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PSL suspends league

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BY FORTUNE MBELE
THE Premier Soccer League (PSL) has with immediate effect suspended the 2021-2022 league programme following acts of violence and hooliganism that have characterized recent matches.

The suspension comes after the ugly scenes in the Highlanders and Dynamos league match at Barbourfields Stadium on Sunday which led to the game being abandoned when the Bulawayo giants were leading 1-0 in optional time.

PSL chief executive, Kennedy Ndebele said they were engaging all stakeholders to find solutions to the violence.

“The Premier Soccer League has suspended all Castle Lager PSL matches with immediate effect until further notice following incidents of violence and hooliganism that continue to take place in our football,” Ndebele said in a statement.

“The PSL strongly condemns such acts as they can only serve to tarnish the beautiful game of football. We are currently engaging all stakeholders to find lasting solutions to these challenges. We have scheduled a meeting with security officials including the Zimbabwe Republic Police, club security officers and marshals as well as stadium owners on Friday May 20 2022.”

The league has requested the police, Dynamos and Highlanders to submit reports of what transpired on Sunday before taking disciplinary action.

Meanwhile, Zifa has also said it will come down heavily on the perpetrators of violence and hooliganism.

On Sunday, Highlanders invaded the pitch to celebrate Washington Navaya’s goal in a match that was punctuated by two stoppages.

Dynamos fans at the Mpilo end then invaded the pitch, vandalised the perimeter fence and the goalpost, forcing Masvingo referee Jimmy Makwanda to call the match off.

The second assistant referee Melody Ncube was rescued by the police while there was a scuffle between the Dynamos and Highlanders players in the second half after the latter’s defender Andrew Tandi was brutally challenged by striker Bill Antonio.

Antonio was given his marching orders by Makwanda.

There was a 13-minute stoppage as Tandi was being attended to, with fans from either side engaged in running battles with the police.

Zifa yesterday read the riot act following the Sunday match.

“The Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) condemns acts of hooliganism that disrupted the flow of, and led to the abandonment of the Premier Soccer League match between Highlanders and Dynamos on May 15 2022,” Zifa acting chief executive, Xolisani Gwesela, said.

“We urge all football stakeholders to always perform their roles to the best of their abilities to ensure that football matches are completely rid of such disruptions. The Association will engage all stakeholders and ensure deterrent punitive measures for all individuals and groups found to be causing the actions that scar the reputation of Zimbabwean football. It is also imperative to identify the roots of the hooliganism so that we find a lasting solution. The abandonment of matches is not the best picture of our football that we want the world to see.”

Immediately after the match on Sunday, Bulawayo mayor Solomon Mguni also wrote on his Facebook account: “For as long as we don’t resolve the national question; we will continue to have Dynamos FC and Highlanders FC matches ending in skirmishes and running battles. It’s no longer about football. We don’t want to bequeath historical grudges to future generations.”

About three weeks ago, another game pitting FC Platinum and Highlanders at Mandava was abandoned due to crowd troubled with fans running riot after the host were awarded a penalty in the 82nd minute.

Police had to throw teargas cannisters to disperse the crowd and quell down the violence which spilled into the city centre in Zvishavane leading to the arrest of 15 people.

The score line was 1-1 at Mandava while Highlanders was leading 1-0 on Sunday at BF when the match was called off.

  • Follow Fortune on Twitter @fmbele

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