HomeEditorial CommentDocking points hits supporters the hardest!

Docking points hits supporters the hardest!

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THE Castle Lager Premier Soccer League (PSL) title is the ultimate prize that players and supporters alike covet more than any other trophy in domestic football.

It confers greatness, even on those previously considered ordinary. FC Platinum now ranks among the big teams in this country on account of winning three league titles, having been seen as an ordinary side only a few years ago.

It is the trophy that marks Dynamos out as the biggest club in the country and Highlanders and Caps United as the most storied clubs in this country.

Winning the league title completes a club. It sates ambition. More importantly, it allows entry into the pantheon of African football aristocracy with all the greats — Al Ahly and Zamalek of Egypt, Esperance of Tunisia, TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo, et cetera.

This is what the fans crave for so much. They have an emotional relationship with their clubs. Dynamos fans remember the glory days when they went all the way in the prestigious African Champions League in 1998 only to be beaten by Asec Mimosas of Côte d’Ivoire in the final in controversial circumstances under the guidance of Sunday Chidzambga.

Caps United too have fond memories of their success in the tournament when they won the league title in 2016 under the guidance of Lloyd Chitembwe.

They went on to represent Zimbabwe in the lucrative Champions League the following year and defied odds to reach the group stage. It was a major milestone for the club and supporters want it to happen every time.

If the teams fail to win the league, it affects the fans perhaps more than those who have invested their money in the club. They always want to see their teams winning.

So, we come to the decision made by football stakeholders last week to dock points from clubs whose fans are found guilty of violence and hooliganism. That could be the lasting solution to the problem which has continued to soil the image of the game, thereby alienating it from the corporate world.

Football stakeholders converged in Harare last week seeking solutions to the growing problem in the wake of disturbances at Barbourfields Stadium, which led to the abandonment of the match between Highlanders and Dynamos two weeks ago.

When fans engage in violent conduct during matches, the desired goal is that their team should win in the end. The violent behaviour is born out of deep affection for their team and once it dawns on them that engaging in violence can achieve the opposite of what they actually want to achieve, they should be forced to reconsider.

Docking points discourages the fans from engaging in acts of hooliganism and instils a spirit of responsibility among supporters. While it is true those who pour their money to invest in the team are also affected, it hits the supporters hardest hit because they are the key stakeholders, they don’t want to lose or to be number two. They want to dominate always.

However, it is not just the policy of docking points that should be relied upon by the PSL leadership. A lot more needs to be done. All stakeholders of the game must unite to fight the scourge.

Members of the police force deployed to provide security at football matches must be more vigilant. It was disturbing to hear they did not do their job well to identify the perpetrators of violence at Barbourfields.

The supporters are at the centre of these acts of hooliganism and the only way to deal with them is to dock points for their team. It hits them hardest!

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