Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture Andrew Langa has implored Highlanders fans to stop violence following ugly incidents at Barbourfields Stadium in their Bob91 Super Cup play-off against Caps United on Sunday.
BY VENERANDA LANGA
A Caps United fan is recuperating in hospital after coming second best in the skirmishes that engulfed the match after Bosso lost 2-1.
Highlanders fans had pelted Caps goalkeeper Victor Twaliki and the Green Machine supporters exacted their revenge when they stoned Bosso keeper Arial Sibanda.
There were also incidents of missile throwing at Saturday’s Caf Confederation Cup match between FC Platinum and Sofapaka of Kenya at Mandava.
Three weeks ago similar incidents took place in the Sino-Zim Challenge Cup between Caps United and Dynamos at Rufaro, with little said of it.
Gokwe-Gumunyu MP Melania Mahiya had asked Langa to explain the measures he would take regarding hooliganism in football and disciplinary measures on violent supporters of teams when the minister appeared before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Education, Sports, Arts and Culture yesterday.
Langa said at the moment there was no law on hooliganism, adding a PSL and Zifa committee would soon meet to discuss issues surrounding the violence at the match.
“I want to say Highlanders should implore their fans to stop violence and I hope when the committee meets they will take stern action.
“I will also discuss with the Ministry of Home Affairs to ensure that whenever there is a match, there is tight security. The police requirements are that whenever they come to support an event we give them money.”
MPs said it was the duty of police to provide security, adding that it was ridiculous for them to ask for payments from associations that are riddled with debt.
Yesterday, Highlanders supporters said criticism of their behaviour and that of the team bordered on tribalism and was thus unfair.
In a statement on the Facebook page, the fans wrote: “While there are just a few unruly elements within our family, it is unfair to project the entire Highlanders family as a family of thugs and hooligans. There is a long-standing conspiracy to portray Highlanders supporters as barbaric knife-wielding hooligans and we don’t like it.
“Not only that, Highlanders is being portrayed by the media as a tribalist team with stories of players accusing Bosso of being tribalistic and the Bosso leadership being constantly and consistently being quoted [out] of context.
“As the Bosso supporters and members, we want to set the record straight. There is no team that has such a cross pollination of different tribes in Zimbabwe. We have almost every Zimbabwean tribe represented in our current team.
“Of the 30 players in Mafu’s [Bongani] team, 13 players are either Shona-speaking or of Shona origin. The rest are a mixture of Ndebele, Kalanga and Nyanjas. Which other club in Zimbabwe has such a balanced scale of different tribes? So what is the tribalism vitriol that is spewed? This agenda to discredit the integrity of Highlanders must cease forthwith!
“The issue of Bosso violence is clearly being blown out of proportion. Themba Hloli died last year and nothing is being spoken about it. People create lies that Highlanders fans killed opposition team fans in Gweru. All those are malicious accusations.”