By Jafferson Ndhlovu,
Harare giants Dynamos FC hosted bitter rivals Bulawayo giants Highlanders at THE HOME of HARARE football, Rufaro Stadium this past Sunday in a match that has for years been dubbed as the Battle of the cities. But that tug of war threatens to break and throw the league into turmoil.
It is a battle that has been fought bitterly between the two sides for years. And fond memories to many fans in the Zimbabwe football fraternity has been etched. But lately this particular match has slowly been overshadowed by a host of disappointing happening away from the actual matches, abandonment, reported poor match officiating, crowd trouble etc.
The Bulawayo dose of this match was abandoned and the ensuing boardroom decision saw Dynamos awarded three points and a three nil scoreline. It never went down well with the Bulawayo giants.
This past Sunday an incident involving Dynamos inform striker and Cameroonian import Christian Epoupa Etouba and a Highlanders defender in Peter Muduwa led to the former being red carded. Epoupa was given matching orders in 87th minute by referee Arnold Dube of Masvingo.
Epoupa who is the top scorer currently on 12 goals, had scored in the first minute of kick off but Highlander cancelled that out through B Phiri in the 60th minute. A well marshaled Epoupa had been frustrated the greater part of the game by Maduwa. This somewhat led to his violent reaction in headbutting his nemesis on the afternoon.
In a communique released Monday aftertoon Zimbabwe Football Association through its referees body and chaired by the association President Dr. Philip Chiyangwa, Epoupa’s red card has been rescinded and he is a free man and going to play the second instalment of Harare Derby this coming Sunday against Caps United FC. And referee Dube will be sanctioned for failure to control the match. Details though are still sketchy as what led to the cancellation of the referee’s decision on Epoupa whose actions are pure and clear and deservedly so, as he headbutted Muduwa.
Its this decision that is hotting up in Zimbabwe. Reports are saying three Premiership teams didnt take this decision lightly and as such are on the verge of withdrawing their membership from Premier Soccer League. A decision that could throw the league into a chaotic scenario. It’s not confirmed yet but it would appear this decision has been cooking for a while now and the Monday announcement has catalysed the action of Bulawayo based teams.
The source has indicated that it’s not only the three Bulawayo teams who intended to pull out. Some Harare based sides have too indicated their displeasure. And could join the Bulawayo sides in solidarity.