As 24 year-old Geoffrey Mwale is laid to rest today at his home village Muzoweza, in TA Chilowamatambe in Kasungu, the message to football authorities is loud and clear—do more than just condemning football violence and hooliganism.
Late Mwale was assaulted by Malawi Defence Force soldiers during the violence that erupted at Kamuzu Stadium following Red Lions’ 2-2 draw against Surestream on May 10.
The violence started right on the pitch as the Red Lions players assaulted referee Boniface Chapinga, and later a brawl with supporters ensued.
The 24 year-old did not even attend the match, but as the violence at the stadium spread to the Kamuzu Highway, innocent people were attacked among them the late Mwale who was waiting for a car to pick him up.
Though Red Lions were fined K3.4 million and its players banned between six and eight months, now the death of the victim has angered many people including the bereaved family who want the law to take its course so that the perpetrators face justice.
But the Malawi Defence Force side appealed against the ruling and though their players are serving the suspension, they are yet to pay the full fine.
The bereaved family has said the late Geoffrey’s life was nipped in the bud and his only crime was that he was at a wrong place, at a wrong time.
The father of the victim, Senior Superintendent Stanley Mwale, was lost of words following he demise of his son who had been in a coma for 25 days.
Minister of Sports, Grace Chiumia, who was one of the first few people to visit the late Mwale while at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, also joined in condoling the bereaved family.
Malawi National Council of Sports executive secretary George Jana said they would work with football authorities to make sure violence at stadiums is curbed.
“Our role as Sports Council is to advise sports associations on how best to run their sports disciplines,” he said.
“In this case, what we can do is to work with football authorities to make sure that such violence is never repeated.”
Meanwhile, Super League of Malawi and Football Association of Malawi issued statements condoling the bereaved family.
“Super League of Malawi is deeply concerned with the untimely death of Geoffrey Mwale and hereby extend our condolences to the family. Football is the greatest game in the world and we need to protect its greatness,” the Sulom statement read in part.
Fam president, Walter Nyamilandu, said Fam would do its best to end hooliganism.
“Any form of violence or hooliganism threaten the very core foundations on whose the spirit of the game was built on thus; entertainment, warmth, togetherness and fair-play. Based on the pillars above, the loss of life at football matches in unnecessary,” he said.
“We will do whatever it takes to root out these remnants acts of bad behavior which do not form part of the game. Fam will take necessary measures to address acts of bad behaviours at football matches. With concerted efforts, we have to rid the game of all evil forms and build a better platform where people from all walks of life can enjoy its benefits.”
Mwale’s death comes just a season after another life was lost at Balaka Stadium in 2013 TNM Super League decider between Silver Strikers and Mighty Wanderers.
Just like Mwale, Lemiyasi Josita died after sustaining severe head injuries in the violence that erupted between supporters from the two teams.
A vibrant writer who gives a great insight on hot topics and issues