The match between Dynamos and Highlanders on Sunday was the biggest of the weekend and almost 28 000 fans paid to watch the game.
Judging from previous encounters, there was always going to be tension between supporters of the two big teams in the country and before kick off, fans started fighting over seating places at Rufaro Stadium. The Dynamos fans, constituting the larger number on the day as they were the hosts, occupied a stand that is normally used by Caps United fans.
Highlanders fans wanted to occupy the space, a move that triggered commotion resulting in injuries to scores of fans. However, we are grateful that the police managed to contain the potentially explosive situation and peace was restored before the game kicked off.
Football can be an emotional game, we know that, but what is vital is for fans to know why they go to stadia. Save for cup games where there is no draw, league matches can produce either a loss, a win or a draw and fans have to be content with the result of the day and not anything else.
Mischief makers have no room at our football stadia. People cannot go to stadiums carrying catapults! Football is a family game and good behaviour is of utmost importance if unnecessary injuries and deaths are to be avoided.
The game lived up to its billing. We applaud BancABC for agreeing to withdraw their last minute incentives for the two clubs.
The bank’s realisation that the league could not sacrifice Delta Beverages’ sponsorship showed good leadership. We are also glad that the league stuck to the rules and regulations of the game and respected the contract it has with Delta.
There will be no bigger football sponsor than Delta and football is happy to have them around as no one wants to return to those “social football” years. We are not saying football does not need BancABC, they are needed, they are part of our football family and came through Dynamos, Highlanders and Black Mambas when things were tough.
We expect them to be back next year with the Super Eight competition and we also expect them to honour their promise of paying $15 000 to the eight teams that would have taken part in this year’s failed competition.
This is the competition which could have the maximum mileage they needed rather than ambush Delta’s game.
The PSL leadership must show the way and ensure that sponsors are protected.
There must be no clandestine meetings and underhand dealings of any kind. We are not saying there were any of that last week, but we certainly get worried when some football administrators try to undermine the same rules and regulations and contracts that they are supposed to protect.
We hope, in future sanity will prevail, things will be done according to the book, sponsors are protected and fans behave appropriately at football matches.