ZIFA president Cuthbert Dube says hooliganism in football will not be tolerated as it drives away fans and corporate sponsors.
Report by Wellington Toni
Dube was addressing Mbare area zones, Harare Province, Northern Region, members of the Friends of the Warriors, Jubilee Committee and schools’ representatives at Mai Musodzi Hall in Harare on Saturday when he made the call.
Of late, football — both local and continental — has seen an upsurge in violence which started with Dynamos’ 1-0 win over CA Bizertin of Tunisia in the Caf Champions League second leg, second round at Rufaro Stadium in March.
Dynamos were fined $10 000 after their fans threw missiles into the field of play during the match, although they have appealed. The defending champions have also been hit with an $8 000 fine for their violence that rocked their April 21 Premier Soccer League match against Highlanders at Rufaro.
For the same violence at Rufaro, Highlanders were also charged and face an $8 000 fine, while the Bulawayo giants have already been fined $8 000 for their part in the Good Friday Maglas Stadium violence against Shabanie Mine.
Shabanie have not been spared either — they will appear before a PSL Disciplinary Committee tomorrow to answer to charges of causing the abandonment of their match against Harare City last Sunday at Maglas nine minutes from time when they (Shabanie) were 3-1 down.
It is against this background that Dube launched a passionate appeal on Saturday to football fans and leaders across the board.
“Football has values which we should always respect. We should shun all forms of corruption. Let us unite against corruption, match-fixing, illegal betting and hooliganism.
“It drives away fans and corporate partners. Football is a movement that stands for peace, tolerance, unity, fellowship, teamwork, professionalism, sound health and fair play.
“As such, hooligans have no place in football,” Dube said.
Zimbabwe will play host to Egypt at the National Sports Stadium on June 9 in a 2014 World Cup qualifier in a game that will be closely monitored by world football governing body Fifa for any cases of violence.
In the last two matches staged at the same stadium, the Warriors lost 1-0 to Guinea in a World Cup qualifier where fans threw missiles at the technical team, then led by Rahman Gumbo, and the players, while the Burundi Afcon 2013 match was largely peaceful.
Dube admitted that area zones had been neglected in the past.
“Area zones are the foundations of football. They have been neglected for quite some time and its time that, together with district football, they are brought back into mainstream football.
“Corporate bodies with business interests in Mbare or any other area zone should invest in the zone and districts,” the Zifa president said.
Representatives from various schools and social work offices appealed for support from the national association in terms of equipment. Dube promised to aid their activities.
The function was also attended by Zifa chief executive officer Jonathan Mashingaidze, newly-elected board member development John Phiri, Jubilee Committee chairman Lovemore Banda and member George Shaya, honorary member Pafius Masunda and former Dynamos star Henry Chari, among others.