Police warn football hooligans

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HARARE – The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) has strongly warned football fans from engaging in violent behaviour following the disturbances at Rufaro Stadium last Sunday.

Rowdy DeMbare supporters clashed with police following their team’s 0-1 loss to Castle Lager Premiership log leaders FC Platinum.

During the skirmishes, member of the police K9 unit and their dogs had to flee from the marauding crowd as tempers reached boiling point inside the Rufaro car park.

The unruly supporters stoned vehicles as they demanded the immediate resignation of the Glamour Boys president Kenni Mubaiwa, who was not present at the venue.

In order to restore order and allow the Dynamos team bus and executives to leave Rufaro, police had to fire teargas to disperse the crowd.

While shaming the conduct of the Dynamos fans, ZRP national spokesperson Senior assistant commissioner Charity Charamba praised the security details for exercising restraint as chaos would have ensured if they had unleashed their dogs.

“We have a constitutional mandate to maintain law and order and one can’t vent their anger on the police because we neither took part in the match nor did we influence the outcome of the match,” Charamba told the Daily News yesterday.

“We do not condone this kind of behaviour; did your team lose against the police? They still did not even have a right to attack the team that beat them let alone turning against the police.

“If we had let loose the dogs on those hooligans we could have been talking of casualties with some of them missing sensitive parts.”

Charamba added: “Our dogs target sensitive parts of the body so be warned. If you mess with our dogs they will harm you. The dogs are trained to protect their handlers and I would like to applaud our police for exercising extreme discipline by retreating because it could have been a disaster.”

The police national spokesperson said Sunday’s violence was not in sync with the peace-loving nature of Zimbabweans.

“I would like to warn members of the public and in this instance soccer fans not to take the law into their own hands,” she said.

“They should learn to cherish victory and accept defeat. Learn to be responsible and law abiding citizens, Zimbabweans are known to be non-violent people and it was shocking to see them behaving in such deplorable manner.

“We are studying the video footage that we have and very soon all the culprits will be brought to book and in future we will deploy more police officers and institute stringent screening measures if that’s the way the supporters want to be treated.”

Sports minister Makhosini Hlongwane also abhorred the conduct of the Dynamos fans.

“Government is deeply concerned…. sad events that are not good for sport in general and football in particular… it is … disturbing that contrary to the values of sport, Dynamos fans went on a rampage, destroying property and attacking individuals in ugly scenes of violence at Rufaro…after the match,” he said.

"Please advice Zifa that government is concerned by violent behaviour which should not be allowed to continue. Remedial action should be taken to arrest all errant behaviour at, during and after the matches so as to encourage investment in sport in general and football in particular." 

The Premier Soccer League (PSL) is also concerned with the ugly scenes from Sunday which deter sponsors from bankrolling the local game.

“As a League we condemn this appalling behaviour that tarnishes our football,” PSL spokesperson Kudzai Bare said yesterday.

“The League will take corrective measures to deal with such conduct to ensure football matches are played in a peaceful atmosphere. Stadia should be for families to come and enjoy their afternoons. We are closely working with club security officers and law enforcement agents to ensure that violence and hooliganism is completely eradicated from our football.”

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