THE referee has just signalled for a goal but one man in the stands is not happy with the decision during a Zifa Eastern Region Division One match last year.
The visibly angry individual stands up while shouting, “Come on ref; that was a clear offside”.
It’s clear that this person is not happy at all and in the end, he is able to calm down after the intervention of a woman sitting next to him.
With the way the man reacted, one would get the sense that he is a passionate supporter of the team that has just conceded.
However, that’s not the case, Gray Hama, 42, is the proprietor of second tier football side aptly named Grayham FC.
Together with his wife Miriam, 34, the couple have been bankrolling the team since its days as a social club right up to its rise to Division One.
From humble beginnings, the couple has established a sprouting business empire in Ruwa some 30km from Harare’s CBD.
Their interest mainly is the Grayham Hardware and Transport which has given them the financial resources to bankroll the team.
Hama and Miriam are inseparable as they are always side by side be it when they are conducting business or watching their football team in action.
It is safe to say that they are football’s equivalent of the gospel power couple of Charles Charamba and Olivia.
“Even the scriptures in Amos 3:3 say ‘do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?’” Hama tells the Daily News on Sunday.
“This speaks more of an agreement between God and His prophets and by the same token I believe we were agreeable to this union by the love that binds us.
“Miriam is more than a wife to me, she is my best friend and an acquaintance. The fruits of the relationship have even helped more to cement the relationship which I can say is heaven sent.”
Last year was Grayham FC’s maiden appearance in Division One football, definitely a stage higher as the team found the going tough but managed to achieve their goal of surviving relegation by a whisker.
“Most of the guys where Division Two material, these are the players we had in the lower league, we believe with more experience they will take the brand forward,” Hama says.
“Our first year in the first division brought to the fore important lessons and we realised that we needed some experienced guys who have been playing in the same league, experienced is earned you don’t buy it.
“Those we took from Division Two have earned valuable experience but we will need to boost particularly our front line, the midfield and defence have been doing quite well but we weren’t sharp upfront.”
Hama insists on organic growth and is not looking to put the team under immense pressure to win promotion into the Premiership.
“We are targeting top 10 this year, a quick look in the league you will see big teams such as Mwenezana and Bikita; these are perennial contenders who have been playing in this league for more 10 years,” he said.
“For me realistically if we can play for three or four more seasons gaining the much-needed experience then we can start thinking of going for the jugular and gain promotion into the Premiership.”
From the earnings realised from their hardware and transport, the couple has managed to steer the football ship but believes now it’s high time other partners come on board to help carry the vision to greater heights.
“Many challenges (facing), to run a soccer team you need a lot of money, we have been using our own resources and at times it appears as if you are pouring money in a drain but we will not look back,” Hama says.
“We are trying our best we will continue pouring money in the team we have some other people coming through as well.
“There’s a cousin of mine who is based in South Africa who is very much interested in supporting the team. He has been taking part and last year he was giving the players some bonuses and this year he has promised to bank roll most of the club activities.”
The couple is blessed with four children – boys Bryson,15, Brandton, 8, and girls Britley, 6, and seven-month-old Grayce.
“Grayce likes soccer and it is by no surprise because when her mother was expecting, she actually was more instrumental in the running of the club than I did last year, she just had a lot of passion,” Hama said.
“She’s very much behind the project she is not even against it, we are working together but challenges remain that as a growing company we still looking for funds so that we can be able to strike a balance between business and the soccer.”
Miriam said she got into football by accident.
“Initially I never liked soccer but since my best friend and husband was so into it I said let me try to support him in his endeavours,” she tells the Daily News on Sunday.
“That said the rest is history, I have grown to love soccer so much it has since bowled me over taking away my mind and soul I can say I am now soccer’s number one supporter.
“Our prayer is that the team performs well and we hope that we should be able to find sponsorship which will make the going easier because as a family we trying our level best but we are failing to get to where we actually want to be because of financial constraints. We believe if the team starts producing better results it will attract sponsorship.”
Miriam says she enjoys it when her husband gets mad over officiating decisions.
“I grew to understand that soccer is a religion and people can do anything for football. The good thing is that soccer is a family sport and whatever environment he expects to see his own children being groomed under is the kind of environment he should always strive to maintain for a whole lot of kids watching football at any given time,” Miriam says.
“It may hurt for a second but he has learnt to control himself and give sport a chance, remember we always do our business as a family which means we are always with our children quite often than not.”