Mayhem at NSS. . . Ref injured by missile from frustrated fans
Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter
REFEREE Jimmy Makwanda left the pitch with a heavily bandaged head yesterday after a section of incensed CAPS United fans ran amok at the end of their drawn game against Simba Bhora, unhappy with the way the match officials conducted themselves at the National Sports Stadium.
Makwanda was hit by a missile as he headed towards the exit point. He was shielded by police and Green Machine marshals, after some rowdy fans had invaded the pitch in protest.
The referee had a particularly disappointing day in the office after dishing out probably his worst performance, which probably invoked the ire of the home fans.
At the end of it all, the goals by William Manondo for CAPS United and the 90th minute equaliser by Simba Bhora skipper Tinashe Balakasi were quickly forgotten. Makwanda had to literally run for dear life, and then disappeared into the dressing rooms using an alternative exit.
Although CAPS United coach Lloyd Chitembwe was not amused by the refereeing of the day, he was also not happy with the fans’ reaction. Chtembwe described Makwanda’s performance as comical.
“All I can say is, it was a comedy. It was comedy, I think that’s the best way to describe the situation. If it was a movie it would qualify to be a comic series.
“There were a lot of things that were not football-like. I am very disappointed from that viewpoint because what players, coaches and supporters want to see is football and unfortunately it wasn’t the case,” said Chitembwe.
“We also do not condone a situation where fans would invade the pitch. It compromises the security of the players and officials. I think today’s events were very anti-football and very disappointing.
“But this has been the phenomenon in our football in recent days and it’s quite disappointing. But I thought we had done enough to win the game.
“I’m sure the commitment of the team was evident; the planning and execution was perfect and it’s just unfortunate. But these are also lessons to take. Even in life, these kinds of situations will teach you a lot.
“Sometimes success in life invites hatred and animosity but it’s good for us to be able to manage such a situation and move forward,” said Chitembwe.
Manondo put CAPS United ahead after just nine minutes. Winger Ian Nyoni beat his markers on the right flank before sending in a low cross that was connected first time by last season’s Golden Boot winner on the edge of the 6-yard box.
But Simba fought back immediately and could have found their equaliser had they been more clinical in front of goal. Green Machine goalkeeper Tonderai Mateyaunga used his feet to block a shot from Balakasi at the quarter hour mark.
The Shamva side then won a freekick at the edge of the penalty box, midway through the first half, and Webster Tafa’s header just missed the target, with Makepekepe defenders flat-footed.
CAPS United looked unsettled for a moment and they conceded another freekick just outside the box but goalkeeper Mateyaunga did well to stop a dangerous low shot from Albert Manenji.
Simba Bhora saw most of the chances and Balakasi crashed his shot against the crossbar with a shot on the run at the half hour mark.
They had a huge penalty appeal turned down after the ball hit Devon Chafa’as arm from across by Partson Jaure into the box.
Meanwhile, the referee made a series of contested calls, some of them glaring, and slowly lost control of the game. Simba Bhora vice-captain Partson Jaure escaped with no caution following a high boot on Innocent Zambezi, as the players took affairs into their own hands, making the game nearly unmanageable.
The moment which pushed Makepekepe fans over the edge came in the 90th minute when the Simba Bhora players suddenly started play without notice after a CAPS United player had been injured and attended to inside their own territory.
Simba Bhora took a quick throw in their own half and before the Green Machine players could re-organise themselves Hughe Chikosa sent in a cross that was planted by Balakasi into the Green Machine nets, to level matters, and denying Makepekepe maximum points which they thought they deserved after a big shift.
As soon as the referee Makwanda blew to end the match, chaos ensued as dejected fans jumped into the stadium and charged towards the match officials.
However, police and CAPS United marshals ensured their overall safety, as one missile caught Makwanda on the head and left him bleeding. Despite the mayhem, Simba Bhora coach Tonderai Ndiraya was delighted with the point.
“We showed some character until we got that equaliser but I’m not impressed with the way we defended. But above all I thought it was a good show of football, in the end we had to snatch that point but CAPS United were good, especially on counter attacks but we were a bit solid at the back,” said Ndiraya.
CAPS United: T. Mateyaunga, H. Chapusha, K. Madzongwe, G. Murwira, T. Daka, J. Ngodzo (B. Sarupinda, 67th minute), D. Chafa (I. Zambezi, 54th minute), P. Bamusi, I. Nyoni, R. Chinyengetere (C. Rupiya, 50th minute), W. Manondo (B. Musaka, 67th minute)
Simba Bhora: S. Chinani, B. Moyo (R. Chitiyo, 65th minute), V. Musarurwa, W. Tafa, P. Jaure, A. Manenji (A. Mandinyenya, 65th minute), T. Chipunza, K. Murera (H. Chikosa, 80th minute), V. Kawe, I. Nyanhi, T. Balakasi.