I never thought I would be discussing this issue any time soon, but it seems some people will never learn. I mean after all the problems Malawi football has gone through in the last few years, how would anyone with half a brain even contemplate indulging in acts of hooliganism which threaten the future of the very club they profess to love? Does that begin to make any sense to anyone?
If I need to break it down for anyone, I am referring to the embarrassing scenes within and around Kamuzu Stadium last weekend when Mighty Wanderers fans went on rampage venting their anger and frustration on anybody and anything within sight simply because their team had been beaten 2-1 by current TNM Super League leaders Blue Eagles. You would think they have some divine right to win matches!
Now, I have said before that I have grown up in a passionately blue family as far as local football is concerned and I get sort of embarrassed when I hear of such unfortunate developments. In those days when I could watch the team even during training sessions, this was a team supported by sane and civilised people and we used to distinguish ourselves from Bullets fans who were associated with violence more.
You see, Bullets fans of those days were difficult to understand. Regardless of the outcome of the match, you were almost assured of hooliganism whenever they met their rivals from Lali Lubani. I remember a match or two when Wanderers started on fire and the fans were enchanted only to see Bullets, whose fans would hitherto have been silent, score against the run of play. Such a goal would be celebrated with stone-throwing.
This did not make sense to me. How would people be angry with their team scoring? But I am told it was some sort of payback for the early celebrations by the rivals which were hurting. Not that it makes sense to me. Violence is unacceptable under any circumstances, but it is even more scandalous when it is practised in victory. Those were Bullets fans during their Bata days and some of us felt proud to be Nomads.
Not anymore. I am not sure if the roles have exactly reversed, but suffice to say if events of last weekend and last season are anything to go by, Wanderers have overtaken their rivals in leaps and bounds. That generation of gentlemen and ladies has either gone or has been overshadowed by a new generation of fans that do not know what that club and its history represent for some people.
I seriously do not think it is rocket science at all. You have a choice either to accept a loss and live to fight another day or engage in such senseless activities and risk having your team banned and not participate at all for some time. Is there anything to think about there? Do the supporters know what it means to the management of the club to have the team play away, let alone banned for some period?
From the events of last weekend, it is apparent to some of us that all the warnings against violence and hooliganism at football matches have fallen on deaf ears and there is, therefore, a strong need to find a decisive way to drive the point home. It would hurt me to see the club and its innocent players suffer for sins of a few misguided souls, but if that is the collateral damage in the pursuit of sanity at football venues, so be it.