The game of football creates an enjoyable atmosphere. It is a crowd puller that knows no colour or creed – all people come together. However, the recent growing trend of violence at the games in the country is threatening to defeat this course. Botswana Football Association (BFA) Chief Executive Officer, Kitso Kemoeng has strongly condemned this nasty development. Kemoeng acknowledged that football is a game of emotions but called on supporters to be more tolerant of each other despite their feelings for the good of the game. He said the growing violence is not a welcome development in local football as it can taint the image the country has been fighting to u
phold. Kemoeng is worried that this might even get out of hand and spill even to international games, a thing that could earn penalties for the country. Kemoeng said something needs to be done very quickly to address the matter before it goes out of hand. He said should the violence continue it may deter some people to go to the matches fearing the unruly clashes. Over the weekend in Lobatse Extension Gunners supporters clashed with visiting Township Rollers followers in an unruly encounter that left some injured. The situation even went out of stadium where cars were reported broken into. This was not the first incident this season. Mochudi Centre Chiefs and Gaborone United fans fought in February. Another clash saw Township Rollers supporters going at each other at Molepolole sports complex. No one has been punished for the acts.
Kemoeng called for stringent punishment on those found to be offending. “All stakeholders should come together and address this situation before goes out of hand. The laws are there and they should be used to bring guilty parties to book,” said Kemoeng. He said Gunners was punished in the past and this should continue. According to him, if teams repeat this, stern punishments must be given. Kemoeng lamented that they want football to be a homely, entertaining and tolerant game as such all measures should be put in place to ensure nothing defeat this idea. According to Kemoeng, families should be able to go to the matches and enjoy themselves but what is happening right now will eventually work against this. “I think as we advance we will be more capacitated to be able to identify even the culprits themselves and bring them to book as well and not only the teams,” said Kemoeng.
Football analysts also concurred with Kemoeng on the effects of fans violence on local football. One of the analysts Mmoni Segopolo said as much as this can hinder spectators to go to matches it can also put players at risk. He said such incidents can at times end up affecting the players as sometimes people fire missiles into the pitch. Just like Kemoeng, Segopolo calls for stern action to be taken against perpetrators to put an end to this. “If no action or punishment is put in place the violence will continue as people know nothing will be done to them,” pointed out Segopolo. According to him, violence is mainly encouraged by the fact that people go to the games drank hence the uncontrollable behaviour. The former Rollers and Zebras player called on Batswana to desist from this so that they can enjoy football more. “The game of football is only 90 minutes. People should wait until the end of the match then they can do whatever they want and not put other people at risk by going to the matches drunk,” he said.