ZIFA FINALLY SPEAK ON BF VIOLENCE…Zifa want tribal hate songs banned…Mudhuwa, Bosso & DeMbare summoned
Lawrence Moyo, Head Zimpapers Sport
THE Zifa Normalisation Committee (NC) has finally spoken on the violence that ruined the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League match between Dynamos and Highlanders at Barbourfields on Sunday after three days of silence.
Zifa’s reaction came on the fourth day after the ugly scenes at Barbourfields amid concerns within local football circles that the interim leadership at the football motherbody was sleeping on duty.
Led by Lincoln Mutasa, the Zifa NC is yet to take a leading role on most of the football matters that, ordinarily, require them to lead from the front.
The statement yesterday came at a time an affiliate, the Premier Soccer League, yesterday ruled against Yadah’s request to have their match against Highlanders on Sunday played before an empty Barbourfields Stadium or at a neutral venue.
As we reported earlier this week, the PSL believes authorities must deal with the hooligans without abandoning the troubled venues as this will give thugs ammunition to ruin more matches.
However, a disciplinary hearing on the ill-fated match is yet to be conducted and the current stance is subject to ruling.
The hearing has been set for September 26 at the PSL offices in Harare where Highlanders, their defender Peter Mudhuwa and Dynamos have been summoned.
Highlanders have been charged for causing the abandonment of the match, missile throwing, pitch invasion, acts of violence and malicious damage to property while Mudhuwa faces charges of inciting violence and improper behaviour.
On their part, Dynamos are accused of pitch invasion, missile throwing and acts of violence.
On the other hand, the ZRP on Wednesday night reported that the number of people arrested in connection with Sunday’s violence had risen to 19 while investigations are continuing with a view of accounting for all suspects.
In their statement yesterday, Zifa said they will be lobbying for an exclusive focus group to crack down on offensive songs together with tribal or racial chants which include offensive gestures and displaying offensive messaging which cause feelings of discomfort and discrimination to rival supporters.
“The Zimbabwe Football Association noted, with grave concern, the crowd trouble that led to the abandonment of the high profile league match between Dynamos and Highlanders on 10 September 2023.
“We encourage all concerned stakeholders to act responsibly in order to preserve the values of fair play and camaraderie in our game. Supporters, players and officials should act in ways that promote the development of Zimbabwean football.
“The association is grateful to the Zimbabwe Republic Police for apprehending suspected perpetrators of hooliganism at Barbourfields Stadium. It is our sincere hope that criminals found guilty of the disorderly conduct will face the full wrath of the law. Further we will push for further enforcement of lengthy stadium bans for anyone found causing trouble at stadiums.”
The Zifa NC believes the solution to the football hooliganism seen at Barbourfields on Sunday lies in engagements. “Football is a team sport, and supporters should also play their part to keep the game civilised. As a commercial sport, football needs order so that sponsors can feel proud to associate their brands with it. That becomes extremely difficult if barbaric acts of pitch invasion and violence are part of our game.
“As the association, we will continue engaging all concerned stakeholders so that we can come up with fool proof solutions to the eternal challenge of hooliganism. The association is also concerned by the offensive songs and chants peculiar to our football.
“Going forward, the association is lobbying for an exclusive focus group to crack down on offensive songs together with tribal or racial chants which include offensive gestures and displaying offensive messaging which cause feelings of discomfort and discrimination to rival supporters.
“We encourage stakeholders to increase education and awareness campaigns to enlighten supporters on the ills of violence at football matches.
Violence tarnishes the image of the game that we all love. It isolates our game from the corporate sector, which is vital to the realisation of the full commercialisation of football in Zimbabwe.
“We all have a responsibility to carry our football to the next level,” reads the statement issued on behalf of the Zifa NC.