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Violence at football is increasing at worrisome rate

Violence erupted again at a football match at Kamuzu Stadium between Mighty Wanderers and Moyale Barracks just a few weeks after a family sadly lost their beloved son after he was beaten by suspected Malawi Defence Force soldiers following a bedlam that also happened at the same venue.

There are different versions as to what happened but one police source said a police officer on security duty outside the stadium caught someone trying to steal from a car and when accosted his accomplices tried to wrestle with the police officer. In defence the cop opened fire.

The other accomplices continued to intimidate the cop and when his colleagues came to his rescue they fired tear gas to disperse the unruly crowd. The teargas spilled into the stadium which affected the innocent fans as well as the Chichiri residents surrounding the stadium.

It’s very unfortunate that violence is increasing and at such an alarming rate in which the life of that innocent soul was lost and the police were forced to open fire at a suspected thief.

The pitiful part of last month’s death of that lad is that he had nothing to do with what happened at the stadium. The suspected soldiers were just beating up anybody they found on the streets.

Violence has been condemned time and again but it seems there is no end to it. Need we keep reminding each other how football lost sponsorship over a decade ago? Can we afford to have the corporate world desert football again?

We need more support for football, especially for our unsponsored teams but I doubt if the corporate world would dare to come in at the rate violence keeps happening at football matches like this.

The issue of security at the Kamuzu Stadium needs to be revised to include the surrounding areas where fans park their cars. In the first place, there is no provision for car parking at the stadium — people just decide to park anywhere they can find space. Many prefer to park at the Chichiri Shopping Mall where they inconvenience shoppers.

The moment one finds the space to park their car, they are accosted by several youths who beg to look after the car for the duration of the match for a fee. You cannot dare to refuse because it will be targeted by the same youths. They smash the quarter glasses and steal any valuables.

All the other youths will never reveal who had done it even if they witnessed the crime. It’s high time a proper parking ground was created around the stadium where security will be provided.

Most times drivers who wait for their turn to offload their goods at Optichem or Manica, park their trucks at the stadium. This is the area all the way to the main gate that can be levelled to create some parking space.

I saw that being done in preparation for the July 6 Independence Celebration. Why don’t the authorities make it a permanent car park which will attract a modest fee?

Other countries create a decent fee-charging parking area for the football fans. The fees are used to pay for security measures such as CCTVs, security personnel and other amenities.

This is food for thought as part of the rehabilitation process of Kamuzu Stadium.

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