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PSL coaches cry foul


TOP division coaches have criticised the suspension of the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League following crowd trouble that caused the abandonment of the game between Highlanders and Dynamos at Barbourfields Stadium on Sunday.

PSL chief executive Kenny Ndebele suspended the league on Monday, but the decision has proved to be unpopular with both the fans and coaches.

Chicken Inn coach Joey Antipas expressed disappointment over the suspension, with his team having climbed to the top of the pile following a win over Caps United.

“They should punish the perpetrators Dynamos and Highlanders. All other games are going on peacefully with no dramas,” Antipas told NewsDay Sport.

“Unfortunately, other teams are having to suffer for their deeds. Football is a game of enjoyment and not violence. Fans have to accept defeat, which is part and parcel of the game. We do not want fans to lose their lives because of crowd violence.”

He said his team was regaining its mojo.

“I think we were picking up the pieces in terms of performance, but there is nothing we can do about it. The authorities have spoken loud and clear about hooliganism, even prior to incidents at Barbourfields.”

Black Rhinos coach Herbert Maruwa fears the break will affect their momentum, having gone five matches unbeaten.

“The game’s suspension is going to affect us in terms of rhythm and it kills our momentum. We have gone five games without a defeat, so we wanted to play week in week out and make sure the team remains focused,” he said.

“But we respect their decision to suspend the games. They want to solve these disturbances affecting our games and I think all stakeholders must sit down and identify the root of the problems.”

After falling to FC Platinum last week, Yadah FC coach Genesis Mangombe was hoping his team could bounce back this week.

Mangombe believes the suspension will have a negative impact, particularly on their team and the league in general.

“The suspension is a disadvantage to nearly everyone because during (COVID-19-induced) lockdowns, we were not playing games. Now we have been told the matches have been suspended, yet we have been preparing for the games,” he said.

“We are approaching the mid-season break, so to me it’s a disadvantage because you have to restart and restrategise. It’s not good for the team.

“All the same, we are going to work on the remaining two games before the window, but the major problem is now we don’t know when we are going to play the remaining games and how should we train, are we going to train the team as normal knowing maybe next week or midweek we are going to play. We are in the dark, so for me it’s not good. We were supposed to play those remaining two fixtures and then maybe can address the problem during this window.”

NewsDay Sport has, however, been told that the league could resume after this weekend.

The decision to put the league programme on hold was arrived at by the PSL board of governors, while a permanent solution to the cancer of violence is sought.

“It was a decision that was made by the PSL emergency committee and the suspension is just for a week,” a source said.

“A unilateral decision could not be made without consulting the clubs, but unfortunately, it’s the governors who were consulted and these guys are not hands-on and are not involved in the day-to-day running of the clubs. The suspension will only be for a week.”

The PSL made a quick reaction and suspended the league following incidents of hooliganism at Barbourfields on Sunday.

The match was abandoned when Highlanders was leading 1-0, with match commissioner Edson Nkau ruling that it was no longer conducive to continue with the game as fans engaged in running battles with the police.

The PSL will take disciplinary action on the Sunday match after receiving reports from the match officials, the police as well as Highlanders and Dynamos.

Highlanders were also involved in another suspended match after their fans clashed with police in their match against FC at Mandava Stadium last month.

The Bulawayo giants were scheduled to appear before a PSL disciplinary committee last week charged with causing the abandonment of that game.

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