BARBOURFIELDS DEBACLE :Govt blame Zifa, Gumede view skirmishes as an act of treason

On August 14, 2016, I had intended to attend Highlanders vs Chicken Inn encounter at Barbourfields Stadium.

I have never watched Chicken Inn play live and my last visit to Barbourfields was last year against, yes Dynamos (already preparing for Dynamos return leg against Highlanders).

But at 1:30 pm I hesitated on two simple reasons, Liverpool was due to play Arsenal at 5pm, the time when proceedings at Barbourfields would have concluded, peacefully I thought.

Getting transport would have been a hustle, so i ‘boycotted’.

As Arsenal was threatening to embarrass the Reds in the first half at the Emirates, a colleague called reporting on skirmishes eMagumeni.

My first thought was, ah it's obvious, it's no big deal and it's common.

About an hour later I received a 18 second clip of the disturbances and that slightly altered my earlier view.

It happens at other centres.

Then I was so keen on what the media would report on on Monday, apart from the arrests and all.

What was the root cause of the skirmishes? How did the police react etc?

I won't go any further.

On Monday, Sport and Recreation minister Makhosini Hlongwane, according to NewsDay was quick to blame Zifa for the chaos.

Hlongwane is quoted saying ‘the incident could have been avoided had Zifa dealt decisively with past cases of violence”.

“It is the government’s view that the lack of decisive action on these very important matters of football by Zifa have allowed the culture of violence to continue to breed at football matches. The lack of disciplinary action on the Zifa board member, who invaded the pitch, is creating an impression that Zifa itself is sheltering merchants of violence within its structure and promoting a culture of impunity.

“Government is, therefore, advising Zifa to lead by example and to take stern action on all perpetrators of violence in all the cited incidences including the Highlanders versus Chicken Inn match.

“ My ministry would like to state in categoric terms that hooliganism and other forms of violence have no place in football, in particular and in sport in general, as it defeats the very well established axioms of sport, that is promoting peace and a culture of tolerance of difference”.

Highlanders’ chief executive officer Ndumiso Gumede had no kind words for the hooligans. 
“The violence was made worse by the attack on a police officer and that is tantamount to treason because that officer enforces the laws of the country and no amount of anger justifies the vicious attack” he is quoted saying by the Chronicle.
“ We strongly condemn such violence be it from aggrieved persons or whoever. Taking the law into one’s hands is just not acceptable.

“If such acts of violence continue, we will be forced to fish out the unruly elements behind it. We have marshals strategically positioned around the stadium, hence it’s not difficult at all to identify the perpetrators of violence and ban them from the stadium”.

Well said Hlongwane and Gumede. What was of interest were online Chronicle and NewsDay readers comments.

I selected a few :

Graham Boyle (Chronicle)

Why should people discuss and condemn the violence and ignore what caused the violence.
What caused the violence should be condemned first.

Sanctions Propaganda (Chronicle)

I am not inciting anyone to beat up or undermine the police but personaly i feel no empathy or pity for this policeman,sorry!When Epworth residents demonstrated during Shutdown Police went door to door beating up people regardless of whether they were involved in the shutdown or not,so in the same spirit this Policeman has suffered for the sins of his colleagues

WILLARD MUBVUMBI (NewsDay)

Our match officials should avoid taking sides, now look what happened? Thats the reason why Zim clubs as well as national teams are punching bags. Look what happened to the ladies in Brazil. Match officials are killing our soccer. The PSL disciplinary committe never punished dynamos during the first part of the season. If they punish Bosso now, then we know PSL favours dynamos. The actual score is, Chicken Inn: 2
Bosso: 1.

Norman (NewsDay)

WILLARD MUBVUMBI, leave Dynamos out of this. Who doesn’t know that Barbourfields has over the years become one of the most dangerous stadiums in Zimbabwe when Highlanders supporters get angry and violent, which they often do? Didn’t Bosso CEO Ndumiso Gumede himself appeal to the hooligan element among the supporters to stop that last year? And where does the walloping of the Mighty Warriors come in? They were beaten fair and square by teams ranked many notches above them. Let’s not draw false and ignorant parallels.

Below are some of pictures courtesy of the Chronicle

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