Be Forward Wanderers have described the smashing of their Nissan Caravan team bus by alleged Nyasa Big Bullets fans on Saturday as barbaric and shameful.
The Nomads team bus was smashed at Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe soon after their Carlsberg Cup final which the People’s Team won on post-match penalties, leading to the arrest of five suspects who were remanded at Kanengo Police Station.
Wanderers chairperson Gift Mkandawire said: “It was a shameful act. You wouldn’t expect supporters of a team that won to behave in the manner they did. We expected them to celebrate with dignity.
“But we know that the bus is one of the things that hurts them [most] considering the manner we got it because they wanted it dearly.”
The Nomads beat Bullets in a two-legged Luso TV Bus Ipite Bonanza to win the 26-seater bus early this year.
Mkandawire said apart from lodging a complaint at Kanengo Police Station, they will also take up the matter with the Football Association of Malawi (FAM).
“A few of our players such as [Stanley] Sanudi were injured with the missiles thrown by some Bullets fans. Our bus was also damaged and we will be taking the issue further so that the law takes its course,” he said.
But Bullets main supporters committee chairperson Stone Mwamadi claimed that Wanderers players provoked the situation by dragging a People’s Team fan into their bus where they beat him up.
“From what we have gathered, as Wanderers bus was leaving the stadium premises, there were some fans who were jeering at them and all of a sudden, they stopped and dragged one of them [fans] into the bus and started roughing him up.
“The fans then started stoning the bus to rescue their colleague,” he said.
However, Mkandawire dismissed Mwamadi’s claims, saying: “Of course, we are yet to get full details of what exactly happened but his [Mwamadi] version of events is not true because apart from the bus, they also smashed one of our trustees’ vehicle which was parked far away from where the incident happened and we do not think this was a mere coincidence.
“People are bound to cook up or twist stories to suit their liking, but it is good that our supporters did not retaliate, otherwise the situation would have turned chaotic.”
Kanengo Police publicist Salome Zgambo yesterday referred The Nation to Malawi Police Service (MPS) national spokesperson James Kadadzera who in turn, referred it to Central Region spokesperson Nolliettie Chihana.
But Chihana said she was yet to get a detailed report on the incident.
FAM, through its commercial and sales director Limbani Matola, condemned the acts.
“We would like to symphathise with Be Forward Wanderers for the damage of their vehicles and injuries of their players by some barbaric and uncivilised individuals disguised as football fans.
“We condemn such savagery acts and encourage the police to ensure that the long arm of the law is accordingly applied. We [also] applaud the police for successfully apprehending the suspects,” he said. n