IT’S April 19 and less than 24 hours earlier, the two most successful football clubs in the land sized each other up before embarking on 90 minutes of football!
This was the very first time a ball had been kicked in anger in more than 15 months in Zimbabwe and poignantly it was in the Uhuru Cup to celebrate 41 years of our Independence.
Dynamos won the battle 2-0 but the war will most definitely play on!
Back to the lecture at hand: after the 90 odd minutes of pulsating football the previous day, players, coaches and administrators from both sides mixed it up after the game and in the following morning had breakfast together.
Players were reportedly observed taking pictures at their hotel premises, sitting at tables not according to respective clubs, be it as friends and peers who have over the years formed friendships that now transcend the rivalry of local club football’s biggest derby.
“It was one of those rare opportunities that you get to camp at the same hotel with your opponents. To me we were just rivals for those 90 minutes, we fought for the top Independence Day local football accolade which we lost to Dynamos and I think there was no harm in seeing players from both clubs hugging, chatting and taking pictures after the game. After all we are all Zimbabweans,” reckoned Highlanders defence stalwart Peter Muduhwa.
Muduhwa’s sentiments were echoed by his coach Mandla “Lulu” Mpofu.
“We are football people who belong to different clubs but we are Zimbabweans. We were in Harare to spice up the Independence Day celebrations and it was no wonder to see club officials and players posing for pictures and sharing one or two insights about the beautiful game. Actually, staying in the same hotel and seeing each other closely even a day after the match was a rare opportunity which entailed a spirit of togetherness.”
Dynamos marketing and communications manager Yvonne Mangunda said it was pleasing to see the two camps get along on the day that Zimbabwe turned 41.
“These players tend to know each other from academies and even from their former schools so there was no way they were going to fully avoid each other. There was a need to come together as Zimbabweans because the rivalry was on the pitch. It was a pleasing experience for all of us as Zimbabweans,” said Mangunda.