‘SUE PITCH IN­VADERS’

Fans’ pitch-cel­e­bra­tions cost debt-rid­den Bosso

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport - Sikhum­buzo Moyo

THREE Highlanders’ Sup­port­ers Chap­ters’ lead­ers have called on the club to in­sti­tute civil claims against pitch in­vaders be­gin­ning with Tendai Donga who ran onto the pitch dur­ing Bosso’s league match against How Mine on Sun­day.

Donga, an em­ployee of Archer Cloth­ing in Bu­l­awayo, in­vaded the pitch in front of the po­lice soon after stand-in cap­tain Erick Mudz­ingwa had pro­pelled Highlanders ahead with a 29th minute penalty.

He was ar­rested and taken to court where the mag­is­trate cau­tioned and dis­charged him. How­ever, his “mo­ment of hap­pi­ness” has proved to be ex­pen­sive for the debt-rid­den Bu­l­awayo giants who now face a $2 000 fine for his ac­tion.

“It’s sad that the law has let this guy free yet the club will pay heav­ily for his ac­tions even when there is no guar­an­tee that he is a Highlanders mem­ber. The ex­ec­u­tive was man­dated with run­ning Bosso and as we know that the club can sue and be sued, I think it is only fair that Highlanders in­sti­tutes a civil case against this guy,” said Highlanders Vic­to­ria Falls Chap­ter chair­man Mor­gan Dube.

He urged gen­uine Highlanders’ sup­port­ers not to har­bour such hooli­gan char­ac­ters, but hand them to the po­lice so that the law can take its course.

In the past, mis­sile throw­ing thugs have sought sanc­tu­ary in the ter­races when­ever club mar­shals or the po­lice try to ap­pre­hend them.

Bosso’s Harare Chap­ter chair­man Der­rick Gi­jima Ncube chal­lenged the club’s mar­shals to be vig­i­lant at all times in the ter­races and fish out trou­ble causers.

“We can’t talk of ban­ning peo­ple from the sta­dium be­cause our tick­et­ing sys­tem is man­ual and there­fore im­pos­si­ble to rely on, so it’s only fair that the club opens civil cases against such in­di­vid­u­als and de­mand that they pay the $2 000. Only that way can we stop this dis­ease. We can also not rule out the pos­si­bil­ity of our haters scal­ing the fence just to get the club fined, but if peo­ple know that they can be taken to court in their in­di­vid­ual ca­pac­ity and or­dered to pay the $2 000, this thing will come to an end,” said Gi­jima.

Bu­l­awayo’s Heart and Soul chair­man Vi­vian Hadebe echoed the same sen­ti­ments, say­ing Highlanders can­not con­tinue be­ing bled fi­nan­cially by mal­con­tents that take plea­sure in see­ing the club suf­fer.

Hadebe said some fans seem to in­vade the pitch out of plea­sure know­ing that noth­ing will ever hap­pen to them be­cause even if they are ar­rested, they will prob­a­bly pay a $5 fine for crim­i­nal nui­sance or be ac­quit­ted if taken to court as in Donga’s case.

“If the club can fol­low those peo­ple in their homes and press for­mal civil charges against them where the club will de­mand that they pay the $2 000 fine, I am telling you no one will want to be a pitch in­va­sion hero. It will send a very clear mes­sage and warn­ing, as peo­ple will learn that mob psy­chol­ogy will leave them $2 000 poorer so mina ngithi asi­ba­lan­de­leni abantu laba (let’s go after these peo­ple),” said Hadebe.

How­ever, Daniel Molokele, the South African Sup­port­ers Chap­ter chair­man, who is also a lawyer, said in­sti­tut­ing civil claims would be too ex­treme and con­fronta­tional and in­stead urged the club and the po­lice to find where they are get­ting their strate­gies wrong.

“If the pitch in­vader is a card car­ry­ing mem­ber, then the club must in­voke its dis­ci­plinary pro­ce­dures and deal with such peo­ple. I don’t think go­ing to court will be a proper move as it is rather con­fronta­tional,” said Molokele.

Highlanders have oc­ca­sion­ally ac­cused the po­lice of not do­ing their du­ties pro­fes­sion­ally. Un­like in other coun­tries where the po­lice ac­tu­ally face the fans to sniff out trou­ble mak­ers, Bosso has ac­cused po­lice of be­com­ing spec­ta­tors.

While Donga was ar­rested in the end, he had run across the pitch, en­dan­ger­ing play­ers in the process as he could have eas­ily at­tacked them as no cop was in pur­suit, yet there was a mas­sive de­ploy­ment of po­lice on that day. — @skhu­moyo2000

Highlanders fans in­vade the pitch at Bar­bour­fifi elds Sta­dium in this fifi le photo and (in­set) Tendai Donga at the sta­dium

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