Dedza Young Soccer FC have accused traffic police officers from Lilongwe of harassing the team during last week’s trip to Lilongwe, where the team played Kamuzu Barracks in a Standard Bank Knock-Out Cup preliminary tie.
According to the team’s coach Millias ‘Jegwe’ Pofera, almost reported late at Civo Stadium after being delayed by traffic police officers, who eventually detained the driver of the hired minibus the team was using, resulting in a player driving the bus to Civo Stadium.
“We were stopped three times by traffic police officers, who accused us of exceeding the minibus capacity by one passenger. We tried to reason with the officers but they were in uncompromising mood to the extent that when we reached St Jones, our driver was detained and taken to the police station. It had to take one of our players, Leonard Matias to drive the bus to Civo Stadium and the players did not have time to eat,” narrated Jegwe.
The detained driver, Paul Madika confirmed being taken to Lilongwe Police Station by the traffic officers, whom he said accused him of dangerous driving apart from exceeding the vehicle’s capacity.
“They claimed I was overtaking five vehicles yet I was only overtaking one vehicle and I was released when the minibus owner Mr Onani went to the police station,” said Madika, who joined the team after the game had finished at Civo Stadium.
Lilongwe Police Station spokesperson Inspector Kingsley Dandaula said he needed to check with traffic officers to establish what really happed but was quick to say traffic regulations apply to everyone including football players.
“It is the duty of Traffic police officers to enforce road traffic regulations and ensure the safety of passengers. It does not matter whether the passengers are football players or not. Everyone traveling on the road is supposed to adhere to traffic laws,” said Dandaula.
Despite the hiccups they faced on the road, Young Soccer went on to defeat the military outfit 12-11 after post-match penalties to progress to the competition’s quarterfinals, where they will face Civo United.