High fever is expected to grip Blantyre and Lilongwe cities this weekend as Carlsberg Cup semifinals roll into action. These are games that will lure every true soccer-loving Malawian into the stadium.
Big Bullets host Silver Strikers at Kamuzu Stadium whereas Moyale Barracks are up against Be Forward Wanderers at Civo Stadium.
We all appreciate emotions that go with such high-profile games, starting from the supporters, players and officials.
I vividly remember how Joseph Kamwendo, a former Mighty Wanderers nimble-footed midfielder, threw the whole Carlsberg Cup battle of 2003 into turmoil when his immaculately taken free-kick resulted into a disallowed golden goal by Muzipasi Mwangonde.
The goal was disallowed by referee Kaliy to Ngosi after he adjudged the free-kick to have gone out of touch while in motion.
Tempers flared, and the match was abandoned due to impending crowd trouble. A few months down the line, Carlsberg pulled out sponsorship. The decision shattered our dreams and left our hearts broken.
It was an issue which could have been amicably solved by the concerned parties, but it went astray due to lack of spirit of sportsmanship and greed.
Lessons must be learnt from the previous mistakes and we hope that this weekend people will go to the football matches with a spirit of fair play.
I find it mind boggling to have supporters or officials indulging in violence when the whole essence of football is entertainment.
This is supposed to be the festival for the whole nation; for both the young and the old, men and women and there is need to treat it with the respect it deserves.
No one should send us into depression just because his team has failed to make a mark in this prestigious competition.
The football fraternity has learnt from past mistakes and it is my sincere hope that all the supporters will be responsible at the stadia.
Whatever the case, by close of business today and tomorrow there would be one winner. But the victors must celebrate with humility while the vanquished must accept the result with dignity and honour.
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