EMBATTLED Highlanders have been handed yet another $3 000 fine after pleading guilty to breaching order 31 of the Castle Lager Premier (PSL) rules and regulations when their fans turned rowdy and threw missiles on to the pitch after their team lost 1-3 to ZPC Kariba at Hartsfield Rugby Ground on September 28.
It was the game that led to coach Kelvin Kaindu’s departure from Highlanders. He bade farewell to the players and members of the technical team on that day in the dressing room after the match.
However, $500 was suspended on condition the club, its officials and its supporters are not convicted of any offence involving violence or the throwing of missiles.
Bosso appeared before a PSL disciplinary committee represented by vice-chairman Mgcini Mpofu on October 15.
Referee of the day Arnold Ncube in his report said: “Just after the match, Highlanders supporters in black and white regalia started singing songs clamouring for Highlanders head coach (Kelvin Kaindu’s) head and the whole team.
Just a few minutes later they started throwing stones and empty bottles at Highlanders, ZPC Kariba team players and officials and the referees who were at the centre of the field of play which resulted in two ZPC players Tawanda Nyamandwe and Tawanda Munyanduri and a ball boy being struck by stones (sic).
“In the process the substitute board was also struck while the fourth official was holding it. Riot police had to rush into the field of play to shield both teams and the officials. The situation normalised after about 30 minutes as the Zimbabwe Republic Police details quickly intervened and had to use tear gas to clear the stadium.”
The judgment reads: “In mitigation Highlanders Football Club representative pleaded with the committee to take note that the club was also a victim because the attack was directed at its officials, the head coach as well as the team players.
“The club implored the responsible authority to assist in the identification of the culprits so that they would be prosecuted.
“The club has been displaying anti-violence banners at its matches for the past three years, but it appears this is not bearing any fruits.
“Hartsfield is not a ground to host such a big club as Highlanders FC. The club has no choice, but to use the stadium due to national demands. Stones are everywhere and this makes it easy for rowdy supporters to get missiles.
“In aggravation, the prosecution implored the committee to take stern disciplinary action against the club. Highlanders’ disciplinary record leaves a lot to be desired and yet as the oldest club, they must lead by example. During the day in question property was damaged and there were injuries to players as well as a ball boy.
“In arriving at the appropriate sentence, the committee took into account the fact that the club pleaded guilty. They will pay for the damaged property. They have tried to educate their supporters about the dangers of violence.
“However, we condemn in the strongest terms any acts of violence. Soccer is just a sport, a unifier, a family game, where people are free to interact and watch the game. It is not a war zone where missiles are fired indiscriminately, without any due consequences.
Violence in whatever form is just barbaric.
“The police must apprehend all perpetrators and make them pay dearly. As a committee we will not hesitate to ban them from soccer for life if caught and brought before us. Whatever grievances they might have, supporters must learn to follow the correct channels to air them and not vent their anger on innocent souls. The suspended sentence will act as a deterrent and ensure the club does not commit a similar offence. We are as usual guided by the standing orders and the principle of uniformity and consistency in dealing with such cases.”
Early this month, the Bulawayo giants were slapped with a $4 000 fine by the PSL for the unruly conduct of their fans in two matches under the PSL standing order offences and fines.
Bosso were fined $2 000 for pitch invasion and missile-throwing by fans during a league match against How Mine on July 6 which Highlanders won 2-1.
They were also fined another $2 000 for missile-throwing by fans during the 0-1 defeat by Dynamos at Barbourfields Stadium on August 9.
A Bosso fan Thembelenkosini Hloli was murdered on that day as the violence spilled out of the stadium.
Welfare manager Willard Mashinkila-Khumalo was also fined $125 for unruly behaviour in their match against Chapungu at Ascot Stadium on April 5.
He was expelled from the technical bench after he protested referee Thomas Masaa’s decision to wave play on when striker Gabriel Nyoni was brought down inside the penalty box.