By Lovemore Dube
HIGHLANDERS chairman Peter Dube has called on all soccer fans who will attend Sunday’s big match pitting Bosso and Dynamos to make the game more enjoyable by practising self-restraint.
Dubbed the “Battle of Zimbabwe Part One”, the match takes place at Barbourfields Stadium and many believe the clash will have a bearing on the destiny of the Castle Lager Premiership title come end of the season. Highlanders will be out to defend their unbeaten run in the Premiership which has seen them claim nine wins and five draws in 14 matches.
Without the distraction of continental football after having been bundled out of the Caf Confederation Cup after going down 1-0 to Interclube of Angola last weekend, Dynamos resume their chase for local honours. They lie seventh with 23 points, nine adrift of log leaders Highlanders.
Dynamos have three games in hand over their arch rivals, setting the stage for a fierce battle. The match, the only Premiership match slated for this weekend, is expected to bring Bulawayo to a standstill with fans from all corners of the country flocking to Emagumeni.
Dube called for calm from both sets of fans and urged soccer lovers to take the referee’s decision in the true spirit of sportsmanship. He admitted that some calls had of late gone against his team but said that was no passport for fans to behave in a wild manner.
“Fair Play is what we subscribe to as an institution. We call on our supporters to practise self-restraint and not to take matters into their own hands. Admittedly there have been some calls in some of our matches that have gone against us, let us respect the referee’s decision and let the boys do their job on the field,” said Dube.
He praised his charges for good performances in the first round of the league and the unity of purpose in the Highlanders family. He said a win against Dynamos could see them getting closer to their title dream.
“We have come so close . . . we keep on getting closer to the title. Let us not lose it for ourselves off the pitch through hooliganism. The soccer laws are clear about untoward behaviour off the field by fans. May our true Highlanders sons and daughters desist from throwing missiles when calls don’t go our way,” said Dube.
He said hooliganism could only add to the woes of the cash-strapped club as they would remain poorer when fined for such offences.
“We go all out to bring joy to the nation. When Highlanders do well it makes people happy throughout the country and even beyond our borders, so let us play to win, win with grace and be good losers on the field too. I trust people will come in big numbers and once again make soccer the winner and the family event that it has always been by behaving themselves,” said Dube.
He said they were looking at a bumper crowd as the club seeks to return to glory days. Dube said his executive and support organs of the club like marshals would work with security agents to make the atmosphere welcoming even for children and women.
He said being on top of the log was good motivation for the team to go all out and cement the apex position. A Dynamos match, he said, given its historical significance, was a stage for new stars to be born or those already established to cement their positions on the national scene.
“It’s a game that makes or breaks stars . . . we would like to see our boys rising to the occasion. Who knows even agents from South Africa could be at the stadium since this is a transfer-window period. There is no better platform to prove one’s worth than in the biggest match of the land: Highlanders versus Dynamos,” said Dube.
It is one of the biggest matches in Southern Africa probably eclipsed by the Kaizer Chiefs v Orlando Pirates, Kaizer Chiefs v Mamelodi Sundowns, Orlando Pirates versus Mamelodi Sundowns clash.
Dazzy Kapenya, Zenzo Moyo, Madinda Ndlovu, Willard Khumalo, Tito Paketh, Peter Nkomo, Douglas Mloyi and the late Mercedes Sibanda and Amon Chimbalanga are some of the Highlanders stars to emerge heroes after titanic clashes at Barbourfields against Dynamos.
DeMbare have had their fair share of stars putting up magnificent performances at Barbourfields Stadium who include Francis Katsande, Tauya Murewa, Clayton Munemo, Max Makanza-Lunga, Kembo Chunga, Francis Chandida, Kenneth Jere, Jenitala Musareka, Murape Murape and Misheck Chidzambwa.
The Dynamos-Highlanders clash is one match that often defies the form book making the match a must-watch for the fans. Highlanders go into the match chasing three targets, Fair Play champions, three points and the money from what is expected to be a full-to-the-rafters Barbourfields Stadium. The Chronicle