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By BHEKISISA MAGONGO - SWAZI TIMES-21-Sep-2009
LOBAMBA – Local football took major strides backward, as ugly scenes of violence erupted at the end of yesterday’s MTN League games at Somhlolo Stadium
The violence scenes were triggered by angry Manzini Wanderers supporters, who after their 0-3 defeat to Malanti Chiefs bayed for the blood of Management Committee (MC) Chairman Bheki Gamedze and Council of Elders chairman Sipho Ntshalintshali.
The maroon and white side now faces over E40 000 fines for the incident.
Gunshots were fired to disperse the rowdy supporters inside the stadium, but instead the violence spilled to the outside of the venue, while the two officials remained trapped inside the stadium for over an hour under strong police protection.
That seemed to have angered the hooligans who at the time were uncontrollable beating anything and anyone they came across in sheer frustration. Their main targets were Mbabane Highlanders’ fans, whose sin was to cheer Malanti Chiefs in the match where the ‘Weslians’ were totally outclassed. Police officers were not spared, as they were pelted with stones and bottles, and during the skirmish a fan was stabbed.
The aggressor ran for dear life to a nearby homestead, but he could not escape as he was apprehended and subsequently handed over to the police after a thorough beating. He was bleeding profusely on the face and his clothes were soaked in blood, as he was bundled into a police van where he joined two others who were also arrested for the violence. The situation was finally normalised later in the evening, as supporters boarded kombis and cars to their respective destinations.
Police PRO Vusi Masuku said five people were arrested and were charged with public violence, assault and malicious damage to property. “We condemn in the strongest terms possible such acts of violence that are bad publicity to the country and the sport. We term such people soccer hooligans and the police force will do everything in their power to deal with such barbaric practices,” he said.
Wanderers’ MC Chairman Bheki Gamedze lamented the behaviour of the fans which he said was uncalled for. He said the team would now have to pay heavy fines for such action. “There is nothing wrong with losing because as a team we are aware that we will win some and lose some. The sad thing is that people are pointing fingers at individuals without consulting what is happening on the ground. We are going to address the supporters during next week’s meeting on the issues in the club,” he said. Also commenting was Council of Elders chairman Sipho Ntshalintshali who said they would have a meeting this week as leadership of the team to discuss the nasty incident.
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