We should not forget that just a three or so years ago one family was devastated after their son was brutally beaten and died of his injuries incurred by suspected Malawi Defence Force (MDF) after a fracas that happened at a football game involving and MDF team Red Lions and Big Bullets at Kamuzu Stadium.
This young man, it was reported, had nothing to do with what happened at the game. It is reported he was waiting to catch a minibus at Chichiri Shopping Mall close to the stadium.
It was reported that the MDF soldiers, who had rushed from the camp nearby, were responding to what Bullets fans had done when they attacked Red Lions players and also broke their team bus’ windscreen.
The pandemonium that followed also targetted any pedestrian close to the scene, whether one was at the stadium and was involved in the fracas or not, nor whether one was not at the stadium at all — the soldiers attacked willy nilly.
Up to now, we haven’t heard of a final report to take those responsible for the ghastly and untimely death of this young man to book.
I am deeply sorry to the family of this young man for bringing this up but I have been forced to upon hearing of reports coming from Mzuzu that MDF soldiers of Moyale FC were at it again when they reportedly attacked their opponents Mzuni FC civilians.
All this happened because of discontent over poor and incompetent officiation of referee Ranwell Sibale. Both sides were not happy with the way he handled the game and it is reported that what broke the camel’s back was his decision to change his mind from flashing a red card after a crude tackle by Moyale’s goalkeeper McDonald Harawa.
Sibale was seen taking out a red card from his pocket and Harawa is reported to have resigned to his fate but his fellow players mobbed and harassed the ref and in the process, he rescinded his decision. That angered Mzuni fans and they pelted missiles and in the process they injured Moyale’s Boy Boy Chima.
Play was stopped for some time until the fracas died down but when the game ended Moyale went on the rampage and started assaulting Mzuni players. It is reported several were badly injured.
This kind of behaviour is common with MDF soldiers and if not kept in check a disaster is in the offing. I plead with the MDF top brass to take this issue very seriously and address it through chain of command.
Soldiers are supposed to be peace keepers for the civilians in any situation. We all know that emotions run high in a football game but at the end of it all we are supposed to shake each other’s hands as sign of sportsmanship.
The soldiers are supposed to lead by example because they are supposed to be role models. I love these men in uniform — they swore to defend us with their own lives but I don’t trust them. Whenever I detect soldiers at a drinking place if they are in civilian, I change places. It’s because they are unpredictable like they do at football games.
When something unfortunate happens, like the case in Mzuzu, they behave so well but when that dies down they are back at it. That makes us suspect that the MDF top brass does not act by meting out stiff punishments to each and every soldier who was part of the team to deter them from repeating.
There are calls from the public that there are just too many teams from the MDF in the top flight league. Perhaps they should form their own league and stay away from the civilians. That sounds like such a good idea.
As for the ref Sibale — I hear he has just been promoted to handle Super League matches — he should be demoted back to where he belongs. He has failed miserably.
After his earlier incompetence, he would have earned respect if he had stood his ground and gave that red card to Harawa whether his team-mates were happy or not. If his team-mates had continued to harass him from executing his duties, he should have shown them yellow cards in order to chase them away from him in order to approach Harawa.
The Northern Region referees’ committee erred in granting a rookie such a high profile match. Let him go back and learn to be more profession.