The ugly spec­tre of hooli­gan­ism

Lesotho Times - - Sport -

HOOLI­GAN­ISM once again reared its ugly head dur­ing the week­end’s top of the ta­ble clash be­tween Li­oli and Mat­lama.

The match was aban­doned due to crowd trou­ble af­ter Tse Put­soa sup­port­ers in­vaded the pitch to­wards the end of the match protest­ing what they deemed poor of­fi­ci­at­ing.

We wit­nessed sim­i­lar in­ci­dents just two months ago dur­ing the Kick­4life-bantu clash.

The wor­ry­ing part is that there have been ca­su­al­ties on both oc­ca­sions and with the po­lice hav­ing al­ready con­firmed that one per­son died from in­juries sus­tained in the vi­o­lence.

It is high time those in the lead­er­ship of our foot­ball took stern mea­sures be­cause the sit­u­a­tion is re­ally get­ting out of hand.

Re­gard­less of the qual­ity of the of­fi­ci­at­ing, what hap­pened at Set­soto Sta­dium on Sun­day is in­ex­cus­able and fans need to know that acts of hooli­gan­ism have no place in our foot­ball.

Soc­cer in the coun­try is in tran­si­tion from ama­teur to semi-pro­fes­sion­al­ism.

Get­ting spon­sors that can help our foot­ball to de­velop is al­ready a chal­lenge and such in­ci­dents only serve to ag­gra­vate the al­ready dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tion.

But then again, I also ask my­self why there was such lax se­cu­rity, given the high pro­file na­ture of the match.

Go­ing for­ward, the teams must de­ploy more se­cu­rity per­son­nel to pro­tect true sup­port­ers of the beau­ti­ful game from thugs who are cer­tainly a dan­ger to so­ci­ety.

The two in­ci­dents are big enough to worry the league body into re­view­ing its se­cu­rity ar­range­ments in or­der to beef them up es­pe­cially for the big matches that at­tract huge crowds.

Emo­tions are al­ways high in such matches and the pre­mier league man­age­ment com­mit­tee should ad­vise clubs to beef-up their se­cu­rity for such games.

The ref­er­ee­ing de­part­ment also needs to be re-vis­ited as match of­fi­cials ap­pear to be hog­ging the lime­light for the wrong rea­sons week in and week out.

As I said be­fore, it is wrong for sup­port­ers to take mat­ters into their own hands as ref­er­ees are also hu­man be­ing and can make mis­takes.

But the prob­lem is that some of the ref­er­ees have been sus­pected of im­proper con­duct in­clud­ing ac­cept­ing bribes.

Yes, I have said it and it is well doc­u­mented that some of the ref­er­ees are not clean and have al­legedly been tak­ing money to in­flu­ence the out­come of matches.

High rank­ing foot­ball of­fi­cials are well aware of this is­sue as some of the ref­er­ees have gone pub­lic about it, but it would ap­pear that no one has cared enough to con­duct a proper in­ves­ti­ga­tion in or­der to get to the bot­tom of the mat­ter.

So once again, I humbly plead with those in lead­er­ship to ad­dress the mat­ter be­fore it is too late.

Foot­ball is about en­ter­tain­ment and not vi­o­lence so the quicker that this prob­lem is dealt with, the bet­ter it will be for ev­ery­one.

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