13 September 2017

Malawi: Fans Suggest Stronger Security Over Team Buses From Stadia

A football fan on social media has suggested it is high time that stadium management looked at entry and exit of the teams in order to give the players maximum security they need.

The fan, Noel Kabambe made the observation after Mighty Be Forward Wanderers team bus was smashed at Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe soon after their Carlsberg Cup final in which they lost 5-3 after postmatch penalties on Saturday.

Five suspects were arrested and remanded at Kanengo Police Station, being accused of malicious damage and unlawful wounding. The five have since been released on bail.

Kayange wrote on Facebook: "I always felt an incident like this was bound to happen maybe its even by chance there was not more damage. All the times I have been to the stadium I have noticed team buses get stuck in traffic trying to get out of the stadium and it sometimes takes an hour before the teams are able to get out of the stadium.

"The traffic management around the stadium after games is chaotic. I think it's high time stadium management looks at entry and exist of the teams. They can either reserve the west gate specifically for teams or keep the teams in the stadium (it has good dressing room facilities) until traffic clears up and if possible arrange police escorts in big games.

"Otherwise keeping teams in traffic trying to get out of the stadium as it happens now has always been a recipe for disaster. Fans behavior has always been unpredictable all over the world and its up to organisers to find a solution."

It is being reported that after the loss, Wanderers on pounced on a Bullets fan who had provoked them through the manner of celebration and other Bullets supporters tried to rescue their fellow fan by throwing missiles at the bus and smashed windows.

In the mayhem that ensured, stones and other missiles were also hurled at other motorists.

Mphatso Kamzingeni Zulu wrote on Facebook addressing Football Association of Malawi (FAM): "I don't condone violence let alone the breaking of the Wanderers Football Club bus by suspected Nyasa Big Bullets Supporters. However, we need to raise a question on how an official of FAM who are supposed to be neutral sympathise with a team which provoked the situation?"

This is in direct reference to statement FAM's Commercial & Marketing Director Limbani Cliff Matola made when he announced how much was collected from the game's tickets.

Matola had said: "On a sad note, we would like to sympathise with Mighty Be Forward Wanderers for the damage of their vehicles and injuries of their players by some barbaric and uncivilised individuals disguised as football fans. We would want to condemn in strongest terms such savagery acts and encourage the police to secure that the long arm of the law is accordingly applied. We applaud the police for successfully apprehending the suspects who are now at Kanengo Police station."

But Kamzingeni attacks Matola, saying "why did Wanderers players apprehend a Bullets fan and start beating him up in the bus in full view of his fellow supporters? Seriously did you expect no reaction from the fans?

"Your biasness does not give the game of football in Malawi a good image to say the least. In all fairness Wanderers must also be punished for provoking the situation. Had they exercised restraint and let the Bullets supporters enjoy their victory by simply ignoring them we would be talking of a violence-free match."

Hardy Katapila agreed with Kamzingeni Zulu, saying this is 100% correct because the Nomads provoked the situation adding that the Bullets fans were trying to protect their fellow supporter.

Others observed that the teams should always be given a secured police escort and that fans should not be allowed to converge at the teams' exit points to avoid such confrontation.

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