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Ethiopian fans have a violent side

28 January 2013, 18:05

The word incite has been floating around on social networks following the events on day three of AFCON 2013.

“Incite: to provoke and urge on”

I will start this blog post with a list of things that would not incite me to do anything violent:

  1. when coming across a taxi driver who decides to perform his duties recklessly in the vehicle in front of me, I shall not be incited to throw my Blackberry or any other objects towards his direction;
  2. when coming across a black worker who decides to treat a white customer much better than me but instead treats me like cow manure due his own perceptions and then proceeds to give me an insincere “harday boss”, I shall not be incited to give a warm klap (those who follow me on twitter know what I am referring to);
  3. when I am in a serious relationship and my girlfriend decides to hop in bed with my biggest enemy, I shall not be incited to purchase a weapon of mass destruction and go on a shooting spree to heal my pain;
  4. when I purchase a ticket to an AFCON 2013 game at my nearest Super Spar and I am then told that my booking does not exist on the system, I shall not be incited to hold the Spar ladies hostage until somebody answers my call at the EQ Tickets call centre; and
  5. when the Arsenal board fails to extend the contract of the best striker the club has had since Thierry Henry, and then proceeds to sell him to our rivals, even then, I shall not be incited to toss my laptop into a the air upon reading the breaking news or burn every Arsenal shirt I have in my possession.

The list I have just given you is there to serve one purpose: to show how the Ethiopian fans’ reaction to Zambian striker Collins Mbesuma’s celebration of his goal served no purpose. The disgraceful actions only brought embarrassment to their nation. 

It was a silly thing to do. And it is even sillier to blame those events on the Zambian players for inciting the Ethiopians into throwing objects at the Zambian players because they dared to celebrate a goal in a soccer match.

Judging by what the commentator said, the Ethiopians were present in all four corners of the stadium (yes, most seemed to be in the stand nearest to where the Zambians celebrated), but the point remains that it was virtually impossible to not incite/celebrate in front of the Ethiopians (delete according to preference).

To those who did not watch the game, the Ethiopian keeper was sent off while on a stretcher a few minutes before the opening goal of the match for what looked more like karate kick than a an attempted clearance.  The Ethiopian supporters then threw an assortment of missiles onto the pitch and their anger only grew following the Zambian goal shortly after the decision taken by the referee, Otogo Castane.

Some people on social networks have suggested that CAF/FIFA should enforce laws that prohibit players from inciting (there’s that word again) opposition supporters in that manner.  This sort of talk lays the blame squarely on the player instead of the adult in the stands who cannot control his reactions.

It is actually an insult to suggest that the said grown adult does not have a thinking brain, and that celebrating in front of him is the equivalent of pressing an imaginary red button which automatically activates a certain action.

This is not right. This should not be allowed and I expect better from the Ethiopians, especially after the great memories they gave me on Saturday at the opening AFCON 2013 game at the National Stadium (you can view the video here).

One always has the power to react. In such situations the ball is always in your court.

The beat is at Africa’s feet.  Let’s get excited, not incited!

Thomas Monyepao

Do follow me on twitter, @Tom_18Yards, for more sports talk

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