scouted in that tournament. I don’t harbour any hard feelings. Mhofu was a father figure to us. So we respected his decision.”

Three years earlier, Dinyero had been part of the trailblazing Blackpool side that lost out in the semi-finals of the African Cup Winners Cup against JS Kabylie of Algeria. Another unforgettable experience for the diminutive Mbare-raised fullback.

“There was war in Algiers during that time,” Dinyero says.

“We had to travel with an escort. We were living ridiculously, a long distance away from the stadium but we braved the long journey to compete.  We lost 1-0 on away goals rule but that was another bad chapter in terms of the treatment we received. There is no room to be scared. You have to be mentally prepared to rebuff the poor treatment you will receive out there.”

Dinyero began his ascendency to fame in the streets of Mbare.

It was in that bustling high-density suburb where Dinyero would horn his skills, playing with makeshift balls and tennis balls.

He would later join Dynamos juniors in 1973 before briefly quitting so he would concentrate on school at the instruction of his father, who worked as a chef.

He however, remained in touch with his first love and in 1981 Dinyero made his Super League debut for Whiteman Football Club as a raw 16-year-old.

“I was being used as a substitute back then, it was quite tough because I was only a Form one student at George Stark, but I managed,” he says.

The hardworking Dinyero moved to Black Mambas in 1985, teaming up with the likes of July “Jujuju” Sharara, Wilfred Mahaja, Moses Nyati (late) and Collins Kabote.

It did not take long before his discipline and work rate stole the hearts of the Mambas technical team who would name him captain the following year.

Mambas was later disbanded in 1994, but the bulk of its players, including Dinyero, soldiered on with the police outfit.

The side went on to win the Castle Cup in their first year as Blackpool after beating Hwange 2-0 in the final, with Dinyero weighing in with one of the goals.

In 1996, Dinyero returned to Dynamos, helping the side finish second to CAPS United in the championship title race that year.

DeMbare would take the title in 1997.

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