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Highlanders FC not responsible for abandonment of game

20 May 2017 at 12:47hrs | Views
ZIFA and PSL should exercise compassion and clear Highlanders FC of any wrong doing in their abandoned league game against Dynamos last Sunday and order a replay at the same venue. The game was stopped in the 42nd minute of the first half after the second lineman allowed an "offside" goal to stand giving DeMbare an equaliser to make it one all. This didn't go down well with supposedly Bosso fans who then threw missiles onto the pitch crying foul that Bosso was being cheated and later invaded the pitch forcing the game to be abandoned. Zifa and PSL should not allow anti football thugs to win by punishing Bosso.

Thanks to Supersport, I have watched the footage of the game again and again, Highlanders FC is not responsible for the abandonment of that game so are its genuine fans. In the footage a few individuals 30 or so people (some in black & white) out of over 20 000 fans in the stadium are seen throwing missiles from the stand called "Empankweni" towards the stand occupied by DeMbare fans. Those people later jumped onto the pitch, they were not so many and I believe police should have dealt with them, removed the fools and allowed the game to continue. The Soweto stand (the usual suspects) didn't start the noise and Zifa should investigate who those people are and why they stopped the game. I know if Zifa does its job properly they will discover those people were not genuine Bosso fans. Bosso fans would have wanted the game to continue. After the game they would have called for the lineman's head and he wouldn't have left the ground without police escort.

Why I want the game to be replayed and clear Bosso of any wrong doing.

1. First the Football Association, the governing football body of  Zimbabwe football should take over the matter and investigate the incident thoroughly to find the root cause of such barbarism. Its not Highlanders fans who are behind last Sunday's disturbances, there are unruly elements who are hiding behind the team to push their Agenda. They want to use the club as a political tool to start their revolution. These elements don't want to enter the political field directly, they take advantage of the football fans, some cowards sponsor unsuspecting people giving them orders to disturbilise the club believing their actions will incite others to cause anarchy. Zifa should think carefully before charging Bosso, it's not the club's fault, it's outside forces behind the incident and that has nothing to do with football.

2. Zifa should be blamed for failing to supply quality referees in our league. Zim referees are a disaster hence we haven't had a single referee engaged in FIFA and Caf games for a long time now. Zifa' s referees are incompetent and have no clue on the laws of the game. It's high time PSL ask services of referees from neighbouring countries like Zambia and South Africa for games involving big teams. The referees who were in charge of Bosso/DeMbare game have a bad history with Highlanders and it was nonsensical and senseless for Zifa to appoint them to be in charge of that volatile fixture. Because of past incidents no one knows if the lineman made a genuine mistake or did it on purpose. Zifa should remove and expel whoever appoints these referees because the person has bad judgement.

3. ZRP failed to bring order and couldn't stop fans from invading the pitch which is a breach of security therefore should be liable for the crowd disturbances in that game. They are paid huge sums of money by the club to police the event and have let down the club on many occasions. It's time the force pays the fine because it's very clear they are failing. Can they justify why they should be paid? They can't milk our club for nothing. They put the lives of players, officials and other fans at risk by failing to control a few hooligans jumping onto the pitch. They let down thousands of football fans in the stadium who pay their hard earned cash to watch the team they love so much.

The laws of the game differ country by country on games abandoned and I know the club which fails to "control" its fans is guilty of misconduct but this had nothing to do with football.  According to the current Laws of the Game (as authorised by FIFA the referee has the authority to abandon the match, at his/her discretion, for any infringement of the rules or because of any outside interference. In this instance the pitch was invaded and missiles thrown at the lineman and rightfully so the match was abandoned. It is then investigated why it was abandoned and then the Association has to use its discretion and decide the outcome. In this case the outcome should be to identify & arrest pitch invaders, order the game to be replayed at BF perhaps starting on the 43rd minute and allowing those fans with their tickets to watch the game.

We all know a football match lasts for 90 minutes, but where a match doesn't last that long, Zifa has full discretion to order a replay in full or in part (and on whatever conditions it decides), or for the match to count as a completed fixture without punishing the home team. Causing a match to end before 90 minutes is a breach of the rules, and the disciplinary procedures provide that upon hearing the matter (and any mitigating factors) the disciplinary Commission may make such order as it sees. An abandoned match doesn't automatically result in the scoreline as it was when the match was abandoned. An abandoned match will be replayed unless the competition rules provide otherwise. I urge Chiyangwa administration to exercise compassion and order a replay. There is no misconduct by Highlanders FC, the club didn't breach the rules in causing the match to be abandoned, it was outside of the club's control.

Zifa, PSL & Club officials should be working very closely with the police who were on duty that day and ask them why they failed to control the crowd to establish the relevant facts. I am sure It's likely that the result will not stand and that the game should be replayed. Anything more than a slap on the wrists and a gentle warning would be outrageous. Don't make the enemies of football win, don't punish Highlanders FC, don't allow football to be defeated by thugs and simple let the game win by ordering a replay and deal with hooligans thoroughly. Zifa should foot Dynamos expenses to go back to Bulawayo for the replay.

Finally my fellow Bosso fans, lets separate politics from the game of football. Highlanders is what we are left with, lets not allow it to be destroyed by falling onto the trap of enemies who enjoy seeing Bosso in deep waters. Those pushing their political agenda, please desist from taking advantage of Bosso games to push your weird ways. Get into the political field and challenge the rotten system heads on. Marginalisation, Gukurahundi, unemployment, economic meltdown, persecution etc has nothing to do with Bosso. Use proper channels to address those issues, use legal ways like courts, UN, SADC, AU to tackle Zim problems and leave Highlanders out. This club was formed in 1926 and still standing. We can't allow a few individuals to destroy it by using it to push their own selfish agenda. It's a big NO! This a football team, a sporting team, a team with rich history, a team which has unified our people, a team which truly represents who we are, our culture, our traditions, our customs, it's our pride. It has stood the test of time and it's a survivor. Yiteam yezwe lonke and loved all over the world so leave it alone! #Asifunibumbulu hlukanani leBosso. By the way this is my opinion!!!

Source - Ezra Tshisa Sibanda
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