Minister breathes fire Tells Zifa to curb hooliganism Bosso condemn violence
THE Government reacted angrily yesterday in the wake of another outburst of violence in the domestic Premiership, with the high-profile Bulawayo derby between Chicken Inn and Highlanders being marred by disturbances, saying the cancer was destroying the image of the country’s top-flight league.
The match ended 1-1, albeit in controversial circumstances sparked by a refereeing decision that torched ugly scenes of violence at Barbourfields, with some hooligans invading the pitch from the Soweto End and even charging and throwing missiles at the police.
Tafadzwa Kutinyu scored what should have been Chicken Inn’s winner, in time added on, but referee Nkosikhona Moyo disallowed the goal saying that he had blown to end the match by the time the midfielder fired home.
However, questions are now being asked as to why Moyo — who is a rookie at this level of the game — was appointed to handle the biggest football derby in the City of Kings given that this referee has handled less than five Premiership matches in the past two years.
Yesterday, the Government challenged Zifa to take more decisive and punitive action against hooligans in order to weed rogue elements out of domestic football.
Sports and Recreation Minister Makhosini Hlongwane said the level of violence in the domestic Premiership was unacceptable and the Government will not watch from a distance while hooligans hijack the national game and turn it into their battleground.
Hlongwane told a press conference in the capital yesterday that the Government wanted Zifa, as the country’s football governing body, to put in place a system that will ensure that hooligans who tarnish the image of the game are weeded out, including bans being imposed on known serial offenders.
The Minister said Zifa’s failure to punish football leaders, like Councillor and Zimbabwe Women’s Soccer League board member for competitions Cecilia Gambe who invaded the pitch and abused a referee during a league match between Mutare City and How Mine at Sakubva on May 8, had sent the wrong message that such lawlessness was acceptable in domestic football.
Gambe charged at referee Brighton Chimene, accusing him of bad officiating, but the Women’s League official is still to be sanctioned by Zifa while Mutare City Rovers were penalised $2 000 by the PSL’s disciplinary committee for the behaviour of the fans.
The absence of a Zifa Appeals Committee also means that Dynamos’ appeal, against the decision for the Glamour Boys to play in an empty stadium in the wake of the violence that gripped their league match against FC Platinum, is still to be heard.
A Zifa employee, Theresa Maguraushe, is reported to be making the appointments of referees who should, according to the Association’s constitution, be appointed by the Zifa Referees’ Committee.
Zifa have been delaying the naming of their committees, which are crucial in the running of the game, for some time now although they are now set to be finalised at a meeting this weekend.
“The Ministry would like to state in categoric TSHOLOTSHO FC coach Lizwe Sweswe believes winning six out of their 11 remaining Castle Lager Premier Soccer League matches will take them out of the drop zone.
The Zhwane outfit suffered their 12th league defeat of the season on Saturday, going down 0-1 to Triangle at home.
Tsholotsho are second from the bottom with 13 points from 19 games and seem to be running out of steam as they have gone for five matches without a win.
They have three wins from 19 outings and four draws, and need to up their game to attain their target of at least 18 points out of a possible 33. Their last victory was on July 16 when they clobbered Hwange 3-0. The other two wins were identical 1-0 victories over Harare City and Bulawayo City.
“The championship and relegation races are wide open and it will be folly for anyone to term us relegation candidates. If we win six games from the remaining 11, we will be safe. There is nothing to panic about because what we just have to do is show character and fight hard so HIGHLANDERS have strongly condemned acts of hooliganism that rocked Barbourfields Stadium on Sunday and warned that the club would be forced to take drastic measures to fish out unruly elements during their home matches.
A police officer was assaulted by a mob after their 1-1 stalemate with Chicken Inn. Scores of people were arrested in the aftermath of the violence that was mainly targeted at the police.
Highlanders’ chief executive officer Ndumiso Gumede described the attack on the police officer as tantamount to “treason”.
“The violence was made worse by the attack on a police officer and that is tantamount to treason because that officer enforces the laws of the country and no amount of anger justifies the vicious attack. We strongly condemn such violence be it from aggrieved persons or whoever. Taking the law into one’s hands is just not acceptable,” said Gumede yesterday.
“Football is a family sport and such acts of violence deter people from coming out to stadiums to enjoy the beautiful game. If such acts of violence continue, we will be forced to fish out the unruly elements behind it. We have marshals strategically positioned around the stadium, hence it’s not difficult at all to identify the perpetrators of violence and ban them from the stadium. As a club, we will suffer financially through fines for pitch invasions,” Gumede said.
terms that hooliganism and other forms of violence have no place in football, in particular, and sport in general as it defeats the very well established axioms of sport, i.e. promoting peace and a culture of tolerance of difference,” Hlongwane said yesterday.
“Government takes note of the fact that despite earlier warnings for Zifa to take action on hooliganism and violence at football matches, the following
Premier Soccer League chief executive officer Kennedy Ndebele said he was waiting for a report from the match commissioner.
“We are waiting for a match report which should be on my desk tomorrow (today) before taking the next course of action,” said Ndebele.
Under PSL standing orders and regulations, pitch invasions by supporters cost the offending club $2 000.
There are, however, indications that Bosso will be hauled before a disciplinary hearing considering the level of violence that marred the match.
Meanwhile, Highlanders coach Erol Akbay believes playing without a notable striker is working against the team.
In the last 20 minutes, Bosso played without a striker, opting instead to push midfielder King Nadolo to play as a lone striker after Ralph Matema was substituted for youngster Adrian Silla in the 73rd minute.
“It’s always a problem playing without an experienced striker and we can’t expect midfielders to get us crucial goals in every game,” said Akbay.
Prince Dube missed the match through injury and was not part of the 18-member squad that was selected for the Chicken Inn encounter.
The departure of Knox Mutizwa and Bruce Kangwa and resultant failure to boost the team with experienced goal scorers during the transfer window is proving to be the Achilles’ heel in Highlanders’ quest to keep abreast with the leading pack.
matters have not been conclusively resolved: “Violence at the Mutare City Rovers — How Mine match of 8 May 2016 where a Zifa councillor invaded the pitch and threatened a match official in full view of the fans and spectators of the game.” The Minister also cited the league match at Rufaro where Dynamos fans turned violent after their team’s 1-0 defeat by FC Platinum. Police, who fought running visiting Dynamos in Harare.
They will return to play host to Harare City, take a road trip to Ngezi Platinum, play Chapungu at home and then face Highlanders.
The last two games of the season will be against Bulawayo City and FC Platinum.
Mutare City Rovers held leaders FC Platinum to a 1-1 draw at Mandava, to take home a valuable point that saw them stretching the gap between them and Tsholotsho from three to four points.
Table anchors Border Strikers were beaten 0-2 by Harare City, a week after posting a memorable 2-1 win over former champions Dynamos. battles with the hooligans, had to fire teargas to disperse them with former Dynamos secretarygeneral Webster Chikengezha’s car having its windscreen smashed.
“The Dynamos-FC Platinum match of 14 May 2016 has not been conclusively resolved despite advice by Government and the Sports Commission.
“It is Government’s view that the lack of decisive action on these very important matters of football by Zifa have allowed the culture of violence to continue to breed at football matches.
“The lack of disciplinary action on the Zifa board member, who invaded the pitch in Mutare and threatened officials, is creating an impression that Zifa itself is sheltering merchants of violence within its structures and promoting a culture of impunity.
“Government is therefore, advising Zifa to lead by example and to take stern action on all perpetrators of violence in all the cited incidences including the Highlanders-Chicken Inn match,” Hlongwane said.
Hlongwane said it was Government’s position that “hooliganism should be stamped out with harsh penalties.”
Further, Government suggests that hooligans should be banned from attending soccer matches and that the underlying causes of violence at soccer matches should be investigated and dealt with decisively.
“Lastly, Government calls on Zifa to immediately expedite as it should have done, the process of constituting its committees to raise the level of capacity and skills of officials, for better and professional handling and management of all matches.’’
Zifa, on their part, also urged clubs to expedite the spectator education programmes in order to ensure the hooligan element is extinguished from the various venues.
The association’s spokesman Xolisani Gwesela said Zifa would strive to ensure that the hooligans are brought to book.
“The Zimbabwe Football Association is utterly dismayed by the heinous acts of hooliganism that characterised the Chicken Inn vs Highlanders match at Barbourfields Stadium on Sunday.
“These heinous acts of violence must be condemned in no uncertain terms.
“The beautiful game of football celebrates aesthetic values of peace, tranquility and good sportsmanship. The association takes great exception to any individual or groups who breach these sacrosanct values.
“Zifa encourages clubs to educate their fans and devise strategies to curb these despicable acts of violence. Zifa also urges the law enforcement agencies to be resolute and clamp down heavily on these malcontents to serve as a deterrence for future occurrence,’’ Gwesela said.
Meanwhile, Zifa have sent a condolence message to their president Philip Chiyangwa following the death of his brother Nyadziso on Sunday.
“Zifa joins association President, Dr Philip Chiyangwa and his family in mourning the sad passing on of Nyadziso Chiyangwa, the president’s younger brother.
“We extend our heartfelt commiserations to Dr Chiyangwa and his family and we are deeply sorry for their loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with them in this dark time of grieving. May the Chiyangwa family find comfort in the Lord,” Gwesela said.
Chiyangwa is distressed following his brother’s untimely death but he said this is also a time to celebrate the life of the deceased.
“It is with the most grieving heart that I announce the passing away of my young brother Nyadziso.
“A blooming flower has been plucked from the garden of life and we mourn. Tinoda kupa kutenda kuna Mwari nenguva yaakatipa tiri pamwe. (We thank the Lord for the time he granted us with him [Nyadziso]).
“As we grieve, let us come together again and celebrate the life of Nyadziso in giving him a befitting send-off,” Chiyangwa said.
Nyadziso will be buried at the Chiyangwa rural home in Zvimba this afternoon.
Minister Makhosini Hlongwane
Police officers and marshals flee angry supporters at Barbourfields Stadium in Bulawayo on Sunday