FOR over four decades, fans of the Harare Derby between Premiership football giants CAPS United and Dynamos have been held spellbound by the intriguing clashes that have divided the capital in leaps and bounds either at Rufaro or National Sports Stadium.
Ever since the first duel back in 1976 when a George Shaya-inspired DeMbare thrashed their then league debutants 3-1 in front of a packed house at Rufaro, many household names who featured in this famous derby have come and gone.
So intense has been the derby’s rivalry that only a handful of players like former ‘keeper Matthew Mwale (who was the first to move from Dynamos to CAPS United), defender Edward “Major Murefu” Muchongwe, midfielder Lovemore “MaGents” Ncube and striker Roderick “Prince” Mutuma, have crossed the Great Divide to play for both sides.
DeMbare have had predatory finishers who used to score regularly against their foes like David “Broom Boy” George, Moses “Bambo” Chunga, Gift “Ghetto” Mpariwa, Sebastien “Ngonjo” Mutizirwa and Edward “Dhudhuza” Sadomba whilst Makepekepe’s artillery over their sworn enemy were the likes of Shacky “Mr Goals” Tauro, Friday “Breakdown” Phiri, Alois “Zola” Bunjira, Stewart “Shutto’ Murisa”, Leonard “Agahowa” Tsipa and Nyasha “Shaqui” Mushekwi.
But which build-up combinations were the most devastating down both wings to set up the scoring chances for those top strikers?
After a lot of soul-searching, I eventually came up with the following trio of combinations who were from the brilliant 80s sides of the two protagonists: Makepekepe’s right wing combination that was made up of their skipper Joel “Jubille” Shambo, Stanford “Stix” Mutizwa and Stanley “Sinyo” Ndunduma and DeMbare’s combination of Oliver “Monitoring Force” Kateya, Hamid “Muzukuru” Dhana and Edward “Madhobha” Katsvere.
The two sets of attacking trios had a telepathy that was a rare species and would swing the tide in the favour of either side on most occasions during their clashes.
For the green jerseys, Shambo was a master ball-juggler with intricate ball-winning tactics that also included an amazing chest control. He was also a magnificent winner in the air.
The CAPS United leader was well complimented by Mutizwa, a dribbling wizard who earned his nickname because of the way the ball used to “stick” to his feet once he gained possession.
Mutizwa had the same, uncanny chest control ability as Shambo and the pair would, at times, stun the crowd by exchanging passes using their chests!
The above two artists loved to concentrate their play toward the right flank where a supportive Ndunduma would lay in wait.
Sinyo was a little, tricky, fast paced winger who lavished in the one-on-one situations down that right flank and dazzle his way past his markers.
And once the exchanges between the trio was complete, Ndunduma would float in perfect deliveries for the likes of Tauro or Phiri.
If the Green Machine used to cause havoc for the Blue Army down the right flank, their own faithfuls would also hold their breaths each time Dynamos gained possession down the left flank with left wing-back Kateya being the first to call the warning shots.
The bearded athlete possessed great speed, “carried over” from his earlier days as a pacy forward and was unfazed once in possession as he advanced forward.
In support of Kateya would be Dhana, a stylish midfielder with a cultured left foot that turned defenders inside out because of his dribbling repertoire. Muzukuru would then lay the ball into the path of the on-rushing Katsvere to continue with the plunder.
Madhobha was a little wing nemeisis whose favourite trick was a deceptive body swerve that was accompanied by a delightful flick over the advancing marker before waltzing away to create more pace and finally deliver the cross for the hungry duo of Mpariwa or Kembo Chunga.
Of course, there would be different combinations for the two respective giants in years to follow which included the likes of Basil Chisopo, Joe “Kode” Mugabe, Joseph Kamwendo, Oscar Machapa, Hardlife Zvirekwi and Joel Ngodzo (CAPS) and Kenneth ‘Computer’ Jere, Memory ‘Mwendamberi’ Mucherahohwa, Callisto Pasuwa, Tauya Murehwa, Tonderai Ndiraya and Denver Mukamba (Dynamos).
But for me, the Shambo-Mutizwa-Ndunduma and Kateya-Dhana-Katsvere casts stole my uppermost vision.
One thing remains without question though: The Harare Derby’s competitive spirit lives on.