It has been a testing few days for Mighty Wanderers fans in what promises to be an emotional roller coaster season that has seen nyerere experience a series of highs and lows. One week they are top of the table, the following week they are getting nothing from a possible six points on their travels to Lilongwe. You could not write such a script and only the strong-willed can handle the situation.
And strong will seems to be in short supply among the vociferous types within the ranks of Wanderers fans who embarrassed the football fraternity by engaging in violence as they saw rivals Big Bullets, of all teams, pile more misery last Saturday in the highly publicised inaugural match of the returning Carlsberg Cup. Some of them even went as far as attacking their technical panel and issuing ultimatums.
Now, no one celebrates a loss but, in the words of a former Liverpool manager, if you cannot stand by your team in difficult times, you do not deserve to celebrate with it when it does well. A real supporter does their best to help their team do well and when it does not achieve a positive result it is the responsibility of the supporter to help lift the spirits of the team for the sake of the next game.
To make matters worse, the occasion for that retrogressive behaviour could not have been more unsuitable. This game was also the culmination of the celebration of the year-long sponsorship of the two clubs after which one of them is expected to enter into a more permanent relationship with Carlsberg Malawi Limited. You do not do your chances of being that team any favours with that sort of behaviour.
After pledges of good behaviour by both sets of fans ahead of the match, it is important to see what really went wrong. Were these pledges sincere? Were there any oversights? Or the clubs simply do not have the wherewithal to deal with miscreants within their ranks? This is important because while it is ideal not to fall at all, it is in dealing with your situation when you fall that you show your real strength.
This is, therefore, a call to everyone concerned â€” Wanderers officials and fans, Sulom, the sponsors and FAM â€” to look at the situation critically and act decisively to ensure that such incidents as we saw at Kamuzu Stadium become history. We need to isolate hooligans and be able to give them long-term bans although I know it is difficult to enforce that in a poor country like ours.
Meanwhile, the Olympics are under way and while our representatives are busy shopping and site-seeing, other countries are occupied raking in all manner of medals. I would be asking myself what I am doing in sports management if I were in the position of our sports administrators who have all failed to produce one single athlete who can go to the Olympics to actually compete at the very least.
There have been big surprises in menâ€™s football with two pre-tournament favourites, Spain and Uruguay, failing to proceed from their groups. The Spaniards, who have dominated the game of late, failed even to score a goal. From a selfish perspective, I am happy that Uruguay are out because it means an early return to Anfield for Luis Suarez and Sebastian Coates. Roll on new season.
Talk of new season, has it not already started with my Liverpool having travelled to Belarus for their Europa League third qualifying round first leg? It may have been an ugly win but they all count. â€”-Feedback: firstname.lastname@example.org