Southern Eye Whitewash, Justify Hooliganism

Following the violence-marred weekend football match between hosts Highlanders and Caps United, I made sure to read match reports from the Bulawayo papers.

I only cruised past the Chronicle, because their so-called reporter, Ricky “Traitor” Zillo, has demonstrated in the past that he has blinkers on when it comes to his beloved Bosso, and there is no hope of professionalism from that corner.

For this critique, my example will be a title from which I expected just a tiny bit of professional journalism. Southern Eye, how you have failed us. SAKHELENI NXUMALO is not a sports correspondent, it’s a Highlanders shill masquerading as a journalist.

Reading the match report, there was no mention of crowd violence at all. No, wait, I am mistaken, there was a mealy-mouthed attempt to barely mention an allegation of trouble. But not as fact, or that the reporter witnessed the violence, but in the context of allegations by Caps players.

The Caps players felt harddone by referee Philani Ncube’s decision to let Tarumbwa’s effort stand as they felt the striker had scored while their keeper was under attack from missiles thrown from the Soweto end.

(Some could argue that this is a mention of the violence, which, even if it was, would not be nearly enough to describe the chaotic scenes at the ground).

That is all. From the violence that rocked Barbourfields, scenes which saw at least one Caps fan hospitalised.

This morning, I spotted another headline – “Gumede warns Bosso fans.” I was intrigued. Having read the match report on the very same Southern Eye, with no reports on violence from Bosso fans, why would the Highlanders CEO be warning Bosso fans?

Let’s see what SAKHELENI NXUMALO had to say on the matter.

Gumede was commenting on the crowd trouble that rocked Barbourfields Stadium on Sunday during the Bob 91 Super Cup semi-final clash against Caps United …

Wait – so crowd trouble rocked the stadium? You did not mention this in your match report. Were you trying to hide it from us? Because your entire match report did not tell us of this crowd trouble, comrade.

So now that their intrepid Sports Correspondent had deigned to inform us of said violence, it was now Southern Eye’s time to … justify said violence.

Former Dynamos forward Mutuma constantly needled Highlanders fans during Sunday’s match and his celebratory run towards the Soweto stand proved to be the last straw for the home team’s fans and they responded by raining missiles onto the pitch.

It proved to be the last straw. They responded by raining missiles onto the pitch. Do you recognise that tone? That is the voice of a defence attorney explaining why his client committed a crime.

Delaying antics as Caps United sought to wind down the clock were responsible for sporadic incidents of missile throwing … 

Let me stop you there, “journalist”. Caps United players were not responsible for missile throwing. They did not throw any missiles. Do you know who is responsible for missile throwing? MISSILE THROWERS!

And now the clincher … point the finger of guilt at the opposition.

Caps fans were guilty of missile throwing as they pelted Highlanders goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda with all sorts of objects when play was about to resume after the visiting team’s players had resolved to continue with the game.

Oh well, that’s it then. Highlanders fans were not responsible for “responding” to provocation. Caps fans were, of course, “guilty of missile throwing.”

It is perfectly fine to defend your favourite football team. I suppose it is even okay to try and hide, whitewash, justify and excuse football hooliganism when committed by your fellow supporters.

What is not okay is doing this in an actual newspaper. This kind of thing is for us worthless bloggers who know nothing about balance and professionalism and ethics.

This kind of thing does not belong in a title purporting to be an independent newspaper. Where are the editorial staff? Or is this kind of petty partisanship actually editorial policy?

Southern Eye should be ashamed, for very simple reasons. The initial match report should not have gone past editorial without clearly mentioning the actual events that transpired. That in itself was criminal.

Then this piece of trash, trying to justify and excuse hooliganism, should have been rubbished immediately. There is no justification for football violence. There is no excuse for missile throwing.

There are no circumstances under which a newspaper article can accuse football players of inciting violence (by simply playing football) and NOT condemn actual football hooligans who engage in violence.

There is no excuse for this kind of writing, unless Southern Eye editors are blatantly telling us they are Highlanders fans first, and journalists second.

This is pathetic.

Image from New Zimbabwe
ZIFA are waffling the usual nonsense

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