By Michael Kariati
The battle for Zimbabwe Part 2 between traditional football rivals Dynamos and Highlanders is on at Rufaro Stadium today, with hopes high that the game will last the entire 90 minutes, and without ugly scenes.
The last time the two teams met in a Castle Lager Premier Soccer League show, the game ended prematurely after Highlanders fans threw missiles onto the pitch disputing a Dynamos goal which they claimed had come from an offside position.
The biggest losers were not Highlanders who lost out three points and were fined a heavy $4 000, but genuine football fans who did not have the chance to watch the remainder of the match after forking out their hard-earned $3 to watch the game.
The sad events of that day at Barbourfields should not repeat themselves today, and both Dynamos and Highlanders should learn that football is a game of friendship and fun and results are secondary.
Whoever loses should accept the final outcome, even if they are not happy with some of the events on the field of play.
DeMbare and Bosso fans should, in fact, follow the example set by the followers of the Green Machine of CAPS United, who after losing 2-0 to Dynamos last weekend, went home without causing any ugly scene.
Although there were grumblings over the manner in which the match was handled, some of the Makepekepe fans even joked that if they were to subtract the second goal that came from a disputed free kick, they would still have lost the game 1-0.
That is the spirit of the game of football. That is the reason why some analysts are quick to imply that CAPS United fans are level-headed because they are more educated than those of their rivals. Although this is a joke, events on the ground make it seem like a fact.
Questions on the fans’ level of education begin to be asked when things that took place at the same stadium on the same day continue to happen. Led by a newly-appointed senior member of the club executive (name withheld), a section of the Dynamos fans blocked journalists from going through the designated entry point to the post-match Press conference.
The fans demanded that they be allowed access into the stadium first if the journalists were to be allowed entry via the same gate.
The question is: What did they want in the stadium when the match had ended? And to do what? Such small incidents spark even bigger problems. What would have happened had the other Dynamos fans joined the club executive member and his gang in pushing the gate to get back into the stadium?
That was at the National Sports Stadium and today the big match is at Rufaro Stadium. Although clubs have lost out thousands of dollars in fines, this has not helped in the fight against hooliganism.
In that respect, there is no guarantee that the “Battle for Zimbabwe” will be free from hooliganism, especially at a time when
Dynamos are on a roll and Highlanders are going through a rough patch.
The police should go out in full force to see to it that nothing like what happened at Barbourfields Stadium repeats itself at Rufaro.
Instead of spending their working time watching the game, members of the force should look out for trouble-makers, arrest them and make them appear in court.
There is a saying that goes, “birds of a feather flock together.”
However, if one football hooligan goes to jail, the others will not want to follow. So, it is up to the police to set an example so that the other football trouble-makers will not do the same.
However, to avoid getting into trouble, one should just accept the results of the game — even if the feeling is that the referee did not do justice to their team.
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