Habitual offenders Mighty Wanderers risk yet another substantial fine for pitch invasion, vandalism and theft that occurred on Saturday at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre.
Overwhelmed by their 4-1 penalty shoot-out victory over age-old rivals Big Bullets in the Zambezi Soccer Challenge Cup, a bevy of overzealous Nomads fans invaded the pitch to celebrate, but the effects were far-reaching as the stadium authorities complained to the tournament organisers TopSports Limited and Football Association of Malawi (FAM) that fans vandalised power lines and went away with corner flags.
Stadium manager Charles Mhango said: “Wanderers fans not only invaded the pitch, but they also pulled the lines that supply power to the lights installed on the perimeter fence and, as a result, it affected the switch and the lights cannot go off unless we switch off the main switch.
“They also uprooted and got away with corner flags that we replaced recently and pulled the goal posts’ nets.”
Mhango said soon after the match, they lodged a complaint with TopSports and FAM.
“FAM assured us that they would take the matter up and that Wanderers would pay for the cost of maintaining the items that were vandalised as well as replacing the stolen corner flags from their [K250 000 or $625] appearance fee,” said Mhango.
The stadium manager said they were yet to get a quotation for the repairs of the electric fault, but a set of corner flags costs K25 000 ($62.50).
FAM executive committee member James Mwenda, who was the match commissioner, confirmed that the issue is being pursued.
“For now what I can say is that pitch invasion is a serious offence and rules will apply after we are through with all the findings. We do not want to pre-empt the process,” said Mwenda.
TopSports operations manager Kevin Moyo confirmed the stadium management’s complaint and the suggestion that was made by FAM to withhold Wanderers’ appearance fee until a determination of the costs is made.
However, the Nomads’ general secretary David Kanyenda on Monday said they were yet to get communication on the issue while main supporters committee adviser Anthony Nyasulu said those that are involved in such acts are denting the image of the club.
“The problem is that when we call for meetings to sensitise supporters on the need to be disciplined, it is the very same people that turn up and these are accredited supporters who have IDs and do not take part in such detrimental acts.
“Genuine Wanderers supporters celebrate with dignity. I do not think a true Wanderers fan can behave in that manner considering all the disciplinary issues that the club has gone through this season,” said Nyasulu.
Asked if what happened on Saturday was not a confirmation that the supporters committee is not in control of the fans, Nyasulu said: “You can put it like that, but as I said, the truth is that there could be others who claim to be Wanderers supporters and take advantage of the situation to cause havoc, but we are trying to come up with mechanisms to put all this to a stop. Before the next season kicks off, we’ll come up with ways to ensure that during our games, supporters should be peaceful and those that will be involved in nasty acts will be apprehended and handed over to authorities.”
Recently, the Nomads were also found guilty of failing to control their supporters during their Super League match against Silver Strikers in Balaka and were fined K750 000 (about $1 875) and were banned for five months, but the punishment was reduced following their appeal to FAM who slashed the fine to K500 000 (about $1 250) and forfeiture of six points.
Earlier last year, the Nomads were also found guilty of causing violence during their league game against Blue Eagles and were fined K950 000 (about $2 375) on top of a 10-match ban at Kamuzu Stadium.