Zimbabwe: chaos seizes the French League of Tino
Senior Sports Writer
The arrival of LIONEL MESSI provided a ray of light but the chaos in Lyon, and the violent attack from the Marseille players, brought the top French league back to familiar wilderness.
The Argentine captain has arrived in the world spotlight, in the midst of expectations, his great presence will strengthen the image and attractiveness of the league, considered to be the lightweights of the European Big Five.
Messi is expected to make his debut for PSG in their league game against Marshall Munetsi’s Stade Reims this weekend.
But, attention has shifted from the Argentinian superstar, as the French Ligue 1, not for the first time, faces the demons, which have stalked her for years.
Sunday, several Marseille players were injured, after the explosion of a nasty altercation, during their championship match against Nice at the Allianz Riviera, Sunday evening.
The trouble started when French international midfielder Dimitri Payet was hit by a plastic bottle towards the end of the game.
And, when he sent him back into the crowd, some home team supporters burst onto the pitch causing a scuffle, which forced the match to be abandoned.
Yesterday, the Nice prosecutor’s office told the AFP press agency that an investigation had been opened into the incident on Sunday evening, during which several Marseille players were injured.
It concluded a dramatic weekend, for Ligue 1, which started with some Lyon Ultras, known as “Bad Gones”, marching to their club complex on Friday. They left a banner in which they threatened their players to “move or break”. Zimbabwe international striker Tino Kadewere is on the books for Lyon, which is having a tough start to the season, under new Dutch coach Peter Bosz with two draws and a depressing loss.
A statement, on the Ultras’ Twitter account, was even more threatening as they accused the “rotten mentality” within the club of being responsible for their club’s poor run.
“Individualism takes precedence over the collective, complacency over work and lack of respect over the love of the jersey,” said the Ultras.
They claimed that some players only wanted to use the club, as a springboard, to join other teams.
They said some of the young players “start their careers with oversized egos and expect the club to give in to their whims”, and that a clean-up exercise was needed at Lyon.
Bosz said he shares some of the ultras’ concerns and is counting on his side to beat newly promoted Clermont Foot, playing in the top flight for the first time in their history, to ease the tension.
However, despite a 3-1 lead, with just 10 minutes remaining, Lyon missed a golden opportunity, for the win, allowing the visitors to score twice and force a 3-3 draw.
“We lost two more points, with our qualities, it should have been over,” the Dutchman told French media. “I’ve seen things you don’t see in under 12s.”
The situation at the club has been explosive since a break in the locker room, following their 0-3 loss to Angers, resulted in the expulsion of Brazilian defender Marcelo from the first team.
Two years ago, Marcelo was in the center of another row at the club when the Ultras displayed an offensive banner, describing him as a “donkey” in a Champions League game, against RB Leipzig. Memphis Depay, who has since left for Barcelona, equalized late in that game to force a 2-2 draw, which gave Lyon a ticket to the next round of the tournament.
The Dutchman then sprinted half the length of the pitch and tried to fight against a fan’s banner flaunting it.
He was joined by other Lyon players, in the standoff, on the terraces.