Football. Bloody hell! Sir Alex Ferguson’s famous quip after Manchester United’s wrenched the big-eared Uefa Champions League trophy by the scruff of its neck with a dramatic stoppage time victory over Bayern Munich during that memorable 1999 Uefa Champions League final comes to mind in view of the recent happenings in Europe’s premier club competition.
Who would have thought Bayern Munich could have steamrolled the all-conquering Barcelona and that the unfancied Borussia Dortmund would have made mincemeat of the star-studded Real Madrid?
Thomas Müller and Robert Lowendowski proved to be the Spanish teams’ worst nightmares with peerless performances that reduced the unfit Lionel Messi and a largely subdued Cristiano Ronaldo to mere mortals.
“Has the power balance in European football shifted from Spain to Germany?” was the TV commentator’s punch line after Dortmund annihilated Real at the Signal Iduna Park.
But I will leave at that and wait for the return fixtures in the Spanish cities of Madrid and Barcelona.
On the domestic scene, all I have been hearing the whole week has been a raucous din about some miscreants masquerading as football fans.
While Football Kenya Federation (FKF) was busy paying lip services by imposing a ‘life bans’ on some goon who invaded a match between AFC Leopards and Chemelil Sugar, Gor Mahia fans were on the loose unleashing terror on motorists, pedestrians and traders along Jogoo Road after their team barely managed a draw against Sony Sugar.
FKF’s ban claim would have been laughable if not for the gravity of the matter. For all I know, neither FKF nor Kenyan Premier League (KPL) have the capacity or resources to impose such a penalty.
I have covered many football matches in KPL and from my observation, little or no screening is done on the ticket holders at the turnstiles.
That is why all sorts of contrabands too often find their way into the stands. During last season’s violence-marred meeting between Gor and Leopards at Nyayo, one fan was pictured carrying a gigantic water tank high up on the terraces in the troubled section.
Absence of surveillance cameras in our stadia makes it practically impossible to identify persons entering the venue.
SuperSport cameras can to some degree do the job, but not all matches are televised live. Furthermore, SuperSport is not in the business of picking out trouble spot in the stadium. Their sole interest is to televise matches. That’s why we shall have to contend with many more case of hooliganism in future EPL matches. Unfortunately so!