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Opinion: Highlanders or Violanders

Why should you become the referee when you paid money to be the fan? Why should you become the match official when you spent long hours sitting in the scotching sun?

Indeed, if you want to become the referee, violence becomes distant in establishing rule of law. If you want to become the match official, you cannot be established as an enforcer who has not mastered the aspects of control.

We must begin to ask the questions about Highlanders’ institutional thinking. Inside the organizational thinking at Highlanders is a big problem recently exposed by coach Elroy Akbay’s press conference at Mandava after the match was abandoned.

“We are playing good football. I am giving my all but the referees are not recognizing my efforts. The call by the referee was shocking.

“We cannot continue to have such officiating, ZIFA [Zimbabwe Football Association] must do something because this is bulls**t,” he said.

The words in italics are a summation of why Highlanders have failed to control their fans.

Akbay begins to preach about a PSL referees’ high agenda against Highlanders. But he cannot propagate the story without raising a few questions.

When Akbay says his team is targeted by referees after the violence, is he insinuating that this so called PSL referees’ agenda is against their ‘good football’? He says I’m giving ‘my all’, and ‘referees are not recognizing my efforts’; Mr. Akbay appears to be insinuating that he’s being personally targeted by match officials. Apparently, the insinuation is also that match officials should surrender the risky regular real-time decision calling in recognition of Mr. Akbay’s ‘efforts’.

In what ways has Highlanders not won, or lost, like any other team this season? Or is he insinuating that he’s being racially targeted by officials? In what ways was it appropriate to personalize the matter when the whole stadium was scurrying for safety?

What about the pitch invasions Mr. Akbay? What about the flying stones; the flying metal objects? What about the tear gas, and the sore eyes of the hundreds of long travelling fans who pay gate fees to watch Highlanders’ dismaying matches which never end?

Bulls**t, says Mr Akbay. Can anyone get the better of their emotions?

Can the Highlanders high command really ever give guidance to their fans? No!

The Highlanders’ high office is entrenched in these defensive modes every time. They will either disown their violent gate paying fans as ‘not the real Highlanders supporters’, or they will say there is a smear agenda against the legendary institution.

No one in this harsh economic climate pays huge fees every game to enter the stadium if they are not real supporters. Highlanders’ bosses will always want to disown the only supporter who still sees a reason to enter the stadium. They should begin to own up.

The official thinking at Highlanders must change. Last time against Dynamos at Barboufields, they caused mayhem and they went on to disown the fans. What disdain! Why would you think these are not the real fans when they are the only ones willing to sacrifice the only dollar they have to come and, well, watch Roderick Mutuma missing an empty net?

Highlanders are no longer on the high land, neither are they still landing high. In fact, they are now landing very low. The only thing they are now landing high are fines. Hefty PSL fines.

Those ones who wear yellow shirts and black shorts, or sometimes maroon shirts and black shorts, are the referees. Those who yell at them are people from different spheres including saloons, barbershops, airtime vendors and kombi drivers. Their duty is to drive the metal object in their hands. They know nothing but to drive vehicles out of parking ranks. But to steer a football match to completion needs full reasoning.

They cannot be awarded handshakes for stopping a football match. They cannot be sensible because they caused havoc at a football match.

They are not here to be season ticket holders but to be nobodies.


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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the agency of Soccer24.



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