SPORT, Arts and Culture minister Andrew Langa has implored Highlanders fans to stop violence following ugly incidents at Barbourfields Stadium in the Bob 91 Super Cup semi-final clash against Caps United on Sunday.
SENIOR PARLIMENTARY REPORTER
A Caps United fan is recuperating in hospital after sustaining injuries in violence that ensued after Bosso had lost 1-2.
Highlanders fans had pelted Caps goalkeeper Victor Twaliki and the Green Machine supporters exerted their revenge when they stoned Bosso keeper Ariel Sibanda. But as has become the norm, focus has been more on Highlanders fans.
There were incidents of missile-throwing at Saturday’s Caf Confederation Cup match between FC Platinum and Sofapaka of Kenya at Mandava Stadium.
Similar incidents took place in the Sino-Zim Challenge Cup between Caps United and Dynamos at Rufaro Stadium, with little being said about it.
Gokwe Gumunyu MP Melania Mahiya had asked Langa to explain the measures he would take regarding hooliganism in football and disciplinary action on violent supporters of teams when the minister appeared before a Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Education, Sport, Arts and Culture yesterday.
Langa said at the moment there was no law on hooliganism, adding that a Premier Soccer League and Zifa committee would soon be meeting to discuss issues surrounding violence at matches.
“I want to say Highlanders should implore their fans to stop violence and I hope when the committee meets they will take stern action,” he said.
“I will discuss with the Home Affairs ministry to ensure that whenever there is a match there is tight police security. The police requirements are that whenever they come to support an event we give them money.”
MPs said it was the duty of police to provide security, adding it was ridiculous for them to want payments from associations riddled with debt.
Yesterday, Highlanders fans and supporters said criticism of their behaviour and that of the team, some which bordered on tribalism, was unfair.
In a statement on the Facebook page, fans wrote: “While there are just a few unruly elements within our family, it is unfair to project the entire Highlanders family as a family of thugs and hooligans. There is a long standing conspiracy to portray Highlanders supporters as barbaric knife-wielding hooligans and we don’t like it.
“Highlanders is being portrayed by the media as a tribalist team with stories of players accusing Bosso of tribalism and Bosso leadership being constantly and consistently being quoted out of context.
“We want to set the record straight. There is no team that has a cross-pollination of different tribes in Zimbabwe. We have almost every Zimbabwean tribe represented in our current team.
“Of the 30 players in (coach Bongani) Mafu’s team, 13 players are either Shona-speaking or of Shona origin. The rest are a mixture of Ndebele, Kalanga and Nyanjas.
Which other club in Zimbabwe has such a balanced scale of different tribes? So what is the tribalism vitriol that is spewed? This agenda to discredit the integrity of Highlanders must cease forthwith!
“The issue of Bosso violence is clearly being blown out of proportion.
Themba Hloli died last year and nothing is being said about it. People create lies that Highlanders fans killed opposition team fans in Gweru. All those are malicious accusations.”