Home » Sports » Satan Concluded His Devilbook Post With a Damning Criticism of the Herald [column]

I WAS away last week, and my colleague Bothwell Mahlengwe held fort, pouring out his frustration about what he feels was the ill-treatment of Callisto Pasuwa by his employers and mourning the departure of a coach he considers a genius of our time.

Deep in the heart of Rafingora’s vast farming community, I buried my uncle, Misheck Matewu, one of the few guys I knew, who lived a life divorced from football.

But the game’s footprints are everywhere in this country and, at the farm that we laid him to rest, there is even a well-tendered football ground, and they have a team they are proud of.

It’s my hope that the race that my uncle ran, here on earth, was good enough to get him a place in Heaven.

HELL TO HOST ZIFA EGM

Well, talking about Heaven, I have just learnt that Hell will this month host the ZIFA extraordinary meeting, which was postponed at the last minute last month.

The ZIFA secretariat settled for Hell, as the perfect venue for the indaba, having been impressed by the strict rules and regulations, which bind everyone who goes there, with questions — of any sort whatsoever — being outlawed by the regime out there.

“The good thing about Hell is that no one can’t enter that place unless one signs a declaration form that they will not ask any questions, or provide any leaks, of what happens there,” an e-mail from 53 Livingstone Avenue, which was sent to all the ZIFA board members, reads.

That means there will be no questions on the controversy surrounding the outstanding issue of the US$700 000, picked by auditors from their books, which some believe was at the heart of the decision to postpone the EGM in November, when it was set for Earth in Harare.

No one will ask why the first explanation from the secretariat, at the last meeting of the ZIFA councillors, was that this $700 000 was part of the debt, inherited from the Wellington Nyatanga board, whose term of office came to an end in March 2010.

And why, when the newspapers argued there was no way this could be an overflow from Nyatanga and his team, given that the audited financial statements were only restricted to the period from 2011 to 2013, the song was then changed to say this was money owed to creditors.

There will be no questions on why ZIFA decided to launch an outrageous, if not impossible, bid to host the 2017 Nations Cup finals, even against a depressing background of a year where they have lost just about every piece of furniture at their office to creditors.

And why the chief executive Jonathan Mashingaidze decided, against all conventional wisdom — to try and court Botswana — as a possible partner in the hosting of the 2017 Nations Cup finals, just a few months after that country failed to get their government’s backing to host a smaller tournament like the COSAFA Cup.

Or questions about our doomed 2015 Nations Cup qualification bid, which ended in the preliminary round, the continued absence of the game’s leadership from the stadiums, leaving us with this arrangement, where a whole national game is once again run by remote control, from some boardroom, or is it bedroom, in the capital?

In return, Hell will be given the exclusive rights to host the 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 ZIFA Cup, a tournament that has been on the calendar for the past four years, but which has never been played, probably because the ZIFA leadership felt there were no suitable venues on Earth to host such a prestigious tourney.

Health experts will question the idea of having a tournament played in a place where soaring temperatures are likely to compromise the health of the players but ZIFA medical experts have said it’s “not any way worse than playing a Premiership game in Hwange in October.”

Of course, there is the issue that among Hell’s residents, for example, football ranks way below their traditional sports, the favourite being “gnashing of teeth,” but the ZIFA leadership are convinced that taking their 2015 ZIFA Cup there will be “the ideal opportunity to take football into fresh and exciting markets”.

“We examined the bids from the 10 provinces in Zimbabwe, who wanted to host our prestigious ZIFA Cup from next year, and had reservations about what they all offered,” a confidential ZIFA document, which has been circulated among councillors, says.

“We found none of them could match Hell, which promised exciting commercial opportunities for soul-selling and matches where fans won’t complain even if the association’s leadership does not turn up for their show.”

Satan, ZIFA insisted on their website, was “an individual of the highest moral character, and an example to the rest of the Football Family, who will produce a video of the recording he took, from his kingdom, which will prove that the training equipment for the FIFACOSAFA training course was, indeed, blown off a kombi as it was being transported to Bulawayo.”

In return, Satan has also paid glowing tribute to the ZIFA leaders.

“The ZIFA leaders have been wonderful role models,” Satan posted on his Devilbook page this week.

“They have so much to teach me before I can make the step up from running Hell to get to their levels of heartlessness.

“Their treatment of Guthrie Zhokinyi and Edmore “ZiKeeper” Sibanda, in the last three years, has not only been impressive but exemplary.

“They are a constant inspiration.”

Satan concluded his Devilbook post with a damning indictment of The Herald’s coverage of ZIFA affairs, describing the newspaper as an agent of evil, being paid by some people either in Heaven, or the current football-loving Pope, who supports San Lorenzo of Argentina, to tarnish the image of his dear friends.

“I have already cast my spell on San Lorenzo to lose their FIFA Club World Cup semi-final on Wednesday in Marrakech, Morocco,” Satan said.

“I’m sorry I was on my annual holiday when ZIFA sent a team to Morocco last month and I could not influence a result that would have given my friends something to brag about going into the end of the year.

“But you might have noticed that I have already punished Morocco, for that victory, by ensuring that they are banned from the next two Nations Cup tournaments.”

Robson Sharuko pays tribute to Allan Tyres, a Daily Telegraph journalist, who came up with the original idea of an imaginary 2026 FIFA World Cup to be hosted in Hell.

MAHLENGWE AND THE ISSUES HE RAISED LAST WEEK

Bothwell Mahlengwe, the guy who held fort for me last week, is a DeMbare fan, who was shooting from the hip, in a no-holds-barred take on the events at the club, with a damning criticism of his team’s leadership.

He sang a song, which appears very popular at the Glamour Boys right now, where Pasuwa’s stock has risen dramatically, in the wake of the ugliness that has painted his divorce from a team he turned into the dominant force on the domestic scene again.

Pasuwa gave his team’s fans the bragging rights they had lost, in the worst dozen years of their history, which ended with his arrival.

DeMbare’s finest hour might have come in 1998, with their grand march to the final of the Champions League where they came within 90 minutes, and just a bit of Fair Play from their hosts, from being crowned kings of African football.

But that was an isolated island of success, in a period dominated by an ocean of unprecedented failure, for the Glamour Boys.

From 1998 to 2010, which represent the Lost Dozen Years, Dynamos won just one league championship, in 2007, which represented one league title every 12 years, a pathetic return for a club which, from 1963 to 1997, a period of about 34 years, won 16 league titles — at an average of a league every two years.

Pasuwa’s arrival in 2011 helped the Glamour Boys rediscover their spirit of indomitability, a reconnection with the DNA that had made them such special species, when it came to the domestic football landscape, a unique spirit that made them conquer, most of the time they went into battle, and a fiery character that disowned failure.

His four successive titles was a trailblazing aenture into a world that we never believed existed, one coach winning four championships on the trot with not only the same team, but the very team where lasting a year in charge represented a milestone achievement, and that his success story hadn’t been written, in 52 years, highlighted why it was so special.

Interestingly, it took DeMbare 13 years from their formation, in the so-called golden years when some of their players included legends like George Shaya and Ernest Kamba, to win four league titles in 1963, 1965, 1970 and 1976, something that Pasuwa managed to do, in just four years, of leading the Glamour Boys.

Pasuwa has, in just four years, guided Dynamos to more league titles than they won in the entire Swinging Sixties (two titles — 1963 and 1965), than they won in the 70s (three titles — 1970, when colour television, and a whole generation of boys destined to make a mark in the world, arrived on the scene, 1976 and 1978), as many as they won in the ’90s, when they had Memory, Digital, Doctor and company, and more than they won in the first decade after the turn of the millennium (one — 2007).

He never lost to his team’s biggest rivals, CAPS United and Highlanders, in the games that matter, and Bothwell’s passionate argument last week, was that — just like an old-fashioned love story — Dynamos might never know what they had, until its gone, and Pasuwa’s true value will be realised now that he is not on the scene.

Wow, welcome to the real world MaDeMbare.

You now know how we felt when our old man, Sir Alex Ferguson, left us, after a 26-year love affair that, twice, turned us into champions of Europe, and twice into champions of the world, and he was replaced by a coach, so clueless at this level of guiding such a giant, we became the laughing stock of everyone.

BUT LET’S LOOK AT THE OTHER SIDE OF THE COIN

While I agree with Bothwell that Pasuwa has done wonders at Dynamos, and he deserved to be treated better, I didn’t agree with his position on the club’s leadership, especially Kenny Mubaiwa, who has been in the trenches in all the four years, which the Glamour Boys have been champions.

In stripping the current DeMbare leadership bare, for what he argued were their shortcomings in the running of the team, Bothwell gave credit to former chairman Farai Munetsi for the BancABC deal, which has been a game-changer at the club.

But there are serious deficiencies in using that formula because it’s tantamount to saying that Pasuwa should not get credit for the league titles, simply because he inherited a team that had been assembled by Lloyd Mutasa, midway during the 2011 season.

As much as we are giving Pasuwa credit for turning the team assembled by Mutasa into serial champions, we should also give Mubaiwa and his executive credit for the way they have nursed the BancABC deal and giving the sponsors the confidence, when the initial deal expired at the end of last year, to commit themselves to a fresh one that ends in December 2017.

Mubaiwa might not be the most popular DeMbare chairman ever because he also shoots from the hip, and there are a lot of people who probably don’t like the way he dresses, but he has been a success story at the club and to try and not give him credit, for the league titles that have flowed in the past four years, would be very unfair.

Ultimately, in this game, it’s about trophies, and he has delivered on that front as the leader of the team, and if he were to choose today, that he needs to rest, no one will take away the fact that he has been the most successful leader that this club has ever known.

Pasuwa’s story at DeMbare, in the last four years, and all the success he has achieved, cannot be separated from Mubaiwa, they might not have been the best of buddies, but somehow they made up a formidable team that specialised in the art of winning league titles.

Mubaiwa reminds me of David Dein, the Arsenal former Arsenal vice-chairman, the man who recruited Arsene Wenger, when he was coaching some obscure team in Japan in 1996, with people in England, including the media, asking “Arsene Who?”

Well, 18 years later, Wenger has become the most successful manager in the history of the Gunners.

Dein was the man who recruited Patrick Vieira, Emmanuel Petit, Marc Overmars, Robert Pires, Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie and Wenger has delivered the league title in 199798, 200102 and his Invincibles in 200304, the FA Cup in ’97’98, 200102, 200203, 200405 and 201314.

In April 2007, Dein left Arsenal because of “irreconcilable differences with the board” and Henry said his departure had dismayed him so much he also felt the time had come to leave, with the Frenchman eventually leaving for Barcelona.

“The departure of David Dein had an influence on his decision,” Wenger said of Henry’s departure.

“In a way it helped it.”

Interestingly, after Dein’s departure, Arsenal are yet to win a league title, with only an FA Cup, which they won last season, being the only silverware they have captured.

The point which I’m trying to emphasise is that there is tendency by the people in football to underrate the work that those in leadership positions do and, as far as I’m concerned, Mubaiwa and Pasuwa were a formidable team, with each man playing a big role, and they needed to continue their tag-team.

A GAME THAT DOESN’T CARE

Doug Munatsi, the outgoing BancABC group chief executive, is probably one of our football’s finest friends, the man who stood by the game when all sponsors had fled the scene, when the BancABC Sup8r Cup was the only branded tournament we had in 2010.

Working in tandem with his colleague, Francis Dzanya — the outgoing chief operations officer — they revolutionised our football, not only with their sponsorship of Highlanders and Dynamos, but the money they poured into the Sup8r Cup.

And, when they were the last sponsors standing in 2010, they helped convince other sponsors that they could come on board without having to worry about their corporate brands being corroded.

“We have a bank in there,” became a bargaining tool of our football leaders as they looked for sponsors for the then unbranded Premiership in 2010, “and if a bank is comfortable with us, surely it means that we can provide a partnership that guarantees that your corporate brand will not be tarnished.”

And, among those who made the decision to invest in our game, our partnership with the bank was a key factor as they also said “if a bank is in there, surely we can also go in there, without worrying about our image being tarnished.”

So we saw Delta returning, we saw Mbada Diamonds coming on board, and even sponsoring the Warriors, we saw Marange Diamonds coming, we saw NetOne coming, we saw SuperSport coming, we saw World Navi coming, we saw Yadah TV coming and we saw Supreme Panel Beaters coming.

Early this week, BancABC announced that Munatsi and Dzanya would be leaving the bank at the end of this month as part of the shareholding changes that have happened there.

Of course, there wasn’t even a statement from our football leadership, to thank these two men for standing with the game, when no one was there with us in the trenches, for their game-changing support for Dynamos and Highlanders and, crucially, for providing the tool that our officials bargained with to lure other sponsors.

But that is us, at our very best, a game that doesn’t care, varume vakuru vanokanganwa chazuro nehope.

Kusanyara kwedu kunonyadzisa shuwa!

But, maybe just like the Dynamos leadership, our game might never know what they had, until it’s gone, and Munatsi and Dzanya’s true value will be realised, now that they are not on the scene.

To God Be The Glory!

Come on United!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Di Mariaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

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Source : The Herald

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