Violence crawls back into football

 

Violence and hooliganism, once thought to have been eradicated in Malawi football, is back. This time, almost every high-profile match is registering sporadic incidents.

Chilomoni Stadium in Blantyre, formerly MDC Stadium, has turned into a warzone where every match involving Nyasa Big Bullets witnesses some form of violence.

In the latest incident, Karonga United officials were on Wednesday assaulted in full view of police officers during a Fisd Challenge Cup match.

Chilomoni Stadium is like a war zone

 

It was also the same thing when Bullets played Moyale Barracks, Civil Sporting Club and Kamuzu Barracks at the same venue in league and cup games.

But Bullets general secretary Albert Chigoga condemned the behaviour of the supporters.

He said: “What happened [Wednesday] at Chilomoni Stadium is regrettable and appalling, to say the least. We summoned a meeting with the top leadership of our supporters. The agenda was to find a solution because football is not war. It is an entertainment and a social gathering regardless of affiliations.”

Chigoga said the club will not shield the culprits, saying they had presented their names to FAM for action.

“Loyalty to the football club is not by way of perpetrating violence. This is unacceptable. Crime is crime. Our players get distracted when people start behaving deplorably in the stands like what happened today [Wednesday]. Apologies to everyone who fell victim to such barbaric acts,” he said.

However, Chilomoni Stadium is not the only venue witnessing such violence.

Silver Strikers and Azam Tigers match at Silver Stadium in Lilongwe a week ago was delayed by an hour after the visitors walked out of the pitch following an assault on their official.

Dedza Stadium also turned into a battlefield two weeks ago in a match between Silver and Masters Security.

There were also ugly scenes of violence during a Super League match between Be Forward Wanderers and Chitipa United at Karonga Stadium recently.

And when the match is between rookies and giants, their complaints fall on deaf ears, according to club officials.

Chitipa United general secretary Marshal Mwenechanya said they have lost trust in authorities because their complaints are never taken into consideration.

“Even if we lodge a complaint, the case will never see the light of the day,” he said.

Analyst Charles Nyirenda said the situation is getting out of hand as the battle for silverware in both cup and league matches intensifies.

He said: “It’s happening at all venues. It’s happening at Civo Stadium, Mzuzu Stadium and even Bingu National Stadium. Once you are playing away, you must be ready for this experience.”

But Wanderers general secretary Mike Butao said the Nomads win their matches fair and square at their home Balaka Stadium.

“Nothing like that happens at Balaka. In Balaka, games are won fair and square,” he said.

Both Football Association of Malawi (FAM) and Super League of Malawi (Sulom) are yet to act on the recent spate of violence.

Sulom, a week ago, announced it was investigating the Chilomoni and Silver Stadium cases.

However, up to now nothing has been done.

On the latest incident, FAM general secretary Alfred Gunda said they would apply rules and regulations.

“We will take action. No one is above the law. We have rules and regulations and these will apply. The good thing is that these people can now be identified. As for those matches that fall under Sulom jurisdiction, we also expect them to take action. If they don’t we will help them do so,” he said.

Sulom treasurer Tiya Somba-Banda said they will work with FAM to eradicate the violence. n

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