Crowd trouble: Should we bring back bouncers?

14 Apr, 2024 - 00:04 0 Views
Crowd trouble: Should we bring back bouncers?

The Sunday Mail

Some soccer fans were more than convinced that the late Premier Soccer League referee, Tichaona “Giant” Chapfika, was a Dynamos supporter, much in the same way that retired English Premier League referee Howard Webb was linked to Manchester United.

A story is often told, maybe it is just bar talk, of one of the matches featuring Dynamos, where Chapfika was incidentally the man in the middle.

The ball went out of play and the rival players, unsure who had the last touch, began wrestling for the right to take the throw-in.

In the ensuing melee, the Dynamos player reportedly sought the intervention of the referee, to which Chapfika unwittingly and, as was his habit, boisterously responded: “Nderedu! (It’s ours!)”

Whether this account was true or not, it was, however, always referenced as anecdotal evidence that showed that Chapfika was DeMbare’s closet supporter.

It was a tag that unfortunately haunted him until his death on February 12, 2015.

But Chapfika was seemingly rivalled by Ruzive Ruzive, who is also accused of being a blue-blooded, dyed-in-the-wool Dynamos supporter.

On May 21, 2014, he touched off a storm when he awarded the Harare giants a penalty against FC Platinum in a largely drab encounter at the National Sports                                                     Stadium.

The spot-kick was awarded after Simba Sithole went down in the penalty area and was adjudged to have been upended by the opposing side’s defender, Gift Bello, who was ironically a former Dynamos player.

The decision made all the difference in the match, as the Harare side emerged victorious.

Later that year, Ruzive was to be suspended for that controversial decision.

But the controversial decisions aside, there were, however, always lingering questions why these referees seemed to be invariably given assignments of teams they allegedly favoured, just in the same way Webb was always in the thick of it in matches involving the Red Devils, Manchester United.

You will not get convincing answers for such searching questions.

Some claim these were outstanding referees who had the temperament and nerve to handle such high-pressure blockbuster encounters, where controversies were to be expected as the losing sides would conveniently use the referee as the                                                          scapegoat.

Using this logic, this explains why Ruzive was ultimately promoted to vice chairperson of the Zimbabwe Referees Committee.

Yet, this seems not to be the case.

In 2015, Ruzive apparently exported his controversial refereeing style to the COSAFA Cup tournament in Rustenburg, South Africa, where he was sent packing early after making two glaring mistakes in a Group B decider between Madagascar and Swaziland, which made it possible for the former to qualify for the quarter-final of the tournament.

Although the country has produced brilliant referees such as Felix Tangawarima, who is now the Confederation of African Football senior referees’ instructor, the quality of officiating has progressively deteriorated and is now abysmal.

It was bad that our national football team, the Warriors, was not at the recent African Cup of Nations, but it is equally troubling, and also telling, that we could not send even a single person to officiate at the continental soccer festival.

And it is not hard to know why.

A fortnight ago, a controversial decision that went against CAPS, which was trailing FC Platinum 0-1 at the time, led the Green Machine supporters to invade the pitch ostensibly to mete out instant justice on the match officials — Gweru-based referee Lloyd Mapanje and his assistant Mncedisi Maposa.

The officials naturally ran for dear life, with the incensed green army in hot pursuit.

These scenes are reminiscent of similarly ugly episodes at Mandava and Babourfields stadiums last year.

This nonsense just needs to stop.

In stains the local game by putting it into disrepute and short-changes the fans at a time when the local game needs them back in the stadiums.

In other jurisdictions, they have embraced VAR (video assistant referee), despite its other shortcomings, to deal with contentious decisions and key moments in the match, but Bra Shakes does not see this happening in our local league in the near future.

If you saw that wretched scoreboard at the recent match between Yadah and Simba Bhora, you will know that there is surely no hope for us.

Maybe we need to bring back those heavily built bouncers for crowd control.

The challenge there will be to reorient them not to rely more on their muscle (most often to harass scrawny men like Bra Shakes) than their brain.

And again, the challenge with the referees will continue.

Either way, we need to deal with this cancer before it metastasises.

Until next time.

Peace!

Yours Sincerely,

Bra Shakes.

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