Football violence and hooliganism reared its ugly face at Civo Stadium in Lilongwe as the Fisd Challenge Cup semi-final between Silver Strikers and Blue Eagles was abandoned due to crowd trouble.
Goals from Wonder Jeremani, Gilbert Chirwa, Junior Malidadi and Schumachar Kuwali, in that order, thrust Eagles into cloud nine.
With comfortbaly in control of the game, all hell broke loose after an incident in which striker Khuda Muyaba retaliated to a foul, by stamping in an Eagles player despite referee Mayamiko Kanjere awarding Silver a free-kick.
In the fracas that followed Muyaba got a straight red card but Eagles goalkeeper John Soko who was involved in the skirmishes escaped punishment, sparking protests from Silver.
But although the fracas on the pitch was put under control, the match was stopped for close to 40 minutes as supporters from both teams joined in the battle.
Scores of people were injured in the free-for-all fight as police and stewards failed to control the supporters, forcing referee Kanjere to call off the match after waiting for over 40 minutes.
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) competitions and communications director Gomezgani Zakazaka said they will wait for the referee’s report on the outcome of the match.
“The referee was in charge of the match. We will wait for his report on the outcome of the match,” he said.
But Silver coach Abbas Makawa conceded defeat, saying they were punished conceding silly goals.
Silver were utterly outplayed. Their defence led by Hygiene Mwandepeka and Herbert Wayekha could not cope with Eagles versatility while the midfield of Levison Maganizo, Young Chimodzi Junior and Duncan Nyoni lacked creativity.
Eagles coach DeKlerk Msakakuona hailed his charges for playing according to plan.
“It was a tough game. But everything changed once Jeremani scored that early goal. From then on, we were in control,” he said.
With referee’s report likely to favour of Eagles, they can as well start preparing for the final in which they will play the winner between Kamuzu Barracks and Hangover United who face off today at Mpira Stadium in Blantyre.