Ray Bande and Liberty Dube
MUTARE City Rovers might have gained promotion into the top flight Castle Premier Soccer League on merit in the field of play but the municipality-run outfit still has a lot to learn in event management during their home matches.
In fact, chaos now seems to be part of Mutare City Rovers DNA after fans were left to fight running battles with overzealous club security officials just to gain entrance into Sakubva stadium yesterday to watch the dull Castle Lager Premiership encounter that ended with Chicken Inn winning 3-1.
Mutare City Rovers were recently fined $2 000 by the Premier Soccer League for their fansâ€™ unsporting behaviour.
Although veteran gaffer Rahman Gumbo got off to a flying start as he led the Castle Lager Premiership champions to an impressive away triumph, Sundayâ€™s match pitting City Rovers and Chicken Inn will be remembered more because of the chaos that reigned at the turnstiles than what transpired on the field of play.
Personnel manning the only entrance points were overwhelmed by the sizable crowd that braved the chilly weather to watch this match and chaos reigned as fans stampede to gain entrance just before the match.
While some were injured in the melee, Daily News journalist Bernard Chiketo counts himself lucky not to have sustained injuries after a vicious dog that was set on him by one of the security officials almost left his trousers in tatters.
As if that was enough, several journalists were locked outside the perimeter fence and were denied the chance to have post match interviews with coaches and players as overzealous club security officials employed the law of the jungle.
When contacted for comment, club spokesperson, Clayton â€œBaggioâ€ Masekesa, assured football lovers and City Rovers club fans that the teamâ€™s chaotic and unprofessional tendencies would be a thing of the past.
â€œOn a positive note, we have taken note of the inconveniences at the gates during our home matches, we have since rectified the situation and we would like to assure you that from the next home game against Bulawayo City on Sunday and onwards, there would be a smooth flow at the entrance.
â€œWe have already put measures that will make easy entrance at all our entry points. We would like to apologies to our valued fans on this inconvenience and as a club we sincerely regret this,â€ he said in a statement.
Disgruntled fans who faced difficulties to gain entrance into the stadium vented their anger through social media platforms, blasting the executive for being unprofessional.
Said one fan, Patrick Khan: â€œI am very disappointed on how the gates are been handled got to the stadium at 14.15 got into the stadium at 15.20 confusion very disturbing I must say.â€
Interestingly, close to twenty cars were seen parked and packed just outside the pitch, a development which was described by Mutare Fire Services as risky in case if an emergency erupts.
â€œI am sure there is a stipulated number of cars that can be allowed to be parked just outside the pitch. It is not recommended for the cars to park near such areas in case of fires. It will make our job quite difficult to implement,â€ said the official who could not be named citing protocol.
It is now a norm to have many vehicles within Sakubva stadium when Mutare City Rovers are playing at home yet according to standing resolutions Governing football internationally which Zifa are a signatory to, only a maximum of 10 club officialsâ€™ vehicles are allowed in a stadium and only two buses for the two teamâ€™s players as well as an ambulance are allowed through the tunnel.