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RETIRED footballers who featured in yesteryear Harare Derbies between CAPS United and Dynamos believe some of the current players would not even have been good enough to polish their boots.

Former Dynamos striker Simon Chuma and ex-CAPS United midfielder Albert “Dalala” Mabika said the Harare Derby has lost its lustre because of lack of proper junior structures at the clubs.

Chuma doesn’t see the National Sports Stadium filling to capacity.

“There is the World Cup and people tend to be following those matches but I personally believe that the fans feel that the value of the Derby has gone down.

“During our days, we knew what it meant to play for a big club like Dynamos and CAPS United players also had their institution to protect.

“We will find that the matches between CAPS United and Dynamos were very exciting because the players involved gave a lot.

“Some of us had grown through the junior structures at the teams and I remember we had players like myself, Vitalis Takawira, Hope Chihota, Memory Mucherahowa, Taurai Mangwiro, Alois Godzi and Chamu Musanhu who had graduated from the juniors.

“CAPS had Joe Kode (Mugabe), Cheche Billiat and Morgan Nkhatazo who had developed through their system,” said Chuma.

Playing as juniors for either Dynamos or CAPS United, Chuma said, embedded the pride of the club in them.

“We had learnt from the older players that we have to win all matches and what it meant to wear the blue shirt.

“So you would find that we had come to know each other way before the big matches.

We played with each other in the junior leagues and at age-group teams, we would curtain-raise for the seniors.

“Playing as curtain raisers gave us a sense of pride and we were happy to play before the big crowds.

I think playing as juniors helped us to get used to big crowds.

“Even our fans were concerned if a junior team lost to the rivals before the main match,” said Chuma.

Currently only a handful of players at both sides came through their junior systems while the bulk have been purchased from elsewhere.

“We used to have the nucleus of the players having come from the juniors but now few players have came through the club’s juniors.

“Instead of having the Under-10s up to Under-18s curtaining -raising, we now get musicians playing.

“So the death in junior football at clubs is now taking away the excitement of the rivalry that we used to witness,” said Chuma.

Mabika feels the present generation of players are not talented footballers.

“There is a difference between the current Derbies and those in our times.

The last time I played, I think we beat Dynamos 7-1 because we had Ghetto who had came to join us.

“During our times, we had brilliant players who could be relied on to be play-makers. Those players could change the complexion of a game any minute,” said Mabika.

Mabika said both CAPS United and Dynamos now have average players who can at times crumble under pressure.

“I do not think the opposition coach will have any problem to single out any players who could give them trouble.

“The players are mediocre and it’s because they have not come through the mill as juniors,” said Mabika.

Source : The Herald