Government and the Football Association of Malawi (FAM) are being warned against courting disaster for allowing soccer fans to throng cordoned off parts of Kamuzu Stadium as happened during the Confederation of Champions League match between Big Bullets and Fomboni FC last Saturday.
Bullets trustee Gaston Mwenelupumbe said he was baffled on that day that despite the presence of Sports Minister Grace Chiumia and top FAM hierarchy, nothing was done to stop hundreds of soccer fans from occupying the restricted areas.
“Such negligence is recipe for disaster. Fifa directed that no fans should sit in those stands because reinforcements cannot bear the original capacity and that doing so will result in tragedy, but it was puzzling that government failed to enforce the directive,” said Mwenelupumbe.
He said if something had happened on Saturday, the blame would have fallen on Big Bullets yet the match was organised by FAM on behalf of CAF.
FAM president Walter Nyamilandu acknowledged that what happened that day can attract severe penalties from Fifa. He, however, absolved his association from blame, saying Bullets failed to control their supporters.
“Bullets should have controlled their fans. It is true the match was under our supervision, but when it comes to crowd control, it is the responsibility of the team. It is not FAM supporters who sat on those stands, Bullets should have done better,” said Nyamilandu.
He said they will wait for a report from the match commissioner to determine the severity of the punishment.
“We did not watch the match as we were in Mzuzu attending our annual general meeting (AGM). We were represented by our competition’s officer and as of now, we are waiting for his report and that of the match commissioner to determine the way forward,” said Nyamilandu.
He has since appealed to Bullets to control their fans in the coming matches to avoid a repeat of the incident.
Government said they are concerned about what happened last Saturday and a meeting has been arranged for Monday to discuss the next course of action.
Minister of Sports Grace Chiumia told Nation on Sunday on Friday that government will not want a repeat of what happened.
On May 27 2009, Fifa stepped up action against FAM following a tragedy that claimed 19 lives and left more than 130 injured at the Felix Houphouet-Boigny Stadium in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.
Fifa directed that Kamuzu Stadium seating capacity be reduced from 40 000 to 25 000.