By: Ndumiso Nxumalo
After Kaizer Chiefs suffered a 2-0 defeat from Free State Starts in the Nedbank Cup semi-final clash on Saturday night at the Moses Mabhida Stadium, their supporters turned into riot and vandalized the stadium.
Fans could be seen storming the field, hurling chairs and beating security officials. Police had to use teargas and stun grenades to disperse unruly fans.
It didn’t end there as the one of the security guard was badly injured by the Chiefs fans. The violence in the stadium by football supporters has a very negative effect on the beautiful game, ruining the status and the level of respect the Premier Soccer league has.
Such behaviour has been a norm in soccer as this also happen in the previous season after Orlando Pirates lost 6-0 to Mamelodi Sundowns and Fans vented their fury with a pitch invasion at Loftus Versfeld, February 2017. The PSL ordered Orlando Pirates to play one match behind closed doors following their fans’ role in crowd trouble, Pirates will face Bidvest Wits behind closed doors on Wednesday.
In South Africa, it has become a culture that if people are not happy with service deliveries, they must burn, vandalize and damage facilities so that the officials will pay attention to it. It was no secret that Chiefs’ supporters were not happy with their former Head Coach Steve Kompela after 4 years without a trophy. Kompela then resign later that night after that incident.
Damaging our facilities as a country in order to voice out our frustration will not make us move forward. We must find new way that will make sure that our voice is heard without breaking in to violence. Most people come out with their families to relax and watch soccer, now they will not feel safe and will fear for their lives. In previous years, there has been complains that people don’t turn out to the stadiums as much they used to do and stadiums are not being filled. Question remain, what will you prefer, staying at home and watch the game in televisions, be safe or go to the stadiums and end up being bitten but angry, unhappy fans?
The late Former South African president Nelson Mandela once said, “Sports has the power to change the world, it has the power to inspire, it has the power to unite people in a way that little us does.”
Kwazulu-Natal police have denied claims that the male security guard who was assaulted by Kaizer Chiefs fans at the stadium has died.
The footage that has been making the rounds on social media also shows fans attacking the man, with one fan kicking him abruptly in the chest. The Premier Soccer League has also confirmed that the guard assaulted has been discharged from hospital.
The two men charged with public violence and malicious damage to property following a pitch invasion at Moses Mabhida Stadium will appear in the Durban Magistrates’ Court on Monday.