Shooting the Breeze

2018-05-02 06:00

AS a proud South African, soccer follower, former player and a sports scribe since 1992, I must strongly point out that I’m very disappointed about what happened at Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday.

What happened after the Nedbank Cup semi-final clash between Free State Stars and Kaizer Chiefs was not just a disgrace but a major setback for SA’s soccer, as far as tourism, marketing, sponsorship and publicity are concerned.

It’s also going to send a wrong message and create an unfortunate perception of soccer followers in KwaZulu-Natal.

Unfortunately, a lot of people from other provinces are likely to see KZN supporters as hooligans of the game. Also, the iconic symbol of the late political heavyweight, Moses Mabhida, has been badly tainted by criminal elements.

I must say that during the game, and especially during the criminal hooliganism, it was disappointing to discover that the security personnel and measures were just not enough for the highrisk match.

It was also heartbreaking to see that the majority of the safety marshals who were posted around the pitch were absolutely clueless about crowd control, safety and security.

On Monday, the PSL chairperson, Dr Irvin Khoza, was on point and man enough to come out and apologise to the nation during the press conference held at the PSL headquarters in Parktown, but as always, the finger will point straight at his organisation, the host club and SAPS.

It is also clear that soccer in this country is at risk as our politics and safety and security measures need to be revised.

The selling of alcohol at our soccer matches around the country is also a contributing factor in terms of fuelling violence.

Please PSL, SAPS, clubs and all other security agencies, wake up.

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