PICTURES: Benjani Mwaruwari enters Barbourfields the unusual way
In a rather surprising development, former Zimbabwe National men’s football team captain Benjani Mwaruwari was one of the people who scaled barriers to gain entry into Barbourfields Stadium on Saturday.
The venue was packed for the CAF champions league clash between Zimbabwe champions FC Platinum and South African crack side Orlando Pirates, and Mwaruwari may have feared that he was going to miss out on the match.
Reactions to this have been different with some claiming that a person of his profile should not do such things.
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Many think Benjani can be forgivenr as matches of that magnitude are rare in Bulawayo which is often starved of national team matches by successive ZIFA administrations.
Fans did not disappoint as they thronged BF, making it the largest crowd in living memory akin to numbers that Highlanders used to attract at the turn of the millennium when they went on a four year streak of winning the league championship.
Fans began arriving at the stadium as early as 11am as they were eager to watch their favourite team and it was not long before Barbourfields proved too small a venue for the match.
Long winding queues started forming at around midday and one hour 20 minutes before kick off the stadium was full, but more people were still making their way into the venue.
When the match started people were still streaming into the stadium and a sea of black and white was formed at the iconic Soweto stand and eMpankweni that was packed with Pirates supporters, most wearing Highlanders’ famous black and white stripe as they took advantage of the similarity of the two clubs’ colours.
The Mpilo End was turned blue and green as FC Platinum fans teamed up with a host of Dynamos fans to back the home team. There was no room left to move in the stands as it was packed to the rafters with some fans being forced to watch the match standing next to the perimeter fence.
Zifa officials revealed the 23 000 tickets they printed for the match ran out with only a handful of VVIP tickets said to have been left. At half-time, most entrances had run out of tickets but there were still hundreds of people seeking entry to into the stadium.
Zifa vice-president, Gift Banda, former Warriors captain Benjani Mwaruwari, ex-Bosso striker, Zenzo Moyo and Warriors liaison officer Eddie Chivero and a host of journalists had a tough time getting into the stadium due to the huge crowds that swelled at half time.