Malawi police rescued Flames midfield workhorse Chimango ‘Blackberry’ Kayira from irate Big Bullets fans who threatened to rough him up at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre on Tuesday morning.
The fans were reportedly angry with the player’s remarks that appeared in The Nation to the effect that the club had made him poor hence his decision to quit.
Kayira had just finished Flames training when the fans started pouring a barrage of insults and threatened to beat him up. The player had to be kept briefly inside the stadium for his safety.
The situation got out of hand when the fans nearly overpowered the stewards and wanted to force their way into the stadium. Fortunately, stadium authorities and members of the coaching personnel called for police help.
A group of about 20 police officers rushed to the scene and escorted Kayira to the Flames bus until it left the stadium premises.
One of the fans shouted: “Unabwera ndi chiyani ku Bullets iweyo kuti uziti yakusawukitsa? Ndiwe chitsiru kwambiri ndipo tithana nawe! [What did you have when you joined Bullets to claim that it has made you poor? You are very stupid! We will deal with you].
Kayira told The Nation on Wednesday that he is living in fear.
“Imagine they gathered at the stadium and started shouting insults at me. They threatened to beat me up. Lucky enough, the police came to my rescue just in time.
“I am shocked at how they are treating me. It is a pity that they have forgotten the contribution I made to the team [BB], to bring back the lost glory and all I get for a ‘thank you’ are insults.
“Should a player be afraid of moving to another team that is offering him prospects of a bright future? It is unfair,” said Kayira.
He claimed that most of the players at Bullets are suffering in silence.
Bullets supporters committee chairperson Geoffrey Mbalati confirmed that the fans were bitter with Kayira’s remarks in the press.
“Bullets have had great players such as Kinnah Phiri, Peter Mponda, Lawrence [Waya], Chance Gondwe and the late Harry Waya, but there was never a day when they spoke ill of the club. The fans wanted him to explain what he meant by claiming that Bullets has made him poor.
“Any way, we will ask our supporters not to confront him, but he should also realise that what he did was not right,” said Mbalati.
Southern Region Police Headquarters publicist Nicholas Gondwa confirmed that police stepped in as a security measure after noting that the situation was tense.
“The player did not formally complain to us, but if there will be need for further intervention, then we will see what we can do,” he said.
FAM chief executive officer Suzgo Nyirenda said: “If indeed that happened then it is unfortunate and we will treat it as an urgent matter.
“However, what I can say is that I look at it from two sides. Maybe the fans might have been provoked with what the player said, but then it was not proper to confront him in the manner they did,” said Nyirenda.