B/F vi­o­lence: Cops failed us, Gumede

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport - Paul Mun­dandi

HIGH­LANDERS chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Ndu­miso Gumede yes­ter­day took a swipe at the po­lice, ac­cus­ing them of fail­ing his club and fans that watched the vi­o­lence­marred en­counter against Chicken Inn at Bar­bour­fields Sta­dium last Sun­day.

Vi­o­lence broke out af­ter ref­eree Nkosikhona Moyo blew his whis­tle to end the match just as Chicken Inn were scor­ing a goal that would have given them max­i­mum points.

“What are we pay­ing the po­lice for? They must for­feit the money we paid them so that we pay the dis­ci­plinary fees to the Premier Soc­cer League. The po­lice failed us,” said Gumede.

“They are trained to deal with crowd trou­ble, but when they come to Bar­bour­fields they will be busy watch­ing foot­ball lean­ing on the fence. At the Olympics, the po­lice watch the crowd, but here it’s the other way round.

“Bot­tles and stones are brought into the sta­dium and it all shows that the po­lice are not do­ing their job. They were over­whelmed and the next game they will dou­ble the num­bers and de­mand more pay­ment.

“We as High­landers do not con­done hooli­gans be­cause we be­lieve they do not have a place in foot­ball. They must in­stead rot in jail and they must not be seen any­where near a foot­ball sta­dium or foot­ball be­cause they are dan­ger­ous ele­ments. The foot­ball sta­dium is not a war zone. In­stead, we must take our fam­i­lies and friends to en­joy the beau­ti­ful game, but the po­lice must do their job. They must take pic­tures and the me­dia must also take pic­tures, video film the cul­prits and splash them in news­pa­pers and so­cial me­dia.”

Gumede also feels ed­u­ca­tion is im­por­tant to curb crowd trou­ble.

“Ed­u­ca­tion is very im­por­tant and I am not say­ing one has to pass O-or A-Lev­els to be a soc­cer fan. Peo­ple need to be ed­u­cated in a broader sense. It might take a longer route, but I feel it’s very ef­fec­tive. Fans must know that be­ing in the sta­dium does not give them the ju­ris­dic­tion to go onto the field of play, ex­cept for safety rea­sons. At­tack­ing po­lice of­fi­cers is also not ac­cept­able and who­ever does that must be taken to Khami Prison. Dam­ag­ing of prop­erty in what­ever form is also un­ac­cept­able as one will be in­con­ve­nienc­ing so­ci­ety,” he said.

The vet­eran foot­ball ad­min­is­tra­tor also feels the vi­o­lence could have been caused by fans un­der the in­flu­ence of drugs and al­co­hol.

“As High­landers we do not be­lieve that this vi­o­lence em­anates di­rectly from a foot­ball at­mos­phere. There seems to be some un­der­ly­ing fac­tors that now find space to be vented through foot­ball such as drug ad­dic­tion and un­em­ploy­ment, among other things.

“Trib­al­ism is also a big prob­lem. We do not con­done in­sults that are hurled by fans or other songs with deroga­tory mes­sages. At High­landers, three quar­ters of my play­ers are Shona, but you still hear some hooli­gans in­sult­ing the Shona tribe. We do not con­done in­ci­dents of hooli­gan­ism, pitch in­va­sion, in­flam­ma­tory tribal ut­ter­ances and songs. Foot­ball is played by the play­ers for their sus­te­nance and to en­ter­tain fans,” Gumede said.

He warned that hooli­gan­ism would drive out cor­po­rate spon­sor­ship from foot­ball.

“Our econ­omy is bad and we are lucky to have BancABC spon­sor­ing us, but they wouldn’t want their name to be as­so­ci­ated with vi­o­lence, their im­age needs to be pro­tected. If they leave Bosso, where am I go­ing to get salaries for my play­ers. The spon­sors come to foot­ball and all they need is sta­bil­ity and good gov­er­nance. We do not want a bad story ev­ery week about High­landers in the news­pa­pers, on ra­dio or tele­vi­sion.

“I feel there is some­thing with the Zim­bab­wean men­tal­ity. In South Africa, Kaizer Chiefs and Or­lando Pi­rates fans watch the match sit­ting next to each other, but in Zim­babwe it is very dif­fer­ent.”

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