Highlanders leadership’s decision to dissociate themselves from a clique of shameless individuals, who have been poisoning social media with reckless statements pregnant with a lot of tribal venom, needs to be commended in a big way.
Bosso acting chairman Modern Ngwenya, in a story that we carry in this newspaper, clearly says that those hooligans and tribalists — who have sought to use the club’s proud name for their cheap politics — have no place in this football institution.
Ngwenya says those who have been bombarding social media with toxic messages, insulting the tribal identity of others, in the wake of the mayhem that followed the abandoned league match between Bosso and DeMbare, have no place in his club’s structures.
Others, as they usually do in such unfortunate circumstances, have also sought to advance their narrow political agendas, believing that a window has been opened for them, non-entities, to get relevance, but sadly, they have failed to gain any momentum.
These are the same characters who probably were at Barbourfields on Sunday, disguising themselves as bona-fide Highlanders fans while waiting for any opportunity to project their message of shame and create the chaos they believe would suit their interests.
Some of these people probably didn’t even celebrate, when Highlanders took the lead in that match, because the joy that swept across thousands of genuine Bosso fans when Rahman Kutsanzira fired them into that lead was not part of their devilish agenda in which all they wanted was mayhem.
Because they have failed, now and again, to find the patronage that their meaningless message carries from the majority of the people in that city, they believe they can now use major football gatherings to try and find a way to create the chaos they believe can suit their evil agendas.
That’s why we saw some of them being exposed, through the placards they carried which were published in some of the newspapers, which had political messages — something that had nothing to do with a club like Bosso which is apolitical and is not there to advance the foolish politics of failed parties and doomed politicians who have failed to make a mark in the political arena where true politicians thrive.
We are, therefore, charmed that — unlike in the past when Bosso was under a leadership where the likes of Ndumiso Gumede appeared to be advancing their political causes — the club now has a leadership that understands that this team’s mission is not to be a vehicle to be abused by failed politicians, but to win trophies for its bona-fide supporters who, over the years, have turned it into one of the biggest football institutions on this continent.
Ngwenya and his chief executive Nhlanhla Dube should be commended for the way they tried, in vain, to defeat the motives of those few thugs who caused the abandonment of that match by even facing them and appealing to them to stop their nonsense and let the game proceed.
And, crucially, we also commend the majority of the thousands of Bosso fans who refused to be lured into that conspiracy to turn themselves into agents of violence that afternoon at Babourfields, by those few thugs, and chose to leave the stadium and go home in peace despite the obvious frustration that came with having that game being abandoned.
By taking that frontline role, to try and get the match to proceed and ensure those agents of shame were defeated, Ngwenya and his lieutenants provided great leadership and we appeal to the Premier Soccer League and ZIFA to take that into account, in the disciplinary process that will follow, because — as a club — Bosso tried as much as they could to ensure that game had to be played.
Of course, the football laws say they are ultimately responsible for the behaviour of their fans, but there also should come a time when there is some flexibility in dealing with such issues, especially in an environment where — as was the case with that Bosso leadership — they tried as much as they could to ensure that the evil agenda of those thugs was defeated and the match would proceed as scheduled.
Yes, there is no denying that there is a problem of hooliganism at Barbourfields because we have seen it again and again, especially in matches against Dynamos, and that’s something that Ngwenya and his troops should deal with and, given what we have seen in the way they have handled the crisis triggered by that abandoned match, they have the capacity to tame that madness.
The actions of a few, as was the case at Barbourfields on Sunday, should not be allowed to cause the suffering of many and it’s right that Ngwenya and his leadership team have not gone into hiding, but are tackling those thugs head-on and disowning them because they are putting the good name of Highlanders into disrepute.