Arrests should send clear message that violence will not be tolerated in soccer
WE commend the Zimbabwe Republic Police for the arrest of suspects behind the violence that broke out during a match pitting the country’s football giants Highlanders and Dynamos Football Clubs at Barbourfields Stadium in Bulawayo on Sunday.
The arrests should send a clear message that violence at football matches and indeed everywhere else will not be tolerated and the law enforcement agents stand ready to bring culprits to book.
By Tuesday, the police had arrested 12 suspects, two facing charges of contravening the Fire Arms Act, four for criminal nuisance and six for public violence.
We reiterate calls by the police for patience as the law enforcement agents continue to make arrests of perpetrators behind the violence on Sunday.
Some elements have tried to use the unfortunate incident at Barbourfields on Sunday to further narrow political interests that have nothing to do with soccer or sport in general.
Such desperate attempts must be condemned in the strongest terms as they only serve to create more chaos in the beautiful game of soccer than finding lasting solutions to unfortunate incidents of violence.
Some teams on the other hand have expressed discomfort at playing at Barbourfields but we encourage them to heed calls by the police for patience as they account for Sunday’s violence instigators.
Bulawayo provincial spokesperson Inspector Abednico Ncube called on the public to be patient and trust the ZRP as they account for the offending parties.
“Investigations are progressing well and the net is fast closing in. We, for now, would want to call for calm and ask the public and the football community to trust that the ZRP will arrest the culprits,” said Insp Ncube.
“The ZRP assures the public that full-scale investigations are in progress to account for all aspects involved in the violence.”
Highlanders on Monday condemned the violence saying the unsporting behaviour negatively profiles Zimbabwean football as a brand.
“It is sad to witness such ugly scenes at a family sports event, especially at a time when the club, together with other stakeholders are working tirelessly to bring fans back into the stadiums and convincing the corporate world that sport in general and football in particular is worth their support.
“We would like to apologise to all our stakeholders, particularly our sponsors, partners and innocent football-loving fans who were affected by the acts of a few selfish individuals who care less about the growth of their clubs and football in general. We also pray for those who were injured and wish them a speedy recovery,” said Bosso in a statement.
“The club also takes this opportunity to implore stakeholders to put their heads together and find a lasting solution to this vice that continuously brings the name of the game into disrepute.”