The Premier Soccer League faces a complex situation after CAPS United wrote a letter of complaint to the authorities challenging the decision by referee Philani Ncube to abandon their ill-fated Chibuku Super Cup quarter-final tie against Shabanie Mine at Maglas. The Green Machine feel Ncube's decision was a wrong one after one of his assistants Thomas Kusosa was injured by a missile from the terraces.
Shabanie were leading 1-0 when the match was stopped after 65 minutes. The match was abandoned when one of the missiles thrown from the bay housing the Green Machine fans struck Kusosa in protest against the decision to overrule Kudzai Nyamupfukudza's strike for offside. However, Makepekepe say their club officials acted swiftly to bring the situation under control and had hoped the match would continue to complete the remaining 25 minutes.
In their protest letter, the Harare giants also raised concerns over the inadequate security at the stadium, the choice of venue and the appointment of Kusosa for this crucial match with the knowledge that he has been mired in controversies of late. The club's chief executive Cuthbert Chitima confirmed they had written to the authorities on Monday challenging the "premature" decision to call off the match and were awaiting a response.
"As we have said before, we are totally against any form of violence or hooliganism, whether it is perpetrated by CAPS United or any other team's supporters. So we have written to the PSL on the events that took place in Zvishavane on Sunday and we have expressed our concern over the manner in which the match was brought to a premature end. The CAPS United family acknowledges that the behaviour demonstrated by some of the supporters was bad and, to show that we totally disproved of such actions, club officials including coach Lloyd Chitembwe went and calmed them down and within five minutes all was well again.
"Everything that happened didn't last long and I must say we have seen such unfortunate things happening and matches still getting completed after the situation is brought under control. In our case, it was for five or so minutes and the situation was contained. But we were surprised the referees didn't come back when they retreated to their changing rooms. Normally, the referees come back to assess the situation after things have normalised with the escort of the police. If the situation does not allow play to continue, then they are escorted out by the police.
"But this didn't happen. In five minutes they had made a decision that the game had to be abandoned and we wonder if it was something that was already planned or not. If the assistant referee was so traumatised that he couldn't continue, we understand the fourth official can still step in and the match is completed. And, in the case that we hear that they feared for their security after that incident, I am sure it was the responsibility of the organisers to liaise with the police to see if reinforcements were needed because there were few police details," said Chitima.
Makepekepe will play their next league game against Triangle at home and they have taken the anti-hooliganism campaign into overdrive. The club has adopted a theme "Let's Stop Hooliganism Now and Forever" ahead of the next match. The Green Machine board was scheduled to meet today to get an appraisal from their supporters' representatives concerning the investigations into last Sunday's incident.
The club's board member responsible for supporters Abraham Kawadza said perpetrators will be severely punished. "As supporters, we have our code of conduct and I promise we will be ruthless with anyone found guilty of misconduct at football matches because such unfortunate things can have far reaching effects that could be detrimental to the game. "We need sponsors in football and it's our duty as supporters to provide the good advertisement," he said.