For a moment, it appeared as though yesterday’s ‘Battle of Zimbabwe’ was going to be one with a difference.
Any match pitting Highlanders and Dynamos, be it a league or cup game, has over the years been characterised by off field drama, particularly crowd trouble.
In fact, veteran journalist Nqaba Matshazi, in a masterpiece trying to master peace, once equated the clash to Adrian Raine’s book ‘The Anatomy of Violence.’
The well-written article summarised the biggest problem the clash has- tribal conflicts manifesting in a football match.
But as the nation united yesterday in celebration of Zimbabwe’s 42 years of independence, the atmosphere in Bulawayo was different.
There were beautiful scenes as Bosso and DeMbare fans united ahead of the clash. It appeared as though the occasion had finally been delivered from demons which tormented it for years.
They (the fans) sang, danced, laughed, and even posed for pictures together. The local football fraternity embraced the spirit.
Football was going to be the winner, it appeared.
But barely 30 minutes in the tense contest, played in front of a capacity crowd at Babourfields Stadium, default settings were restored.
Referee Ronald Ncube awarded Bosso a free kick on the edge of the DeMbare box, one which irked Tonderai Ndiraya’s charges.
Their fans, housed at the Mpilo End, responded by throwing missiles onto the pitch.
Tempers flared on many occasions during the match.
When Stanley Ngala thrust Bosso ahead with a well-taken strike in the 54th minute, the situation got worse.
He did the trademark ‘Zorai Butter’ celebration which irked DeMbare fans, who responded by throwing water bottles onto the pitch, forcing a 5-minute stoppage.
In this day and age, fans still throw missiles onto the pitch.
Andrew Mbeba hit Emmanuel Paga with an elbow in an off the ball incident.
He got away with it, and despite the video of the incident circulating on social media, nothing has been done about it.
Its like we are telling the world that a player can be that shameless and stoop so low, and still get away with it.
Shadreck Nyahwa might be a gifted midfielder but Dynamos need to find a way for him not let his emotions get the better of him.
On many occasions he confronted Bosso players over incidents he was not even involved in.
The former Bulawayo Chiefs man exhibited karate skills which were worth even a police report, on Washington Navaya.
How a player can opt to use his boot instead of his head in such a position is mind-boggling to say the least.
Though it was a successful event, the Uhuru Cup final was a bad advert for the local game.
Picture Credit: Libertino