Yesetryear heroes

HARARE - It is supposed to be Zimbabwe’s wealthiest football team, but Dynamos has not known good governance and transparency for close to two decades, says club legend Henry Chari.

Chari, a man who devoted over 12 years of his life in helping Dynamos became a house-hold name, speaks of his sadness to see his boyhood club turn 50 this year with nothing but only the support of millions of Zimbabweans to show for it.

A steely defender known to take no prisoners in his many battles for DeMbare in the 80s and 90s, Chari was instrumental in helping the Harare giants win six of its record 19 Zimbabwean league titles.

For all their glamour and success on the pitch, even the essential of assets such as a team bus still remains elusive for the current crop of Dynamos players.

It is against this background that “Beefy”, nicknamed so in recognition of his once brawny frame, no longer has the same vigour when he talks about his former club.

Chari bared his soul in an interview with the Daily News this week.

“It will be crying not celebrating,” Chari says of the Dynamos golden jubilee celebrations slated for this year.

“Not only has this team failed to turn its wide popularity into tangible assets, this team called Dynamos has also produced destitutes. Now we want to celebrate 50 years in existence but what do we have to show for it? Nothing, it’s painful. We lack the guided policies to bring the club to where it should be.”

Chari lays the blame for Dynamos’ misery on the appointment of administrators who are insensitive to the team’s rich history.

“The founding fathers have failed to place a management that has the team at heart. The management has failed Dynamos, there are there for commercial reasons, not the team,” he says.

“We have tried to talk to these founders for a long time but to no avail. I tell you, former Dynamos players have become outsiders. We can’t even get into a match to watch the team playing without Cephas (a Dynamos bouncer) turning us back.

This even happens in the presence of (club chairperson) Kenny Mubaiwa.

Nyika Chifamba says we should be far away from the club because we are now old and the time we played is now long gone. There is absolutely no respect for former players.

“Even the way we treat our player belies the fact that we are the biggest club in Zimbabwe.

“Look at the time when us guys played in the 80s, when Job Kadengu was chairperson. There was sponsorship for Dynamos, but the club would give unemployed players unemployment benefits.

“Now the club has thousands of supporters paying to watch matches and BancABC paying players’ salaries.

But the club still struggles to pay winning bonuses. There is something wrong, someone somewhere is misusing funds he says.”

Chari says former players have tried to engage the club’s founding members but all negotiations have hit a brick wall.

Chari broke into a formidable DeMbare outfit at the raw age of 16 in 1983.

The Mbare-bred star took little time to settle, albeit as a striker.

In the same period, he was also getting regular game time for the Zimbabwe Under-20 side.

He was, however, converted into a defender at the end of 1986 after an ankle injury slowed his pace down.

 “I remember we had travelled to Highlanders and our centre-back Ernest Mutano could not make it so (coach Sunday) Chidzambwa said I should play in his position. I believe I was a revelation in that match, so that’s how my journey as a defender began.”

Chari would go on to establish himself as one of the meanest defenders in the country. Being a former striker, his attacking instinct also manifested, making him a complete defender.
Chants of“Beefy” soon became a trademark mantra at Rufaro Stadium every time he had the ball at his feet.

Chari also had clashes with the then Dynamos management and in the early 90’s was part of a breakaway movement that went on to form Dynamos United.

His project was not successful, but Chari does not regret making that move.

 “At that time we were like dogs going to hunt but unfortunately the meat we brought home would all be eaten by the management,” he says.

So it was now survival of the fittest, we had no option but to hunt and then eat the food we hunted there in the bush.”

Chari, who is now 43, hung his boots in 1997.

He claims he still has one of the trophies won by Dynamos in 1989, but vowed not to surrender it to the club.

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