By Langton Nyakwenda
He is only 20 but is already a leader on the pitch and when he speaks he exudes a maturity that belies his age. Peace Makaha is one of the few at Dynamos who epitomise the club’s legendary never-say-die spirit and it’s not surprising that he wears the captain’s armband in the absence of Ocean Mushure and Obey Mwerahari.
Makaha loves Dynamos and was overcome with emotion when he finally realised his childhood dream of scoring a goal for them in DeMbare’s 2-1 win over Harare City at the National Sports Stadium last Sunday. The defender was full of tears as he celebrated his team’s opener in a game they needed to win to go three points clear at the top of the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League.
“Emotions got the better of me because I love DeMbare so much. When that shot hit the target I could not control myself, I could not believe that I had really scored such a crucial goal. I didn’t know what to do, so I burst into an emotional cry before running to our bench to celebrate with my coaches. If we were playing at Rufaro, where one can even run to the stands, I think I would have gone on to hug my mum,” said Makaha.
Makaha had a tough upbringing. His transformation into a man began at the tender age of 10 when his parents, Boniface and Thandiwe, divorced. Thandiwe would spend three or more months in Botswana doing menial jobs while Peace stayed behind with his siblings Vimbai and Anesu.
“Each time she would leave mum would always say ‘Peace ndiwe baba’, so I knew early on that I was the father of the house and had to be responsible,” recalled Makaha.
The Dynamos player has a full plate as he has to take care of his mum as well as pay school fees for his siblings, Vimbai – who is now an Upper Sixth student – and Anesu, a 14-year-old Kambuzuma High School student.
“Some people are nurses, others doctors and I am a footballer, that is my job and I treat it as such. I am always out to win matches, losing means loss of income and I hate losing. The biggest motivation for me is the need to take care of my family, they look up to me and I cannot let them down,” said Makaha.
The DeMbare defender, born to Apostolic Faith Mission deacons, is also highly spiritual.
“God has taken me this far. I was raised by a single mother and you know how tough it is raising a boy in a ghetto like Kambuzuma but mom would always pray. All she wanted was a good life for me and my siblings. At one point she pushed me to join the army but I told her football was my destiny. She then started giving me bus fare to go and train with Black Rhinos’ reserve side in the hope that I would get into the army through football but I would divert and go to Devine Academy instead,” said Makaha.
The defender revealed that he fell in love with Dynamos after watching them beat Motor Action 1-0 in a rain-soaked 2011 Mbada Diamonds Cup final at the NSS.
“I just went to the stadium to watch the final, not supporting any team but there is something about Dynamos that really charmed me. I could see the fighting spirit that was being displayed by players like King Mura (Murape), Denver Mukamba and Roderick Mutuma and vowed to myself that one day I would be like them. Although my father had already separated with my mother, he has always been supportive and he is the one who gave me bus fare to go watch that final,” said Makaha.
His dream was then made possible by David “Yogi” Mandigora.
“It was coach Mandigora who brought me to Dynamos in January 2015 after he had spotted me playing for Devine Academy against Cranborne Bullets. I was then sent straight to the reserve side and that’s where I learnt a lot about the Dynamos spirit,” recalled Makaha.
His Premiership debut came at Rufaro on October 9, 2016 when Lloyd Mutasa played him as a defensive linkman in a game that DeMbare drew 1-1 against Hwange.
“I always played as a defensive midfielder even at school but soon after that game against Hwange, Father (Mutasa) came to me and told me in future he would use me as a right back and that is how I switched from being a d-link.
“I have great respect for Mutasa because he gave me my breakthrough and there is no way I can question his decisions. I believe everyone in the dressing room owes coach Mutasa, he has changed our lives but investing his trust in us,” said Makaha. It’s seven games to go before the 2017 league race concludes and Dynamos are sitting on top of the rest with 56 points.
There are still 21 points to play for but after last Sunday’s 2-1 win over Harare City, Makaha is sensing blood.
“This is Dynamos, people can talk and talk but we know what this team means and what is expected of us. Yes, it is still a long way to go but, like our coach said the other day, we just didn’t wake up at the top, we worked for it and if anyone thinks that we will just relinquish that position without a fight they are dreaming,” he roared. The Sunday Mail