By Eddie Chikamhi
Former Dynamos forward, Simon Chuma, says the Glamour Boys are now being run like a tuckshop and have lost their way terribly.
Chuma, who celebrated his 50th birthday last week, said playing for DeMbare used to be a privilege and an honour.
He remembers the first time he made it to senior team.
He won four league titles with DeMbare.
But, he says, the club are now barely recognisable as the giants who used to rule local football.
“Things have really changed at Dynamos now, compared to our time,’’ said Chuma.
“Almost every player wanted to play for Dynamos, the club was the pride of Zimbabwe.’’
They had strong development structures, from where Chuma, and the likes of Memory Mucherahowa, Vitalis Takawira, Chamu Musanhu, Hope Chihota and Tichaona Diya, graduated to the senior team.
“No one is perfect, but the system was so organised, from the juniors up to the senior team,’’ said Chuma.
“There were sound structures and technical teams which knew the system well.
“Even from the juniors, we were taught how the senior team operates, therefore, it was simple to go into the senior team, straight from the juniors.
“Now, the team has no junior structures and is being operated like a tuck-shop. It now depends on buying players, instead of grooming their own,” said Chuma.
A proud product of the Dynamos juniors, Chuma started playing football at a young age in Gweru, before his family relocated to Marondera. In 1985 when he was 15 years old, he joined the Dynamos juniors that were coached by Daniel “Dididi” Ncube, David George and Kuda Muchemeyi.
Club legend Moses Chunga, who made waves in Belgium, was his biggest inspiration.
“At Dynamos juniors I teamed up with the likes of Tawurayi and Nyaro Mangwiro, Memory Mucherahowa, Cobert Chimedza, Alois Godzi, Vitalis Takawira, Lloyd Mutasa, Twoboy Chiku, Kachubwa Rosi, Charlton Katsvere, Chamu Musanhu, Hope Chihota, Earnest Chigama, Gari Mukangairwa, Tichaona Diya, Luis Kutinyu just to mention a few.
“As juniors we were always playing before big crowds as curtain raisers, so we always watched the senior team playing most of the home games. I was inspired by Moses Chunga. I used to enjoy watching him play.”
Chuma won the Dynamos Junior Player of the Year Award, on several occasions and, in 1992, he was rewarded with a month-long attachment at former English Premier League side Coventry City.
He believes the coaches of that era should be given respect because they always gave young players the chance to showcase their talents.
“My biggest inspiration came when Memory Mucherahowa got promoted from the juniors to the first team,’’ he said.
“That’s when I became serious about playing football at a higher level.
“In fact, all junior players that time realised that they all had chances to play in the first team.
“Besides, we were coached by experienced coaches, who believed in promoting the youth.
“I also got promoted to train with the first team in 1988. I played for the reserve side before I was drafted into the first team in 1989.
“It was like a dream to wear the blue jersey of the first team.’’
Chuma said the team always targeted winning major trophies.
“At Dynamos, my biggest memories were winning trophies, and representing Zimbabwe, in the African Champions League,’’ he said.
“We won a lot of trophies locally. But, my lowest point was when I got a nasty injury which prematurely ended my career when I was only aged 26.
“I believe my best decision in life was to choose to play for the Dynamos juniors.
“This was a stepping stone for my career. In 1991, I was chosen as the best young player at Dynamos, and was given an opportunity for an attachment at Coventry City in the UK, together with Benjamin Nkonjera of Highlanders.’’
Since he officially retired in 2000, Chuma has had stints with Dynamos as juniors’ coach.
He has also been roped in as assistant coach of the senior team.
The CAF B Coaching Licence holder briefly coached junior teams in China and came back just after the Covid-19 outbreak.
But, he said, his heart bleeds when he sees Dynamos having to fight for survival.
Only last week CAF unwittingly turned back the hands of time when they posted a DeMbare line-up, with three other teams, under the caption: “Which is the GOAT club wearing blue on the continent?”
Dynamos may not be the best, among the lot, but they are known in CAF corridors for reaching the final of the Champions League in 1998.
They also hold the record of winning 21 domestic league titles.
“For the team to go back to the top, they need juniors and they must be coached by qualified coaches who understand modern football,’’ he said.
“As long as they continue buying new players, every season, I believe that is a short-term measure which does not address the root of the problem.
“A permanent solution is to create your own source of players, through a strong junior policy.
“In fact, all Premier Soccer League clubs must be forced to have junior teams playing in a competitive League.’’ The Herald