Drama, fracas at Sakubva Stadium
SECOND assistant referee Joel Magweva was assaulted by Bulawayo City player Douglas Sibanda as adrenalin ran high in an event-filled Castle Lager Premiership match against hosts Manica Diamonds which the visitors won by a solitary goal at Sakubva Stadium yesterday.
The chaotic Castle Lager Premiership match will probably compete for the longest ever domestic top flight league encounter award as the referee eventually blew the final whistle after exactly two hours and 28 minutes minutes with the visitors leading by a solitary goal.
A normal football match lasts for 90 minutes and a few minutes added on, if need be, but this drama-filled match had an initial 26 minutes stoppage after the collapse of a crossbar.
Play had to be stopped in the 51st minutes for 26 minutes after the crossbar collapsed when Bulawayo City goalkeeper Reward Muza swung on it.
The worst was yet to come!
With a minute remaining, the match had to be stopped for more than 20 minutes again as Bulawayo City players and officials protested against the referees’ decision to award the home team a penalty in the last minute of the encounter.
All hell broke loose as the Bulawayo City players and officials mobbed second assistant referee Magweva who had raised his flag for a penalty ostensibly after a defender had handled the ball in a goalmouth melee.
For that call, Magweva received a few punches from substitute Sibanda before the match official fleed from the marauding Sibanda, teammates and officials.
Moments later, referee Arnold Ncube, who had also blown the whistle to effect his second assistant referee’s decision, gave in to pressure from the visitors and appeared to rescind the decision to award a last minute penalty.
Chaos then reigned on the pitch as fans invaded the pitch in anger.
Such is our primitive way of doing things that the hostile atmosphere that prevailed at Sakubva Stadium could not afford media access to post match interviews as coaches and players from both teams left the pitch in a huff after Ncube blew the final whistle.
Dalubuhle Dlodlo scored for the visitors.