Tafadzwa Matope

Meet the visually impaired DeMbare fan

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FOR most fans of the game, watching soccer is a feast for the eyes, but for Tafadzwa Matope “watching” his beloved Dynamos in action is an extra sensory experience, as the 31-year-old, who is visually impaired, has had to rely on other senses to follow the fortunes of the club he started supporting two decades ago.

For years sport followers have been awestruck by the seemingly supernatural powers of observation of cricket analyst Dean du Plessis, oblivious to the fact that soccer has less heralded equivalence to the cricket-mad commentator.

B-Metro Sport caught up with Matope on the sidelines of last Sunday’s Highlanders and Dynamos blockbuster tie that was played at a packed and heaving Barbourfields Stadium.

“I started supporting Dynamos when I was 11 years old. My father used to take me to Rufaro Stadium, National Sports Stadium and Zimbabwe Grounds in support of DeMbare. The whole family was Dynamos,” said Matope, an executive assistant at Bulawayo Polytechnic’s administration department.

Despite being blind, Matope doesn’t let that small detail stop him when it comes to supporting his beloved Glamour Boys. He has been in Gweru, Zvishavane and Harare all in the love of the Glamour Boys.

“I was born with this condition. I usually follow my team through radio commentary but I also go to different stadia.

I follow Dynamos when they come to Gweru, Zvishavane and if I’m not tied up I also travel to Harare and I am a very loyal DeMbare fan. I believe that despite my condition I should not be disadvantaged of social interaction,” he said.

Wearing his team’s colours and without a trace of disappointment after the 3-0 DeMbare loss, Matope was still beaming from having been to Emagumeni as he was  seen hugging fellow football followers as they filtered out of the stadium.

“What I can say, the Zimbabweans who are out there, even those with disabilities like myself, you are free to support whatever team you can, you are free to support at whatever time you feel you can.

“Right now I came to Barbourfields Stadium. I wanted to pay but they refused, they said no, don’t pay. Actually they returned my money but I was prepared to pay because I need to support my team and I am here to support the team,” said Matope who was clad in complete DeMbare regalia.