Yadah not keen on Barbourfields
Lawrence Moyo, Head Zimpapers Sport
IN the aftermath of the violence that ruined the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League match between Dynamos and Highlanders on Sunday, Yadah yesterday expressed serious reservations against visiting Barbourfields on Sunday.
Highlanders are supposed to host Yadah at Barbourfields in a Week 23 match and Yadah have asked to play before an empty Barbourfields or move to a neutral stadium with Bata Stadium in Gweru being their suggested venue.
According to the fixture programme, title-chasing Dynamos will also be back at Barbourfields on Saturday, this time as visitors to Bulawayo Chiefs.
In an urgent letter to the Premier Soccer League chief executive Kenny Ndebele yesterday, Yadah requested for change of venue guided by the violence that caused the abandonment of the Dynamos v Highlanders match after just 37 minutes on Sunday.
Ndebele said he had not received a copy of the communication as he was travelling but would respond today once served with the letter.
However, an official with the league revealed that their current position was that it would be wrong to succumb to hooligans and abandon Barbourfields.
“There are football hooligans all over the world and the only way is taking the hooligans head on, you deal with them and not run away from them,” said the official.
Police yesterday indicated that they were still investigating the violence on Sunday, which resulted in eight injuries and damage to several properties around Barbourfields, with the goal being to account for all the suspects.
Yadah, through Rubaya and Chatambudza legal practitioners, said the safety and wellbeing of its fans, players, officials and other stakeholders has been compromised in the wake of the upcoming fixture.
They argue that Sunday’s violence followed what Highlanders fans deemed an unfair refereeing decision and, as such, it set a precedence where match officials will feel intimidated to perform professionally against Bosso, especially at Barbourfields.
“Consequent to these unfortunate events, our client is of the firm belief that it will be extremely challenging for it to receive fair treatment from the match officials. The psychological impact of the violence, coupled with the lack of accountability for the responsible, casts a shadow of doubt on the objectivity and impartiality of the officiating team that will be in charge of the match in circumstances where Highlanders fans will be in attendance. This situation greatly undermines the principles of fair play and jeopardises the integrity of the game.
“Furthermore, our client anticipates that its players will be inhibited from performing to their full potential due to the fear of incensing Highlanders FC supporters. The fear could lead to a detrimental effect on their performance, resulting in an unfair competition where the principle of fair play cannot be achieved.”
While acknowledging inconveniences of late venue changes, Yadah then propose an alternative solution whereby the venue for Sunday’s match is changed from Barbourfields to Bata Stadium in Gweru or any other neutral venue outside of Bulawayo.
“By selecting a neutral venue, we can ensure a level playing field and create an environment where fair play can be upheld without fear or intimidation. This decision would not only safeguard the welfare of players, officials and fans but also preserve the integrity of the game itself.”
While a neutral venue is Yadah’s preferred option, they also concede that this request might not be granted.
“In the alternative, should the proposition above be unlikely deemed not viable and the PSL decides that the match should still be played at Barbourfields Stadium, our client further requests that the match be played before an empty stadium, with no spectators present.
“Such a course of action would mitigate any potential security threats and ensure safety of all participating parties. In fact this approach would also demonstrate your commitment to the principles of fair play, integrity and respect for the game of football,” wrote Admire Rubaya.
The PSL is yet to set a date for the disciplinary hearing in connection with the violence at Barbourfields as they awaited reports from match officials and related stakeholders.
WEEK 23 FIXTURES
SATURDAY: Bulawayo Chiefs v Dynamos (Barbourfields), Cranborne Bullets v Hwange (Nyamhunga), Herentals v Black Rhinos (Mandava), Ngezi Platinum v Greenfuel (Baobab), Manica Diamonds v ZPC Kariba (Gibbo).
SUNDAY: CAPS United v Chicken Inn (Bata Stadium), Highlanders v Yadah (Barbourfields), Simba Bhora v Sheasham (Baobab), Triangle v FC Platinum (Gibbo).
P W D L F A PTS
NGEZI PLATINUM 22 12 6 4 28 15 42
HIGHLANDERS 21 11 8 2 16 8 41
MANICA DIAMONDS 22 11 6 5 28 13 39
DYNAMOS 21 9 9 3 25 8 36
CHICKEN INN 22 9 9 4 22 15 36
FC PLATINUM 22 9 7 6 23 19 34
HERENTALS COLLEGE 22 8 8 6 24 21 32
GREEN FUEL 22 8 5 9 18 20 29
ZPC KARIBA 22 7 6 9 14 24 27
CAPS UNITED 22 6 8 8 19 18 26
BULAWAYO CHIEFS 22 6 8 8 25 25 26
HWANGE 22 6 7 9 17 20 25
TRIANGLE 22 4 12 6 15 23 24
YADAH 22 7 3 12 17 29 24
SIMBA BHORA 22 4 11 7 15 17 23
SHEASHAM 22 4 11 7 10 21 23
CRANBORNE BULLETS 22 4 6 12 11 20 18
BLACK RHINOS 22 3 8 11 12 23 17