Ball boys kill soccer's entertainment value

HARARE – Ball boys in the Premier Soccer League (PSL) have completely abandoned their duty and have now become a complete nuisance during matches, killing the entertainment value of the sport in the process.

Instead of quickly returning match balls onto the pitch for a swift resumption of action, these kids now take their sweet time thereby eating away precious seconds and even minutes from the clock.

To be fair to these kids, it’s not their fault at all. Home team coaches and officials are the ones who instruct ball boys to delay especially when their teams are leading.

Ever since they got promoted into the top-flight league last year, Yadah FC ball boys have become legendary in their delaying tactics.

It came as no surprise earlier this season when Yadah fans were mercilessly beaten up by Highlanders fans at the National Sports Stadium after they refused to return the match ball onto the pitch.

At that point in time, all the Yadah ball boys had disappeared from the vicinity as the home side hoped to secure a 0-0 draw.

I am not condoning violence at all but the Bosso fans’ reaction can be perfectly understood considering the actions of Yadah ball boys and fans.

It is not Yadah alone who are guilty of this practice of using ball boys to delay the progress of the match.

Last Saturday, referee Ruzive Ruzive ended up dismissing all the Herentals ball boys in the second half of their match against Ngezi Platinum Stars at the National Sports Stadium.

With the home side leading 1-0, the ball boys were a total disgrace as they kicked the ball away every time the Ngezi players tried to retrieve lost possession.

On Sunday, it was the same scenario at Rufaro Stadium during the encounter between Dynamos and Chicken Inn.

The Glamour Boys were leading 1-0 in the second half and it seemed that the home team’s ball boys were struck with paralysis.

What made it worse is the fact that even the Dynamos bench was taking part in this senseless delaying tactic and encouraging their ball boys to frustrate Chicken Inn players.

At one point, referee Norman Matemera came over to the DeMbare bench and ordered the home side to stop the unsportsmanlike behaviour.

Football can be a just sport at times. Despite all their attempts to delay play, DeMbare could not hold onto the lead as Chicken Inn equalised on the stroke of full time.

Of course, teams are under pressure to get results but they must not stoop low and corrupt young children in their bid to get three points.

What are we teaching our children then if we are encouraging them that dirty tactics like delaying play are good for our sport?

The PSL should look into this subject of ball boys carefully and perhaps come up with a code of conduct which all clubs should abide by.

It is the PSL’s brand which is being soiled by this shameless act and if they don’t act accordingly, the league will be reduced into a circus.

Below is the Fifa Fair Play Credo; perhaps our local clubs should be inculcated on what it stands for and what it means.     

“Winning is without value if victory has been achieved unfairly or dishonestly.

“Cheating is easy, but brings no pleasure. Playing fair requires courage and character. It is also more satisfying. Fair Play always has its reward, even when the game is lost. Playing fair earns you respect, while cheats are detested. Remember: It’s only a game. And games are pointless unless played fairly”.

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.