Francistown — The Local Organising Committee preparing for the Zebras encounter against Angola has warned supporters against invading the pitch on March 22.
The Zebras take on the Palancas Negras in an encounter which counts for nothing in so far as the TOTAL 2019 CAF Africa Nations Cup qualifiers are concerned at the Francistown Sports Complex.
Speaking at an LOC meeting recently, the ommittee chairperson, Fanyana Fish raised the issue of pitch invasion referencing what they witnessed when supporters invaded the pitch during the Mascom Top 8 final between Jwaneng Galaxy and Gaborone United recently.
Fish called on the Botswana Police Service to increase their presence inside the pitch to ensure invaders were apprehended and dealt with accordingly.
Responding to the chairperson’s security plea, a traffic officer from Botswana Police Service, Robert Mmese said there was need to increase police presence inside the pitch for the encounter.
He said their focus had been securing outside the stadium and controlling traffic flow to the stadium.
However, he explained that after what transpired at the Mascom Top 8 final, they had taken a decision to stop pitch invasions at all costs.
The Confederation of African Football (CAF) stadium safety and security regulations state that supporters of teams that contravene this rule will be charged P50 000 to P100 000 (US$5 000 to US$10 000), or sanctions from the game of football for a period decided by the African football governing body.
There had been incidents in the past where the Zebras fans invaded the pitch.
Local supporters invaded the pitch in a game against Kenya at the National Stadium in 2006 after the local lads beat Kenya 2-1 in a African Cup of Nations qualifier.
Local supporters also invaded the pitch against Burkina Faso in a African Cup of Nations (AFCON) group D qualifier where the Zebras beat the Stallions 1-0. The BFA was later fined P50 000 by CAF.
The first leg between Botswana and Angola saw Botswana losing 0-1 away. The Zebras are last in Group I with a single point.
They salvaged the point during a goalless draw against Burkina Faso in October last year.
The Zebras have lost all their four games during the campaign to Mauritania, Angola and the first leg encounter against the Stallions of Burkina Faso under the guidance of Briton, Peter Butler and Major David Bright respectively.
During the Friday encounter, the Zebras will be led by a new technical team led by coach, Mogomotsi Mpote.
<i>Source : BOPA</i>