Football fans condemn violence and hooliganism

By Sport Reporters
FOOTBALL fans have called for hefty penalties to be imposed on hooligans after the big match featuring giants Highlanders and Dynamos was abandoned following crowd trouble at Barbourfields stadium.
Dubbed the Battle for Zimbabwe, the match featuring the country’s biggest clubs Highlanders and Dynamos used to be a yardstick to measure the competitiveness of the local league and a game which attracted interest from people of all ages.
May be those who named it as a “battle” should have been wiser, as the encounter has become more of a war zone than a football match.
Is it also coincidence that the two giants have been at centre of matches that have either ended in skirmishes or prematurely?
Just a few weeks ago, Highlanders fans were at the centre of the abandoned match featuring FC Platinum and Highlanders at Mandava stadium while Dynamos’ match against Bulawayo Chiefs had its own fair share of skirmishes.
The match at Barbourfields started with both teams playing “juju” mind games before the red card shown to young Dynamos winger Bill Antonio saw tempers flaring as the visitors were reduced to ten men.
Washington Navaya’s solitary strike in the referee’s optional time saw Highlanders fans invading the pitch in typical high school celebrations.
Dynamos fans from the Mpilo end also ran amok and pulled down the goal post and nets resulting in the abandonment of the match an act which also left more questions than answers on the capacity of match stewards for such high profile matches.
Efforts to erect a replacement net was met with resistance from the Glamour Boys fans.
To add salt on the wound, match officials were also involved in some kungfu kicks with fans while Dynamos players bayed for their blood.
Highlanders football club is worried after being involved in yet another abandoned match this season.
“As a club in general we are very much worried about what happened yesterday during our match with Dynamos which had to abandoned due to crowd trouble. We don’t expect that from fans, it is unfortunate . Football is a family sport . We expect fans to behave and to conduct themselves in a manner to profile football in a good picture. We don’t encourage fans for whatever reason and from whatever team to invade the pitch and throw missiles. It is so bad for our football , it gives a bad image not only for the clubs but for football in general. This may chase away sponsors. As a club we will do campaigns to educate fans on the repercussions of such acts,” said Ronald Moyo Highlanders Chief Executive Officer.
With the Premier Soccer League battling to attract sponsorship for the beautiful game, this Sunday’s skirmishes will certainly not do the premiership any good.
Meanwhile in the capital fans have also called out hooligans to mend their ways as they are now tarnishing the image of the local game and destroying the family environment.
Players have also been called out as the ones who incite their fans to act violently.
“We used to go ku bhora with our families but now we can’t because tiri kutya because vana vedu vanogona kukuvadzwa, (We are afraid our children might nget hurt), said one football fan.
“We want to enjoy football, but we feel clubs should do more because they need to educate their fans, this is now a cancer in our football and must be dealt with, clubs should do better not just one club but all clubs because they have been found wanting,” said another fan.
Meanwhile Harare giants Dynamos have pledged root out hooligans..
UPSOUND: Tinashe Farawo (Dynamos Spokesperson)
“The Club condemns in strongest terms any form of violence at our football stadia. We apologize to all football stakeholders for the unruly behavior demonstrated by a section of our fans that attended the match. As a club, we commit to lead the way in promoting peaceful environments at football matches,” said Tinashe Farawo, Dynamos Spokesperson.