Police use tear gas, stun grenades after Chiefs players forced to flee

Crowd violence at the Nedbank Cup semi-final.
Crowd violence at the Nedbank Cup semi-final.

Johannesburg - Police fired tear gas and stun grenades in Durban on Saturday to disperse angry Kaizer Chiefs fans after the club suffered a shock defeat in the semi-final of the Nedbank Cup.

Chiefs' players had to sprint to the changeroom when furious supporters invaded the pitch following a 2-0 loss to Free State Stars at Moses Mabhida Stadium.

Coach Steve Komphela handed in his resignation after the latest setback for the Soweto club in a bleak, trophy-less season.

Spectators wearing Chiefs colours thrashed television equipment and set fire to some seats at a venue built for the 2010 World Cup.

An eyewitness who requested anonymity told AFP they saw a female security guard being assaulted by some supporters.

"It was chaotic," the eyewitness said. "The rampage appeared to catch the police and security guards by surprise initially. I was frightened."

Only this week Chiefs were fined R250,000 after supporters recently flung plastic bottles on the pitch following a heavy league defeat.

Supporters of the famed Soweto club, who have won more trophies than any other football club in the republic, are angry after three seasons without a trophy.

The last chance of silverware this season disappeared with the loss to Free State Stars.

Plastic bottles and other missiles were hurled at Chiefs' dugout during the closing minutes of the cup tie when it became obvious that the last chance of glory this season was disappearing.

Komphela has been the main target of furious fans for some months.

Supporters displayed sarcastic banners in the crowd. One read: "Komphela doing well... 4 the opposition" and another said "Please give Komphela another three years."

Chiefs have traditionally favoured non-South African coaches and will reportedly turn to Europe when hiring a new handler.

The team have also been slammed with the Business Day daily saying they play with the "co-ordination of a goat in stilettos".

Stars scored after 42 seconds en route to victory with both goals coming from Congo Brazzaville midfielder Harris Tchilimbou during the first half.

After nodding them in front off a cross, Tchilimbou increased the lead on 34 minutes when he controlled a long pass with his chest before scoring from close range.

Chiefs wasted plenty of chances to get back into the semi-final with Ryan Moon and Colombian substitute Leonardo Castro the chief culprits.

Maritzburg United host Mamelodi Sundowns on Sunday in the second semi-final and the winners face Free State on May 19 in Cape Town.

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