THE Premier Soccer League (PSL) has charged Highlanders following the thuggish behaviour of their fans during the defeat to FC Platinum in the Castle Lager Challenge Cup at Barbourfields Stadium on Saturday.
With their club trailing 0-2 after a first half brace from Silas Songani, unruly Bosso fans began attacking Pure Platinum Play fans and throwing missiles onto the pitch.
In order to escape the beatings, the visitors’ supporters had to invade the pitch forcing the game to be stopped.
Highlanders’ fans continued their assault on the pitch with police finding it difficult to restore order in a poor advertisement of local football.
In the end, the match was stopped for over 30 minutes before police finally brought the situation under control but the damage had already been done.
“Such unruly behaviour cannot be tolerated as it reflects badly on the game of football and the country as a whole.
“We are carrying out investigations on the matter and have requested reports from the Zimbabwe Republic Police, the two participating clubs, the Bulawayo City Council security department and security officials on what transpired and their recommendations on stemming out violence at football matches played at Barbourfields Stadium in particular.
“Meanwhile, we will proceed to charge Highlanders FC in terms of the PSL rules and regulations as well as the rules of the tournament,” PSL spokesperson Kudzai Bare said in a statement yesterday.
Bosso should expect the league to come down hard on them considering that this is not the first time there has been crowd trouble at their home matches.
Meanwhile, Bosso chairperson Kenneth Mhlophe expressed a strong disapproval of the club’s fans actions that are now portraying the Bulawayo giants in a negative manner.
“The ugly incidents that marred a potentially good sporting event reflect badly on our football, Highlanders FC as a brand and various stakeholders involved in the beautiful game.
“As Highlanders FC, we want to take this opportunity to apologise to all stakeholders who were affected by the incidents and give an assurance that as a club we are working tirelessly to decontaminate our football of this vice.
“Violence has no place in football. Football is a family sport and the stadium should provide a conducive environment for the football loving people to bring their families,” Mhlophe said in a statement yesterday.
Mhlophe was also disappointed by the fact that the Bosso fans’ violent acts also damaged some sections of the venue which are currently undergoing renovations.
The Confederation of African Football (Caf) recently banned Zimbabwe from hosting international matches due to dilapidated stadia.
As a result, the government has released funds to go towards refurbishments at the National Sports Stadium and Barbourfields.
“The club also notes with gratefulness the amount of work that the government and Bulawayo City Council and other stakeholders involved have done in uplifting Barbourfields Stadium generally and particularly the playing pitch, which was in pristine condition for the match.
“Thus the lifting and throwing of water pipes that were stored…by violent fans is uncalled for and stand unequivocally condemned by the club,” Mhlophe said.