Punish soccer hooligans


THE violence that erupted after the Premier Soccer League (PSL) match between Highlanders FC and ZPC Kariba on Sunday was bad advertisement for local football and the demon has to be exorcised immediately.

Sunday’s violent scenes were the second such incident after a Highlanders loss this season, with the first ending in tragedy as a Bosso fan died.

Such clashes are common in matches featuring Highlanders and Dynamos because of the hype that tends to surround the fixture.

There have been many theories proffered for the animosity that exists between the two sets of fans, but what is clear is that Highlanders supporters have a problem.

Last season, the team had to part with a lot of money paying fines because of ill-disciplined fans.

It is clear that fans are not happy with the performance of the team, which is once again losing momentum in the championship race. Highlanders seem destined to capitulate to Dynamos for the fourth season in a row.

However, fans are misdirecting their anger by turning to violence to demonstrate their disquiet over the state of affairs.

Their actions would cost Highlanders dearly as the PSL is likely to descend on the club heavily.

In the long run, fines would cripple Highlanders’ ability to sign better plays and to pay competitive bonuses to motivate the team.

Highlanders is one of the few teams in the league that have attracted sizeable sponsorship over the years, but the violent nature of some its supporters could reverse all that.

The Highlanders executive needs to urgently put its house in order and reverse the decline. It is also the responsibility of the executive to educate fans about the dangers of violence at soccer matches.

Fans need to know that by engaging in violence they are threatening the very existence of the team.

Violence would not make Highlanders win more matches. Football should be a family event and police have to descend heavily on violence perpetrators, who in most cases are repeat offenders.