HIGHLANDERS have paid dearly for the unruly behaviour of their fans after their abandoned Castle Lager Premiership match against Dynamos on May 14 at Barbourfields Stadium was expectedly awarded to the Harare giants on a 3-0 scoreline yesterday.
BY FORTUNE MBELE
In addition, the Bulawayo giants have been fined $4 000, and would also pay the cost for the hearing.
The fine shall be paid by July 31, 2017.
This was revealed by the Premier Soccer League (PSL) yesterday following the meeting of their disciplinary committee, which sat two weeks ago and found Highlanders guilty of causing the abandonment of the match, in contravention of order 31 of the PSL rules and regulations.
“The judgment for the abandoned Premier Soccer League match between Highlanders FC and Dynamos FC has been released. The Premier Soccer League disciplinary committee found Highlanders guilty of causing the abandonment of the match. The match has been awarded to Dynamos FC on a 3-0 scoreline. Further, Highlanders FC were fined $4 000, which fine together with the costs of the hearing shall be paid by July 31, 2017,” the PSL said in a statement.
The development sees Dynamos moving to sixth position on the log standings, level on points with Highlanders, who dropped to eighth due to an inferior goal difference.
Highlanders have, however, said they will be challenging the verdict, with the club’s chief executive officer, Nhlanhla Dube yesterday telling NewsDay Sport that they were ready to approach the Zifa appeals committee to seek redress over what he termed an unfair judgment.
“We have seen the judgment and we think that it is very unfair to the extreme. Our position as a club is that we are definitely going to be launching an appeal with the Zifa appeals committee,” Dube said.
The match ended prematurely after only 40 minutes after Dynamos striker Christian Ntouba had cancelled a Rahman Kutsanzira goal to level the scoreline at 1-1 just five minutes before the break.
Highlanders fans housed at the eastern stand, popularly known as Empankweni, were not amused with second assistant referee, Thomas Kusosa, who they said should have flagged Ntouba’s goal for offside.
They started pelting Kusosa, who had to seek refuge in the centre circle before the crowd went further and invaded the pitch, amidst futile intervention by the police and Highlanders officials.
The match officials then retreated to the dressing rooms after a stoppage that went on for close to 40 minutes before referee Munyaradzi Majoni eventually called off the game.
Highlanders are sitting on another case in which they have been summoned to appear before the disciplinary committee after their fans also allegedly caused the abandonment of a league match against FC Platinum at Mandava Stadium on May 28.
FC Platinum had equalised in optional time through a penalty by goalkeeper Petros Mhari. The Highlanders supporters were unhappy with the decision to award the penalty and started throwing missiles into the pitch in protest, and the police reacted by discharging teargas into the pitch. Matchday referee Brighton Chimene was forced to call off the match with one minute of added-on time left.