The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) deliberately avoided using force to quell crowd trouble during the Highlanders versus Dynamos Premier Soccer League (PSL) match at Barboufields Stadium on Sunday to prevent injuries and possible loss of life.
Some football commentators had queried why there was not a single hooligan who was charged from both sets of Dynamos and Highlanders fans who invaded the pitch, forcing the match commissioner to call off the match in the 90th minute.
Bosso fans invaded the pitch in celebration of their team’s goal while DeMbare fans swarmed the field of play protesting what they considered unfair refereeing.
ZRP spokesperson in Bulawayo Metropolitan Province Inspector Abednico Ncube confirmed to B-Metro that no fans were arrested for the Barbourfields Stadium violence.
A senior police officer who spoke to the publication on condition of anonymity said that the officers on the day acted accordingly by avoiding confrontations with the marauding crowd as this could have resulted in the loss of life. Said the official:
Crowd control doesn’t always mean that the police have to engage in running battles with the people that are causing trouble.
The officers obviously assessed the situation and decided that the use of force was not the best option in the interests of protecting lives and property.
The situation simmered down eventually and no one was injured as far as we know.
In the aftermath of the pitch invasion by fans, the PSL suspended all matches to allow stakeholders time to find lasting solutions to violence and hooliganism in local football.
Both Dynamos and Highlanders, as well as the police, have been asked to submit reports on what transpired on that day.