By Collen Nikisi
Football is supposed to showcase the very best of the beautiful game but there is an ugly side to the game.
Eleven games into the 2019 Castle Lager Premier league season and already a couple of coaches have spoken out against dirty tactics such as diving, feigning of injuries, throwing of elbows, kicking, pinching, grabbing, hard tackling and time wasting.
The most vocal and aggrieved coaches are Mark Harrison, Joey Antipas ,Norman Mapeza, Godfree Tamirepi and Taurai Mangwiro. Dirty tactics are not necessarily an exclusive preserve of the local league and the current crop of players but the domestic league has been home to plenty of players and even coaches willing to bend-and sometimes even break the rules to gain the upper hand.
Yesteryear players such as Gift Lunga Jnr , Godfree Dondo, Makay Nyathi ,Abraham Mbambo ,Kaitano Tembo ,James Matola , Gift Muzadzi and Smart Muchabayiwa quickly come to mind
As fans , there are just as many figures who we have grown to despise because of their track-record of cheating, dangerous play, or poor attitude. These are footballers who are well known not necessarily for the good stuff they do but more so for the controversy or negativity they bring the sport, their team or themselves.
They are as infamous as they are famous. These types of players are found in every sport and on every team and are often deemed dirty or undisciplined. Below is a subjective list of players who have earned the “bad boy” tag
Over the years, Caps United winger Phineas Bamusi has developed a reputation for being a fast and effective winger often terrorising defenders. He has also developed a reputation for diving and feigning injury. However, Bhamusi is not alone in the faculty of divers as he is joined by Ronald Chitiyo and burly Allan Tavarwisa of Chapungu who has gone down easily, exaggerate contact and has a strong temper.
Players that I have spoken to testify that Chapungu defenders Blessed Mbavarira and Collen Kwaramba, Triangle defender Arnold Chivheya and Dynamos defender Godie Mukambi are the kind of players you hate playing against but don’t mind too much if he is on your side. These defenders are known for an uncompromising style of tackling (heavy tacklers).
THROWING ELBOWS AND KICKING
Throwing of elbows when going for aerial tussles, kicking, pinching and even grabbing of opponents jerseys Bosso defender Peter Muduhwa tops the list with Godie Mukambi of Dembare.
No teeth, but plenty of bite
Chicken inn midfield anchor Tichaona Chipunza and Ngezi Platinum utility player Xolisani Scara Moyo also makes the list (boys dzamabhutsu). These players are tough and aggressive and will break a leg and arm just to win
The list is made up of goalkeepers and the nominees are from Black Rhinos, Mushowani, Chapungu and Herentals. A number of premiership coaches have voiced their concerns and in some instances match officials have sanctioned them.
However, Chauya Chipembere Ashley “Campos” Reyners comes out tops. He takes the baton from Triangle goalie Ronald Mudimu who had perfected the art of time wasting until Taurai Mangwiro told him to stop or otherwise.The fans have often responded by pelting the players with missiles.
Football is an evolving sport. The ‘beautiful game’ it once was has been succeeded by the modern day game. It doesn’t matter whether you look beautiful on the pitch as long as you win matches you are a respected team.
A lot of teams presently live by the famous motto of modern day footbal:” It doesn’t matter how they (goals) come, as long as they come “
The desperate need for victories has fast-tracked the rise of dirty tactics being employed by teams on a fairly regular basis. It is not restricted to a particular team or a few teams. It is an unsaid understanding around the footballing universe that such tactics are part of the game and are here to stay. It is therefore not surprising to learn of coaches frequently teaching their players some dirty tactics.
Will this end Yes and No but it only takes the referees to consistently apply the rules of the game and weed out some of the dirty and most effective tactics used in the modern games.
Have your say and may the debate continue