‘SUE PITCH INVADERS’
Fans’ pitch-celebrations cost debt-ridden Bosso
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