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Highlanders Fans Raise $500 for Club Facing Stiff Penalty Over Abandoned Match

FILE: Highlanders acting chairman Modern Ngwenya pleads with second assistant referee Thomas Kusosa to return to the touchline after the match official was pelted with missiles.

Highlanders Football Club supporters in Zimbabwe and outside the country have raised $500 in an attempt to help the club in paying an anticipated hefty fine following a protest by fans at Barbourfields Stadium last Sunday, which led to the abandonment of an encounter with bitter rivals, Dynamos.

Club chief executive, Nhlanhla Dube, said the money was handed over to the club Thursday morning following a fundraising campaign launched soon after the abandonment of the match.

“We received the money today from various nations including our fans in Rwanda and Somalia. We have a large number of supporters in several nations,” said Dube.

He noted that their acceptance of the money does not mean that they condone soccer violence.

Dube also dissociated his club from the hashtag #asifunibumbulu (we don’t want nonsense) currently spreading like wildfire on social media platforms.

The match was stopped in the 40th minute when Dynamos striker, Christian Epoupa, scored from what looked like an offside position. Highlanders supporters attacked assistant referee, Thomas Kusosa, for allowing the goal. Missiles rained on the field of play, resulting in the abandonment of the game.

The Premier Soccer League (PSL) claims that Highlanders breached some soccer rules and regulations.

In a letter to the club, the PSL said, “In terms of order 31 of the Castle Lager Premier League Rules and Regulations, it is an Act of Misconduct on the part of the club where … its supporters misbehave in any manner whatsoever, inside and outside a ground before, during or after a match, no matter on which ground the match is played ...”

The soccer body noted that some acts of misbehavior included the “invasion or attempted invasion of the field of play, save for the reasons of crowd safety … Causing abandonment or attempting to cause the abandonment of a match.

"… Throwing or attempting to throw missiles, bottled and other objects, whether potentially harmful or dangerous or not, onto the pitch or any person.”

It said the supporters’ behavior amounted to “acts of violence or attempted acts of violence …”

The PSL Disciplinary Committee is expected to make a ruling on the matter soon after the hearing on May 23, 2017.

In other soccer news, ZPC Kariba beat PSL champions Caps United 2-1 in a league match played Thursday at Nyamhunga Stadium.

Caps United’s defeat comes a few days after the Zimbabwean champions fell 2-0 to Zamalek of Egypt in the first leg of their CAF champions league encounter.