An unusual Sunday it was An injured soccer fan is carried by other supporters after violence broke out during Highlanders and Dynamos match at Barbourfields Stadium on Sunday

Lovemore Dube, [email protected]

THERE was something unusual about Sunday’s clash pitting Dynamos FC, the home side and ‘visiting’ Highlanders FC.

Something was really amiss as if a bad omen during a match that should have set the bar for other encounters lined up. Caps United FC are coming soon to Bulawayo to face Dynamos.

On Sunday morning there was barely the sound of vuvuzelas in the streets. One could not believe that the biggest two clubs in Zimbabwe would be in action at 1500 hours at Barbourfields Stadium.

Yes a few vehicles had flags of either side flying loosely from the windows or carrier bars but the vibe was not there.

A drive around by the Zimpapers Sports Hub team found a very cold atmosphere for the kind of match that was in Bulawayo.

Even the driving Dynamos fans who arrived with ‘Chief CheerLeader’ Chris Romario Musekiwa lacked the usual energy of such matches.

All pointed to a poor crowd at Barbourfields Stadium.

A visit to the usual red spot Tredgold found a few fans going about their usual business venturing beyond Fort Street into Bulawayo’s Central Business District.

The accustomed to droves were not there. Even the numbers of either team’s supporters coming to kick off their journey to Barbourfields Stadium lacked the usual huge punctuation in numbers.

So dull was the atmosphere that at the Highlanders Clubhouse there were just two cars parked at 12pm.

One arriving in Bulawayo at that moment would have thought the soccer fans may have slept at a “pungwe” hosted by their favourite musical acts Winky D and the Soul Brothers.

Or it was the overnight heat that sapped fans and Bulawayo community of their energy.

Highlanders and Dynamos matches have been known to create a lot of hype in social media and also in the streets of Bulawayo with all roads evidently leading to Barbourfields Stadium come 3pm.

Going into the match Dynamos were riding high under Genesis Mangombe. They appeared to have returned to their fast flowing wing play, whose end product are good crosses into the box. All of a sudden they are a side claiming that they have what it takes to be Zimbabwe champions again.

Their confidence and self-belief is there to tell and are playing for the result and fans at the same time.

Highlanders who after 19 matches looked like a club soon to break as their 1-0 or closeline wins were never convincing. The question stayed: “If they do not get setpieces or if they are well dealt with by the opposition will Highlanders score or be able to come from behind?”

A team with overrated or liked former club juniors Andrew Mbeba and Archford Faira, a centreback duo of Mbongeni Ndlovu and Peter Muduhwa which is poor at organising teammates and provide cover and a defensive midfield pair of Melikhaya Ncube and Brighton Manhire that lacks a crunching effect, it was just about time that the spectacular collapse would set in.

Even the pressers saw week in, week out, Baltermar Brito stick his guns on his tactics, blaming football authorities, his club for not bringing Lunga Zikode, a striker some players and many in the technical team believe can bring a different dimension.


The losses, to Chicken Inn and FC Platinum saw Highlanders change a bit on the tactics and venturing forward without trusted good wingbacks and an organising anchorman to direct defence lines in partnership with centrebacks.

In the surge forward for goals Highlanders were opening themselves up to opposition who were now finding few Bosso players in the rearguard.

Getting to Barbourfields Stadium was a shocking experience as a very decent crowd had paid to watch Dynamos despite gate charges being pegged at US$5 for the cheapest ticket.

With over 11 500 fans packed at kick off, Zimbabwe football could not have wished for better endorsement than that.

With Dynamos in all traditional blue, Highlanders stunned even their own fans by donning greyish shots and boring black and grey tops.

It looked odd, why not the traditional black and white stripe that would not have caused any clash of colours.

It was a quickfire start with both teams going for goalmouth action and Dynamos were the first off the blocks and in the 33rd minute Dynamos were already 2-0.

By then Highlanders fans had already started questioning Allen Bhasvi’s officiating. They felt their players were being punished for lesser offences than their opponents.

Foul calls on Elshaamar Farasi and Mckinnon Mushore in the box in the 38th minute, invited missile throwing from the Soweto End and ultimately a pitch invasion that forced Police to make an informed decision to retreat.

With Highlanders all over the pitch some brave Dynamos fans albeit not sober decided to join the fracas and many were hurt in the process with one reported to have been stabbed.

Frank Makarati and Keith Madera were on target finishing with first time touch crosses from the Faira Highway.

The match was rated as the highlight game of the second half of the championship.

Many fans felt that it would be a test of character to both teams’ championship aspirations.

One, Highlanders if indeed in the mix, needed to redeem themselves after the two 2-0 losses to Chicken Inn and FC Platinum. It was putting their character to the sword and appeared to play second fiddle to a Dynamos whose running and passing game moulded around Issa Sadiki and Tanaka Shandirwa gave fans their money’s worth.

“Papa we are chasing the championship. Our fans must be patient with us, we are on track, the technical team is doing a fantastic job” is all club chief executive officer Jonathan Mashingaidze could whisper as a thick cloud of teargas engulfed Barbourfields and Mzilikazi suburbs.

So many theories have been propagated for the behavior of fans, one of them being the US$5 for the cheapest ticket and Bosso’s evident poor quality in players and strategy.

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