In recent years, football derbies between Bulawayo teams have lost glamour and luster.
Boycotting of games by local soccer fans has become a trend.
When passing in local bars, Egodini Bus Terminus and other crowded places in Bulawayo, there is no passion or excitement that used to be there when Bulawayo giants like Highlanders, Zimbabwe Saints and AmaZulu played against each other in yester-years.
Former Zimbabwe national team striker and now Prison TD coach Agent a�?Ajiraa�? Sawu believes that the movement of players from all parts of Zimbabwe has killed that excitement that was once there.
a�?The movement of players from one club to another has killed the excitement that used to be there. If you look at Bulawayo clubs in previous years you could see that they were made up of local boys.
a�?But if you look at those clubs now you will find that a squad is made up of various players that come from all over Zimbabwe,a�? said Sawu.
Sawu further urged Bulawayo soccer fans to come in numbers and support the boys so that they try and bring back the joy and excitement that was once there when they were playing.
a�?Supporters must come in their numbers and show the players that they are behind them so that they get motivated.
a�?Players need support and fans must do likewise and not complain that Bulawayo teams are filled with players not from Bulawayo,a�? said Sawu.
Zim Leopards coach Bonani a�?Slonziea�? Maphosa blames the absence of a sound junior development programmes.
He said the developmentA� has killed the spirit of the Bulawayo derby as most players imported from other clubs no longer understand the importance of a derby.
a�?When we were growing up, those players that were playing for the likes of Highlanders and Zimbabwe Saints used to stay together, some of them grew up together, were friends and no one wanted to lose to another. If you look at Highlanders, How Mine, Chicken Inn and Bantu Rovers less than a third of the players were born and bred in Bulawayo, so those imported players no longer have that winning mentality and they dona��t craze for the bragging rights in town because it means nothing to them,a�? said Maphosa.
Tonderai Salimu, a Highlanders fan saidA� soccer to other players was now all about money, not pride.
a�?Nowadays players play soccer just for the love of money. They no longer have that pride of playing for a certain team. To them ita��s more like a business venture,a�? said Salimu.