(Match abandoned after 38 mins)
It was yet another gloomy day for Zimbabwean football as FC Victoria walked out of a league match against Highlanders after the hosts were awarded a penalty 38 minutes into the match at Barbourfields Stadium Wednesday.
When FC Victoria decided to return to the match six minutes after the stoppage time, FC Victoria chairman Nobioth Magwizi had a fracas with the Highlanders fans in the left wing of the Western stands as he tried to stop his players from continuing with the match.
As if soccer rules are yet to be observed in the Zimbabwe soccer arena, referee Nkosana Nduna walked out of the pitch after 15 minutes of stoppage time without blowing the whistle to end the game.
Match commissioner Simplicio Gwanoya had to confirm the match was over.
“We have waited for 15 minutes and the game is over, we are going to hand over our reports to the Premier Soccer League (PSL),” Gwanoya said.
It all started after Highlanders were awarded a penalty in the 38th minute and FC Victoria coach Wilson Chinosengwa beckoned his players to the bench in protest.
The Bosso penalty came after commotion inside FC Victoria’s penalty box and assistant referee Tione Kacheche adjudged that a defender from the visitors had handled the ball.
But Nduna’s reaction to the second official’s flag was a bit delayed, much to the chagrin of the Masvingo-based team’s officials, which led to the protest.
Six minutes later, the players agreed to return to the game and Magwizi surprisingly sprang up from the terraces onto the pitch claiming he had been assaulted by Highlanders fans and told his players to stop playing.
The furore continued from there until after a discussion among the match officials which saw Nduna walk out of the pitch.
After the stoppage, Magwizi had this to say: “I was hit by the supporters after I had instructed them (players) to go to the pitch. We cannot resume. We are not going back. Our boys were denied a penalty that they deserved and then Highlanders was awarded a dubious penalty a few minutes later. We cannot pour money into football and get this bad referring.”
The incident is the second in three weeks involving Highlanders after their BancABC Sup8r semi-final against Dynamos was abandoned at Barbourfields in the second half after a penalty had been awarded to the visitors.
Initially, Highlanders had been awarded a spot kick which Dynamos protested, leading to a 25 minute stoppage in the first half before another 28-minute stoppage in the second after referee Bryton Malandule had awarded the Harare side a spot kick.
A three man ad-hoc committee, chaired by lawyer Don Moyo, was meeting last night to decide the outcome of the game.
At Barbourfields yesterday, Highlanders’ goal came in the 17th minute after beautiful moves initiated by man of the match Joel Ngodzo.
Ngodzo got the ball inside FC Victoria’s half and exchanged passes with Rahman Kutsanzira who pushed the ball to Protasho Kabwe and without hesitation the midfielder fired a thunderbolt past a bemused Dzingai Murinye.
The game started off with Highlanders bombarding the FC Victoria goal are from all sides with Ngodzo tearing the visitors’ midfield apart.
Josta, as he is popularly known, could have put Highlanders in the lead six minutes into the match but his powerful shot at goal was saved by goalkeeper Murinye.
FC Victoria was not a bad side as well, piling up pressure on Bosso with Hasmonia Ziso, Stephen Sheshe, Patrick Chagara and Marizani Mucheni but they could not penetrate the rock sold Bosso defence of Brighton Dube, Brighton Choto, Gift Lunga and Innocent Mapuranga.
The visitors’ only chance at goal came in the 25th minute when former Bosso player Peter Makuvise’s header from a corner kick by Ziso was safely collected by goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda.