War zone at Silver Stadium
Ugly scenes returned to local football at Silver Stadium in Lilongwe on Wednesday with fights between Nyasa Big Bullets and Silver Strikers supporters during the two teams’ FDH Bank Cup quarterfinal match.
Silver Stadium premises resembled a war zone before the match kicked off, with several supporters sustaining injuries.
Tension started as early as 10am as some fans of the two teams were involved in a brawl a few metres outside the stadium.
Suspected Silver fans assaulted several people believed to be Bullets fans and caused havoc throughout the match which was supposed to be played behind closed doors.
The violent mob went after every supporter wearing red in and outside the stadium.
That was not all. The thugs overpowered security at the match venue and poured urine on Bullets players and some officials who were on the bench at half time.
The hostile atmosphere forced Bullets to decide against going to the dressing room for pep talk and coach Kalisto Pasuwa addressed his charges on the pitch.
Even after losing the match 4-2 on post-match penalties, Bullets players were still targeted by unruly supporters.
The players only managed to leave the stadium when they boarded Silver’s team bus.
Bullets Chief Executive Officer Suzgo Nyirenda condemned the incident.
“This behaviour was barbaric and archaic. There was intimidation all over and it is sad for football. We hope Fam will act quickly and punish all perpetrators of violence,” Nyirenda said.
During a TNM Super League match between the two sides in Blantyre about three weeks ago, some suspected Bullets supporters also beat up Silver supporters at Kamuzu Stadium.
It is believed that Silver supporters were retaliating to what happened in Blantyre.
However, Silver Chief Executive Officer Thokozani Chimbali claimed he had no information on what exactly happened.
“I sat in the open stands but I have just heard that there were some ugly scenes,” Chimbali said.
Fam Competitions and Communications Manager, Gomezgani Zakazaka was also a victim of the violence.
Silver sailed through after the two teams played out to a 2-2 stalemate.
Mark Fodya scored the decisive penalty after goalkeeper Charles Thom saved Sankhani Mkandawire and Henry Kabichi’s spot kicks.
In regulation time, Hassan Kajoke and Zicco Mkanda were on target for Bullets whereas Stain Davie scored a brace for the Central Bankers to force the match into penalty kicks.
The Bankers will face Mighty Wanderers in the semifinal whereas Ekwendeni Hammers will meet Rumphi United.