Just when the football authorities appeared to be winning the battle against hooliganism, a new wave of post-match violence, targeting Flames opponents, has left Football Association of Malawi (FAM) and the police baffled.
While international matches are characterised by relative calm inside Kamuzu Stadium, there are serious security concerns outside as evidenced by nasty stone-throwing orgy in the last two games.
Blantyre Police Station assistant publicist Sergeant Lameck Yona Thembachako and FAM chief executive officer Suzgo Nyirenda confirmed the dilemma as no arrest has, so far, been made since such incidents happen outside the stadium.
Supporters, along the Masauko Chipembere Highway, stoned a Toyota Prado registration number 5 CD2 carrying Zambia Deputy High Commissioner Henry Njirazi. The incident happened after the Flames beat Zambia 1-0 on July 6. That was barely three weeks after the rowdy fans also smashed a Sports Council bus carrying Chad players.
“Police at Blantyre have observed unwelcome tendencies, particularly by Flames supporters who resort to conduct themselves in criminal smashing of vehicles ferrying the rivals,” said Thembachako.
Police estimates that the smashed windscreen for the Zambian car would cost K250 000 (about $1 000). Sports Council executive secretary George Jana recently said the cost of the damage to their Toyota coaster registration number 28 SC 18 that carried Chad players is yet to be determined.
Nyirenda has called for an emergency meeting with the police, fearing the post-match violence could spread to the Presidential Cup games that are now in the semi-final stage.
“It is a serious security concern even more considering that this happens outside the stadium. We have to strategise. We do not understand why, the fans would, instead of going home after a Flames win, not just celebrate peacefully,” he said.
FAM deploys stewards and the police inside the stadium, but the perpetrators of violence are now taking advantage of the fact that there is no security guarantee outside the stadium and in the streets.