In front of newly acquired sponsors, fans scampered for dear life, smoke billowed and stones rained onto Kamuzu Stadium pitch as violence halted a friendly match between Mighty Be Forward Wanderers and Silver Strikers marking Nomads’ sponsorship launch on Monday.
Be Forward officials, who were from the VIP Stand seen taking pictures of the violence with their mobile gadgets, were last night expected to officially unveil the K70 million one-year sponsorship for Nomads at Wanderers’ Clubhouse.
But there was no doubt that the officials from Japan were disappointed after the game ended prematurely on 74th minute while at 1-1.
Visibly angry fans, from the eastern terraces traditionally occupied by rival Big Bullets, supporters pelted stones onto the pitch after referee Waneck Mlenga, who had earlier sent for an early shower Silver captain Lucky Malata for foul language, also red-carded Silver’s Ndaziona Chatsalira.
Chatsalira was thought to have slashed down then stamped on Wanderers’ substitute striker Cameroonian Lionel Asu.
In the first incident, Silver defender Lameck Kachimanga fouled Wanderers’ dribbling striker Jimmy Zakazaka to earn the Nomads a penalty, which substitute Cuthbert Sinetre converted on the 73rd minute, cancelling out Blessings Tembo’s 62nd minute free-kick goal. In the process, Malata lashed at the referee.
Wanderers technical director Yasin Osman described the violence as disappointing, but, in fact, it was disgusting.
“It is unfortunate. While not blaming Silver, their players should have exercised self-control and get on with the game. A player cannot go physically attack a referee and get away with it,” said Osman.
To their credit, the armed police expertly dispersed the crowd by firing into the air while being joined by stewards in arresting three fans, clad in red attire, after dragging them from the eastern terraces.
During the game, Silver, who had the previous day lost 3-0 to Azam Tigers, clicked into gear, striking the ball with telling ease. Inside seven minutes, the Bankers’ earned two corner kicks.
Wanderers defender Kondani Lufeyo needed to be red alert to deflect Rodrick Gonani’ goal-bound shot out for a corner which yielded a powerful shot which Richard Chipuwa smothered on second attempt.
Wanderers’ response was instant. Exciting Wanderers’ winger Ibrahim Sadiki escaped his marker to cross the ball for Victor Nyirenda who blasted his shot into the side-netting. First-half ended 0-0.
The introduction of Asu gave Wanderers new hope as he took on defenders thereby bringing into the game the likes of Zakazaka who dribbled past a forest of defenders before being brought down to cost the penalty.