THERE was mayhem at the end of the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League match between Highlanders and Chicken Inn at Barbourfields Stadium yesterday when referee Nkosikhona Moyo blew for fulltime just as the Gamecocks scored what could have been the winning goal.
Lewis Kutinyu found himself unmarked inside the box deep into the two minutes of the referee’s optional time and Highlanders players stood akimbo expecting an offside call. First assistant referee Salani Ncube rightfully did not flag an offside, but Moyo blew to end the match when Kutinyu beat Bosso goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda.
Chicken Inn thought he was indicating a goal, but there was dead silence in the stadium when he did not point to the centre circle. As Ncube made his way onto the pitch to join other match officials, Bosso players surrounded him protesting that he should have flagged Kutinyu for offside.
At the same time, Chicken Inn players mobbed the referee protesting the manner in which he had ended the match. Pandemonium then broke out, as missiles were thrown onto the pitch, while officials and players from both teams were involved in some pushing and shoving. Chicken Inn gaffer Rahman Gumbo was fuming, as he felt his charges were robbed of maximum points by the referee.
“If a match official can decide the result like this, then it becomes questionable. To be honest, I think the referee did Highlanders a huge favour; a fourth defeat on the trot would have been embarrassing for them, but they must do their own work and not wait to be assisted,” said Gumbo in a post match interview.
Meanwhile, a policeman was injured during violent skirmishes that broke out at the end of yesterday’s Bulawayo derby involving Highlanders and Chicken Inn at Barbourfields Stadium. The police were forced to temporarily retreat to safety as marauding fans invaded the pitch and attacked them, apparently in anger following the arrest and manhandling of a fan from the Soweto stand by the police.
The hooligan had been arrested for throwing missiles onto the pitch and police set a dog on him while beating him with truncheons at the same time. Some fans tried to rescue him and all hell broke loose.
The officer-in-charge of Bulawayo West District Chief Superintendent Mthokozisi Manzini-Moyo said the injured officer was out of danger and said some arrests had been made. “The officer received a cut on his head and was attended to. No serious injuries were reported despite the skirmishes. We have made some arrests and are still continuing with our investigations,” said Manzini-Moyo