PSL Need To Act, Now!
Editor's Blog: PSL Need To Act, Now!
The ugly scenes that overshadowed what started out as a contender for Game of the Season, between Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates at Loftus stadium on Saturday afternoon is something that can’t be rolled under the carpet, as we’ve seen before!
A section of Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns supporters made their way to the field, posing a serious threat to life and limb of the players, officials, media, equipment and everyone with access to the field.
It was Percy Tau’s second goal that clearly was the last straw that broke the camel’s back. At this stage, the Buccaneers were being administered their worst defeat, with the Brazilians leading 6-0! This was fresh after a 6-1 thrashing Pirates received from another Tshwane outfit, SuperSport United, on November 1 last year. What puzzled me was the fact that the security personnel seemingly didn’t see the pitch invasion coming, when a section of the supporters had started hurling missiles and destroying television equipment as early as the fourth goal.
Why did it take so long for any sort of action to be taken in order to prevent the escalation of what looked to be a case of a few disgruntled supporters? Why did the security personnel abandon their posts? Why did they become the first to run to the field when all hell broke loose, instead of protecting the rest of the supporters? Why was there no security presence when the TV cables were being damaged? Why were the mindless actions of this bunch of lunatics masquerading as supporters not nipped in the bud? Why were people’s lives put in so much danger? The same people we continuously encourage to come to the stadiums are now left exposed to danger instead of enjoying a game of football. Why?
Why was the much-anticipated “Clash of the stars” categorised as a “B” game again? On paper, this game is only second to the Soweto derby and that means it should be considered illegal to give it a “B”. We are told there are no less than 17 supporters who have since been hospitalised following the injuries sustained during the unfortunate and despicable behaviour of the hotheads that invaded the pitch.
Now, who should bear the brunt? The PSL needs to take decisive action against both Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates for what will go down in the history books as one of the worst days of South African football. Sundowns should not be spared the blame for not providing enough security as well as for the pitch invasion. While others are quick to point out that Sundowns supporters reacted to the situation, it is worth remembering that security and safety of their players is not the supporters’ job. If their only reason for invading the pitch was “to protect” their players, why not form a barricade wall and help the security personnel instead of engaging in hooliganism?
Pirates need to have the book thrown at them, obviously, for their unruly supporters who somehow expected their team to do better against on-form CAF Champions League champions, on the back of a dull goalless draw away to Platinum Stars midweek. The damage to the stadium seats and television equipment, let alone the threat to the safety of all concerned, is enough for the PSL to bring the Buccaneers to book. We have had enough of pitch invasions and unruly behaviour of some of the supporters and you’d think the life that was lost at the Nelson Mandela Bay stadium would have been an eye-opener. The PSL also needs to get their house in order by speedily investigating the categorising of the game, security personnel as well as taking strong action against pitch invasion and threat to the players’ safety. The PSL needs to act, now!
Here’s to hoping that the video footage will be used to name and shame the hooligans who dragged not only the PSL’s name, but South African football in general, through the mud. We have to make an example of these guys and rid our football of hooliganism because, after all, football isn’t called the Beautiful Game for nothing. Here we are, busy lamenting unbecoming behaviour instead of celebrating teams like Cape Town City, who continue to prove that you can play good, attacking and entertaining football and still win. We should be celebrating the likes of Aubrey Ngoma, Lebogang Manyama – who has made a habit of collecting PSL Player of the Month awards – as well as Sundowns’ sublime form and meticulous brand of football.
I would like to call on all our Soccer Laduma Supporters Club members to work hand-in-hand in ensuring that scenes like we witnessed this past weekend are a thing of the past. This is a Club that was formed with an objective of unifying, acknowledging and encouraging our supporters to come to the stadiums and support their teams. The Supporters Club is about making a difference in football and our communities, and now couldn’t be a better time to start making things happen. Let’s all work together to ensure that the players will not worry about their safety, that our families can go to the stadiums for an outing without worrying about their safety.