…As fans attack Midway goal minder
Chaos rocked Eastern Region Division 1 soccer encounter at Mucheke stadium in Masvingo when rowdy Wangu Mazodze FC supporters invaded the pitch and attacked visiting Midway goal keeper Paul Kamunhukamwe following his disrespect for the referee by manhandling him.
All hell broke loose when the home side scored the second goal albeit a foul on Kamunhukamwe and the referee pointed to the centre allowing the goal to stand which did not go well with Midway players and technical team leading to more than 25 minutes of stoppage as they protest before the resumption of the game.
Wangu Mazodze security detail identified as Bruce unlocked the gate leading into the stadium allowing fans to invade the pitch and attack Kamunhukamwe for shoving the referee. The three police details at the stadium had torrid time trying to contain a sizable crowd who were baying for the goalkeeper’s blood, had to get an additional two police officers to improve the security and the home side’s players had to intervene trying to clear the pitch.
Unfortunately one of Mazodze’s technical staff who was playing last year was at the fore front leading the onslaught against Kamunhukamwe.
After the melee, Midway players refused to restart the game and remained by the touchline while their technical staff had a lengthy meeting with the referee and Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) official as well as the police.
Zifa member Nobioth Magwizi also had to attend to the problem before resumption of play.
Mazodze topping the chats with four wins and a draw from five outing (prior to the game against Midway) took an early lead in the third minute through Hillary Bakacheza who made no mistake from the penalty spot after the visitors’ defender handled in the 18 yard box.
Midway remained calm and their efforts were rewarded when Never Mudhadha responded from a cross from the right flank and placed his well-guided header beyond the reach of Mazodze goal keeper and skipper.
Mazodze however continued pressing leading to the much-contested goal from their opponents who felt the referee had robbed them of a point by failing to protect the goalkeeper who was pushed and only managed to parry away the effort late after the ball had crossed the line.
Kanhukamwe then charged towards the referee in a sign of disrespect and even manhandled the referee before the home supporters invaded the pitch to mete instant justice. After a lengthy break, the referee gave Kanhukamwe his marching orders before play resumed and the home team managed to hang on to the 2-1 lead bagging three points in the process.
Mazodze had themselves to blame for failing to kill the game earlier with goal scorer Bakacheza missing some clear cut opportunities alongside Edward Maffa. Later on a limping Maffa was substituted for Ronald Makiwa who took on from where his predecessor left squandering some few opportunities that came his way as Mazodze enjoyed a one man advantage over their opponents who were now composed and hard to break with their hard working skipper Tymon Machope proving a thorn in the flesh for Mazodze.
The visitors also had to change from their warm up kits to game gear in the stadium and not the changing room, a culture that seems to be slowly manifesting itself at the ground.
After the game, Mazodze fans continued calling for the Midway goalkeeper and their Kombi had to get into the stadium to ferry the players in safety as home supporters waited in anticipation to attack the goal keeper.
The region has so far been marred by allegations of poor officiating where in some cases referees have been accused of bias towards certain teams and Mazodze versus Mutare City Rovers at Mucheke stadium three weeks ago is another game that comes to mind.