South African football has come close to the worst. Violence broke out during a play-off match in the third division. The police in the stadium were forced to fire live ammunition into the air.
Hooliganism is gaining ground in African leagues. This time, scenes of unprecedented violence erupted in South Africa during a play-off match for promotion to the second division. Orbit College were promoted to South African football’s D2 division after beating Umsinga United 1-0 in their ABC Motsepe play-off semi-final on Friday.
But when the whistle blew, all hell broke loose. A crowd invaded the pitch. Some fans threw objects onto the pitch, while others with weapons reportedly fired. To disperse the crowd, the security forces had to fire shots in the air. Images of these scenes quickly went viral on social networks. Members of the security forces even had to hide to avoid being shot.
The South African Football Association strongly condemned these acts and announced that legal proceedings would be taken.
“We have asked security and the referee for a full report and we will give priority to investigating this incident,”
“We will pursue this matter vigorously and any individual or club found guilty will be banned for these senseless acts. Such hooliganism has no place in football.”It said in a statement.
KwaZulu-Natal Police Colonel Robert Netshiunda said the case was being treated as attempted murder.
“We don’t have a timeline, but by the time we make arrests we should have enough evidence. There were so many people in the stadium that it is not easy for us to locate the people who may have fired the shots. The investigation is continuing.”Still in shock, Orbit coach Pogiso Makhoye urged SAFA to step up stadium security.
“Parents have entrusted us with their children, so they are worried. Imagine if tomorrow you were told ‘your child is dead, he was shot during the national play-offs’,”He told SABC.