Tears, stampede at Mandava Stadium

OVERZEALOUS policemen recklessly fired tear smoke at the fans deep into the referee’s optional time causing the abandonment of the FC Platinum and Highlanders match at Mandava Stadium yesterday with the two teams deadlocked one-all.

All hell broke loose after the home side equalised from a penalty converted by goalkeeper Petros Mhari triggering some Bosso fans to throw plastic bottles onto the pitch forcing second assistant referee Evans Chabataberi to abandon the touch line for the centre circle.

In the ensuing melee, which lasted less than a minute, police shockingly fired volleys of tear smoke into the crowd triggering a stampede as Bosso fans headed for the exit.

Believing the Bosso fans were heading to attack them, FC Platinum supporters trooped onto the pitch and jostled with players and officials to stampede out of the ground as tear smoke enveloped Mandava Stadium.

The reckless firing of tear gas resulted in numerous fans collapsing with no one attending to them as everyone, including the police, sought cover from the tear smoke.

Both sets of fans roundly condemned the action taken by police and felt the missile throwing could have easily been controlled as referee Brighton Chimene was about to blow for full time.

Norman Mapeza, the FC Platinum coach and Bosso gaffer Erol Akbay were not amused by the tragic end to the encounter.

“Its unfortunate for football, really unfortunate. I don’t really know what happened, but all I saw was the assistant referee running to the centre circle and suddenly we saw tear smoke and we had to run for our lives,” said Mapeza.

A clearly agitated Akbay weighed in.

“Too bad, honestly I am pissed off, both by the way the game ended and by the penalty call, this can’t be football anymore. I really don’t know, but the referee’s call was shocking because the far side assistant referee who was very close to the action never raised his flag. Honestly we cant have this kind of officiating and whoever is in charge of the referees must do something about these officials,” said Akbay with teary bloodshot eyes from the tear smoke.

The penalty was awarded after second half substitute Charles Sibanda was hacked down by Ralph Matema deep into injury time with some fans already making their way out of the stadium.

Mhari’s well taken spot kick levelled matters after Bosso had taken a 77th minute lead through a brilliant goal by Tendai Ngulube that was struck with clinical precision from an equally marvellous pass from Simon Munawa.

Away from the Zvishavane police’s overzealousness, the two teams seemed to have been gripped by the fear of losing more than the will to win and the game was reduced to the tactical shrewdness of both camps.

FC Platinum started the game the hungrier and camped in the Highlanders’ half but could not find the opener as the defence, which was well marshalled by Peter Muduhwa who had an excellent game compared to his Thursday showing and the keeper Ariel Sibanda, was unyielding.

It took Bosso 17 minutes to launch a meaningful attack, but Allan Gahadzikwa’s header went over bar and immediately after that Raphael Muduviwa whizzed his way past Honest Moyo before going for goal, but Tendai Ndlovu stood guard.

In the 24th minute, holding midfielder Gerald Takwara released a 25-metre thunderbolt, which was well saved by Ariel.

There were to be attempts at goal by Bosso’s Rodreck Mutuma in the 37th minute and FC Platinum’s Gift Mbweti a minute later, but all their efforts never caused any serious concerns to the two goalkeepers.

In the second half, Bosso took out Bukhosi Ncube, who had a quiet game and was bullied by the left-footed Elvis Moyo, for Benson Phiri while the home side pulled out the ineffective Agrippa Murima for Charles in a bid to open the stubborn Bosso defence, but goals would not come.

There was no major goal mouth action until that 77th minute stunner by Ngulube and the injury time spot kick that resulted in mayhem to an otherwise evenly balanced match.

“It was a good performance by both teams, but unfortunately it had to end this way, but at the end of the day a draw was a fair result for us because we were trailing,” said Mapeza.

FC Platinum still remain unbeaten.


FC Platinum: Petros Mhari, Raphael Muduviwa, Ian Nekati, Kelvin Moyo, Elvis Moyo, Simon Shoko, Rodwell Chinyengetere(Bret Amidu 75th min), Gerald Takwara, Talent Chawapihwa(Hillary Bakacheza 86th min), Gift Mbweti, Agripa Murima(Charles Sibanda 50th min)

Unused Subs: Francis Tizayi, Gift Bello, Nqobizitha Masuku, Winston Mhango,

Highlanders: Ariel Sibanda, Bukhosi Ncube (Benson Phiri 46th min), Rahman Kutsanzira, Simon Munawa (Brian Banda93rd min), Tendai Ndlovu, Prince Dube, Peter Muduhwa, Tendai Ngulube, Rodreck Mutuma (Ralph Matema 53rd min), Allen Gahadzikwa

Unused Subs: Charlton Siamalonga, Yves Ebabali, Godfrey Makarutse, Prosper Matutu


Referee: Brighton Chimene

First assistant: Tendai Chavanga

Second assistant: Evans Chabataberi

Fourth official: Toddy Matenga

Match commissioner: Masimba Chihohwa

Source: The Chronicle

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