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Zanu-PF government reacts with outrage to Bosso fan

by Grace Chingoma
14 Sep 2016 at 07:09hrs | Views
Government led the way yesterday as the country reacted with outrage to the deranged Highlanders fan who displayed a shocking placard at Barbourfields on Sunday pregnant with tribal vitriol describing Shona people as "DOGS" and "BABOONS."

Refreshingly, the Bosso leadership said the fan's toxic views do not represent the views of the majority of their supporters and said it was an attack on some of their players who were also members of the Shona ethnic grouping.

Ralph Matema, the scorer of the winning goal on Sunday, is a member of the Shona ethnic group.

The shocking image was captured by our photographer, Paul Mundandi, during the Castle Lager Premiership showdown between Highlanders and their bitter rivals Dynamos at Barbourfields.

Bosso, who are chasing their first league title in 10 years, rallied from a first half deficit to score two late goals, showing the kind of guts and never-say-die attitude which powered them to the championship in 2006.

But the deserved victory, which torched wild celebrations in Bulawayo after Bosso completed a clean sweep over Dynamos this season, is being overshadowed by the madman who used the big occasion to display his shocking and primitive views.

Hlongwane said the Government was shocked by such brazen attack on another ethnic group in this country and the use of a big football stage to make such a shocking statement.

"The Minister of Sport and Recreation is shocked and alarmed by the use of derogatory, pejorative, dehumanising, and inflammatory language by (a) Highlanders fan during that club's match against Dynamos at Barbourfields on Sunday," Hlongwane said in a statement.

"The Minister condemns such primitive sentiments bordering on ethnic particularisation in sport and recreation as a whole, and football in particular.

"As Government, we believe that sport and recreation calls us to celebrate identity pluralism, in constructing tolerant national belonging.

"We despise and deplore, in the strongest of terms, any opinion which seeks to abuse sport and recreation as mediums to promote jaundiced views on gender, race, ethnicity identity and sexuality.

"The energy and exuberance of the fans during the soccer matches should be directed towards celebrating the artistry and excellence of our athletes, and not misdirected expressions of ethnic-inclined essentialism.

"We therefore call upon ZIFA and PSL to take action against such malcontents who bring the game of football into disrepute."

Ndumiso Gumede, the Highlanders chief executive, said they were a club that always promoted the beauty of ethnic diversity.

"More than fifty percent of my players are Shona people and not Ndebeles so I cannot really understand how someone can chose to be tribal and say such offending statements," said the respected football administrator.

"From time immemorial, we have always had very good and special players from the Shona-speaking tribe and, so for us, it is neither here nor there.

"We even have a song 'Highlanders Team Yenyika Yese' so this has always been our position as a club. We condemn in the strongest of terms any persons who may imply that our team is tribally-biased.

"The pity is that we do not know him (the supporter), but that is unacceptable. The police can go and get him and say this behaviour we don't want it at football matches, but when he goes to court he may be found with no case.

"If the supporters can identify him, we will de-register him if he is a member of Highlanders because he doesn't belong here and has no place at the club."

Bosso boss Peter Dube, who is also the PSL chairman, said it was unfortunate that the actions of a misguided individual were now spoiling what was one of the best atmospheres at Barbourfields where both sets of fans were at their best behaviour.

"I am not sure if you aware of the effort we put in as a club to make this game a success, a family event, and an occasion that everyone would cherish," said Dube.

"For me to hear this, it is quite regrettable.

"I can only hope this is an unrealistic thing. "In recent weeks we have had supporters who perpetrated violence at Barbourfields being charged by the responsible authorities.

"So, if it is proven and the person can be positively identified, surely he should face the music.

"This behaviour is not good for a club, for sponsors and stakeholders. It is certainly not good for football and sport in general."

Former radio personality and politician, Eric Knight, wandered into the debate.

"Now this is sickening and disgusting. I tried hard to ignore this, but something tells me we can't ignore this. This is part of what was happening on Sunday at Emagumeni Barboufields Stadium during a League match between Highlanders and Dynamos," he noted on his Facebook page.

"Surely there is no place for this, not just in football, but in any other fraternity. How on earth did by-standers and officials, in any capacity, leave (let) this happen . . . letting thugs, fanatics or madmen get away with this?

"Waving a placard depicting Bosso's symbol and displaying such an embarrassing message? Listen, I'm not blaming Highlanders as a club directly for this, but professionally a club is responsible for the conduct of its supporters, especially at home matches.

"Racism, in this case tribalism, is poison. Mark my words the behaviour by these people can easily trigger a catastrophe and a problem with (the) potential to cause huge problems not only at football matches, but the whole country.

"I want to see Highlanders act on this. I respect Bosso, no doubt they are an epitome of Zimbabwean football alongside the likes of Dynamos, CAPS United etc. No doubt this kind of behaviour is not institutionalised."

Knight said it was refreshing that Bosso, as an institution, were not built along tribal lines.

"I know Highlanders are perhaps one of the most multi-racial or multi-tribal clubs in terms of players, personnel and fans," he said.

"I can give you more that 20 Shona-origin players who have played for Bosso - Nhamo Shambira, Stewart Murisa, Joseph Tembo, Sydney Zimunya, Dezidelio Kapenya, Tapiwa Kapini, Austin Juwayeyi, Cyprian Kanyemba, Masimba Mambare, Eddie Nyika and many more.

"How do you think these players would feel to see this placard? Can you imagine at Rufaro if Dynamos fans were to reciprocate this evil gesture at the return match?

"This is unacceptable, especially at a time when the nation is trying to unify people and tackle the challenges we are facing as a country.

"Highlanders should act on this as a matter of urgency.

"They can not ignore this and they can not afford to undermine the potential consequences of such behaviour. I don't like this. It's an insult to some of our blood relatives.

"Please identify and locate this mob on this picture and read the riot act to them. God bless Zimbabwe! God bless Africa!"

Source - the herald

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