Robson Sharuko Senior Sports Editor
WHEN the inevitable messy ending came, it was rough — the public rejection by his fans, the psychological trauma of watching them cheer the opponents and the brutality of the confirmation he was yet another horrible gamble that backfired spectacularly.
His face had been transformed into a source of some sickening abuse on social media, his nickname was now being ridiculed as symptomatic of the man, and all his crippling weaknesses, and his profile had been battered by the negativity generated by a marriage made in hell.
Lloyd Chigowe walked alone for one last time carrying the identity of “Dynamos coach,” on Easter Monday, seeking the sanctuary of the dressing rooms as the mob hurled him with all sorts of insults, his lanky figure a symbol of hate for many and a picture of resignation for others.
The ultimate image of failure, consumed by the demands of the dream job he had always fancied, swallowed by the challenges that come with coaching this DeMbare, itself a pathetic imitation of the original Dynamos, the one which once ruled this kingdom.
All the bravado he had shown in the recent past, including terming himself the “Special One,’’ lost in the moment of failure and a sharp contrast to that queer smile he used to flash after his fire-fighting mission last season ended in an obscure triumph of beating relegation.
Some reports even say he wore a mask on Sunday, which is hard to deny given the rampaging mob outside who were demanding a pound of his flesh, to escape from the stadium, which until these Glamour Boys started to become a punching bag, represented their Theatre of Dreams.
What can’t be disputed is that he fled from everyone — the media who were waiting for him to explain how everything had fallen apart so spectacularly, the opposing coach who was waiting for a handshake and the mob baying for his blood.
He probably also fled from MaBlanyo, this figure of hate and failure, which had sleep-walked into a job that was clearly bigger than the sum of the parts of its football knowledge.
He also fled from his woes because, for those who have been watching him closely in recent months, it became very clear the burden of the mission was taking a huge toll on him — physically, emotionally and possibly mentally — as he dealt with vicious abuse every day of his life.
It’s a marriage that was never supposed to happen — possibly the worst DeMbare assembled in the club’s history turning to probably the worst coach they could entrust the future of this team, now barely recognisable as the beast that used to dominate the kingdom.
Chigowe’s promotion to guide DeMbare was the kind of jokes that have made people like Trevor Noah very rich and, while his fire-fighting mission succeeded, with the help of a goal scored by a hand, it became clear at an early stage that this partnership would not blossom in the long-term.
We called him a rookie coach, and he objected to that with fury, while our colleagues at The Sunday Mail said “he doesn’t look convincing, neither does he inspire confidence when he goes about his drills,’’ after a visit to a DeMbare training session in June last year.
“I am not a rookie in football,” Chigowe told the Mail reporters.
“It’s not like I am coaching with a vending licence, I have a CAF A licence and I have gone through the coaching mill. Football is the same, as long as the boys apply what we tell them at the training ground, then I don’t see any reason to panic.
“It’s not like this is my first time to take charge of Dynamos at this level. Remember I was caretaker coach in 1992 after the sacking of Bob Lines and brought in players like Pasuwa (Callisto), Simon Chuma, Mugove Munyorovi and Chamu Musanhu into the first team.
“So, I laugh at people who portray me as a novice in this game. Those who know football history can tell you I am not a rookie.’’
Well, given he said he was 54 last year, it suggests he was about 27 when he first took his caretaker coaching role at Dynamos in 1992, a relatively young age when others of his generation were still playing.
But, maybe, an introspection of that year could help.
It was the worst season for Dynamos in the pre-Premiership era — 10 losses in the league, with only Mhangura (11) and bottom club Shushine (14) suffering more defeats, 44 goals conceded, with only Shushine (54) having a worse defensive record and seventh place on the table.
And MaBlanyo, for some strange reason, still wanted the DeMbare family to remember that, for him, a reflection of his fine romance with them.
“I am a legend when it comes to producing players who went on to play at the highest level in Zimbabwean football,’’ he said in that interview.
“I was also at Rufaro Rovers in 1996 with Lindile Dube. I was the founding coach of Douglas Warriors and also played a part at Zim Leopards, a team that later transformed into Fire Batteries.’’
Yes, give him some credit, at least he knows where he truly belongs — producing players and coaching the likes of Rufaro Rovers, Douglas Warriors and Fire Batteries, clubs that eventually collapsed.
Dynamos, even as pathetic as they have become, were just a level too high for MaBlanyo, but he isn’t the problem — it’s those who, somehow, saw value in him who should be answering the questions about what really tempted them to even try this flawed union?
It’s these men who have been reducing the country’s most successful and biggest football club into a punching bag and they don’t care at all, and driven into a corner, they sack the coach and bring the likes of MaBlanyo and Silva into the fold.
It’s insanity, that’s what Albert Einstein told us, this practice of doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
Interestingly, only two coaches — David Mandigora and Callisto Pasuwa — have won the championship with Dynamos in the 20 years since Sunday Chidzambwa left the club.
Yesterday, MaBlanyo joined the rest who have tried and failed and while they were all different, they were all the same.