Most supporters banned from football matches for violence and hooliganism, are still watching games because football authorities fail to furnish the police with relevant information for them to act on.
Elsewhere, pictures of such individuals are circulated at match venues so that those managing the gates are aware. Some banned hooligans are asked to report to police on match day to ensure sanctions are served. But in Malawi such is not the case, hence resulting in more cases of violence and hooliganism as witnessed in the current season.
Superintendent Stanley Ntosa of Southern Region Police, who handles security at match venues, said they do not have a list of the names of banned individuals.
“We operate based on official communication. Up to now, FAM and Sulom have not furnished us with the original verdicts on the suspended individuals. In the absence of such documents, we cannot stop these individuals from entering match venues.
“We need such documents so that we can circulate them to all officers providing security at matches in the country, be it at Bingu National Stadium, Chilomoni Stadium, Kalulu Stadium, Civo Stadium, Mzuzi Stadium and all match venues. As police, we are ready to do our job.”
FAM president Walter Nyamilandu said the association will lobby other stakeholders to criminalise hooliganism as one way of ensuring banned individuals are not allowed into match venues.
He said: “It’s important for violence and hooliganism to be criminalised as a law. We will need support from Malawi National Council of Sports and the Ministry of Sports to effect such changes. In the short term, we need to enforce disciplinary sanctions that were imposed on the offenders by collaborating with the Police during football matches.”
On continued use of banned individuals such as Severe, Nyamilandu said: “This is a valid concern. Our legal subcommittee will have to review the situation. We need to close the loose ends to ensure full support of the police.”
Sulom general secretary Williams Banda also acknowledged the communication breakdown.
“We indeed have not furnished the police with names of the suspended individuals. We must take responsibility,” he said.
Banda promised to improve the situation next season.
Both Wanderers and Nyasa Big Bullets said Sulom and FAM are responsible for reinforcing the suspensions.
FAM and Super League of Malawi (Sulom) suspended over 15 individuals this season for violence and hooliganism, but Weekend Nation findings have established that most of them still watch matches.
Those responsible for gate management have no capacity to recognise the banned individuals, let alone reinforce the suspensions.
One of the banned supporters from Wanderers said he saw no reason to observe the ban when others are not.
“All those Bullets supporters are not serving their suspension, so why should I? Those that do not come to the matches do so not because they will be stopped, but because they don’t want to,” said the supporter who had travelled all the way from Blantyre to Balaka to watch the Nomads match against Dwangwa United.
Ironically, some of the banned individuals are assigned duties as ‘supporters security network’.
One of them is Billy One Severe, who is Malawi national football team supporters committee interim chairperson and was banned for three years after he allegedly assaulted Sam Madula, the then principal secretary in the Ministry of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development during a Luso TV Bus Ipite second leg between Bullets and Wanderers at BNS.